5 Keyword Research Steps to Create Winning Content

The word Keyword in block red letters with a target in place of the "O".

Keyword research is the first step to creating winning content. Winning content fills the needs of your customers and prospects.  And if your content fills your customer’s needs, chances are Google will reward it with a high ranking on results pages.  But the concept of keywords can be confusing, and researching keywords takes time and special tools.  If you want to learn about what keywords are and how they help drive website visitors and conversions, keep reading.  This article explains the concept and types of keywords and how user intent factors into keyword selection.  Plus, you will get 5 keyword research steps to create winning content and happy customers.  

Keywords 101

A keyword is a term used to describe a single word or phrase that people use to find your company on the web.  It’s the words you type into the search bar on Google or any search engine.  The goal is to identify highly used keywords and use them on your website pages and blog posts.  It’s also important to consider keywords that relate to what your company does, not who the company is.  This is extremely important for companies that are not household names.  For example, if you own a plumbing company called ABC Plumbing, your keywords need to be related to “clogged sinks” or “leaking pipes.” People in need of a plumber will likely search for those terms.  It’s less likely they will search for “ABC Plumbing” unless they already know your company and have decided to call you.

There are two basic types of keywords.  The first type is called short-tail keywords.  These have broad appeal and have high search volume.  While they can deliver a lot of traffic to your website, many companies use them, so the competition to land on page one in position one is very stiff.  The second type is called long-tail keywords.  They are more specific and usually have less search volume.  But because they are more specific, they are used by people who are getting more serious about the subject and ready to convert.

Here is a chart to make it easy to understand.
Keyword TypeSearch ScopeTraffic LevelConversion Rate
Short TailBroad BasedHighLow
Long TailSpecific and DetailedLowHigh

The type of keywords used by searchers often indicates where they are in the purchase funnel.  Since prospective customers are at different levels of the funnel, it’s important to use a variety of short-tail and long-tail keywords on your website.

Understanding User Intention is Helpful when Selecting Keywords

For several years, Google has been interpreting search queries to determine intention.  The team at Google thinks that if they can better understand the “why” behind the search term, they can deliver more relevant results.  More relevant results make for a better search experience.  If you are searching for information on how to fix a leaky sink, but all the search results served were plumbers near you, you would be pretty frustrated.  Understanding user intent prevents that from happening and serves the results you are looking for.

Google has identified four types of search intent.

Search Intent TypeUser NeedsSearch ExamplePurchase Funnel Position
InformationalLearn SomethingHow to Fix a Leaky PipeTop
Commercial InvestigationResearching OptionsMacbook vs. iPadMiddle
NavigationalFind Domain/Address/Phone NumberHome Depot LocationsMiddle/Bottom
TransactionalMake a Purchase/Complete a FormOutback Steakhouse ReservationsBottom

Your website should have content that addresses each stage of the buying cycle and purchase funnel.  Using keywords for each of these intentions can help rank for prospects in each stage, establish expertise, authority, and trust, and increase conversions. Read our article on expertise, authority, and trust to learn more.

Steps to Proper Keyword Research

Proper keyword research is time-consuming.  It can seem overwhelming at the beginning, but the work is more manageable if you break it down into steps. 

1. Brainstorming

You already know your products and services, so sit down with a pad of post-it notes and a big empty whiteboard or wall.  Think about what you would type into a search bar to find your products and services, then write each idea on a separate post-it.  Stick them up as you go along.  Ideas spawn new ideas, so it won’t be long until you have a wall full of them.

2. Internet Tools

There are several free tools available to help with your brainstorming process.  One is Answer the Public.  Just type a short keyword, like one of your service lines, into the search bar.  Answer the Public will return hundreds of actual search queries from people worldwide.  These queries are provided in the form of a question, so you see the questions people ask related to your products and services.

Using Google is another free option.  Search results usually include sections for “People also ask” and “Related Searches.” And don’t forget to look at the organic search listings for more keyword nuggets.  Spending the time to go several pages deep can uncover a treasure trove of keywords you can easily rank for.

3. Group Your Keywords

Once you have a bunch of keyword ideas, group them by product or service line.  A plumbing company that fixes leaky pipes may have several keywords related to this service line.  Keywords may include leaky pipes, dripping pipes, flooded cabinets, and wet walls.  Once grouped together start testing them.

4. Test Your Keywords

There are several tools to test keywords.  My favorite is SEMRush. SEMRush offers a free version of the platform with limited capacity and functionality.  But if you have only one company, it offers many tools, including a full keyword research section that provides search volume and difficulty scores.  It also offers related keyword options, user intent, and competitive analysis.  This helps determine your focus, related, and semantic keywords for each keyword group.  Other free keyword research tools are Ubersuggest and Keyword Surfer.

5. Create Your Content

Keyword research provides a roadmap for your content and makes your website navigation easy to determine.  Build your pages with your focus keywords in mind, and use them along with your related and semantic keywords in your content.  Then write blog posts answering the questions people use in search bars, like “how to fix a leaky sink.” It won’t be long before your website content starts ranking for your keywords.

Keyword research is a critical first step in creating any form of digital content.  Putting your prospects first, understanding how they will find your website and content, and answering their needs will help your website rank higher, build more traffic, and increase conversions.  Using these 5 keyword steps to create winning content is a good place to start.  But you are a busy entrepreneur or executive and need to focus on running your business.  You have no time to spend on keyword research.  That’s where Sand Key Ventures comes in. 

Sand Key Ventures

Sand Key Ventures is a website company. We create digital content everyday.  We have been researching keywords and creating websites for years and invest in the tools needed to deliver a great user experience and sell your products.  Give us a call at 727-249-2749 to discuss what Sand Key Ventures can do for you.  Thanks for your time, but now we’ve gotta run.  We have websites to build and audit, blogs to write, eBooks to create, eCommerce to manage, and photos to edit.  Until next time, take care.