How to Use Keyword Research to Outrank Your Competitors

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Have you ever wondered why some businesses seem to have their websites show up at the top of search engine results while others are stuck in the online abyss? You’re not alone because the SEO and keyword research world can be confusing. 

These days, Google is everyone’s go-to guru, and you can make your online presence known by understanding how to use keyword research to your advantage. It’s the difference between a business that doesn’t just survive but thrives in the crowded digital marketplace.

Understanding keyword research

Think of keywords as the secret handshake between your website and search engines like Google. They’re the words or phrases people type into the search bar when they’re looking for something. When your website speaks the same language as those keywords, magic happens.

Imagine you run a pet grooming salon in the heart of your city. If someone types “best pet groomers in [your city]” into Google, you want your website to pop up, right? Well, that’s where keyword research comes in. By knowing which keywords your potential customers are using, you can tailor your website content to match. This increases your chances of showing up in search results when someone is on the hunt for a service like yours.

Getting started with keyword research in four easy steps

You’ll need some tools to help on this keyword adventure. Fortunately, there are many options, from freebies to paid powerhouses. Here are a few of our favourites:

Step 1: Pick your tools wisely 

Google keyword planner: It’s free and gives you the lowdown on what people are searching for on Google. Just sign in with your Google account, and you’re ready to roll.

SEMrush: If you’re looking for something a bit more advanced, SEMrush is ideal. It offers a lot of data to fine-tune your keyword strategy. There’s a free trial, but the paid version is where the real magic happens.

Ahrefs: Another heavyweight in the keyword research game, Ahrefs is like having your own personal SEO guru. It’s not free, but if you’re serious about SEO, it’s worth every penny.

Step 2: Finding your keywords

Now that you’ve got your tools let’s hunt for those keywords:

Seed keywords: Start with a few seed keywords related to your business. For example, if you sell artisanal chocolates, your seeds could be “handmade chocolate,” “gourmet chocolate,” or “luxury chocolates.”

Tool time: Use your chosen keyword tool to search for these seed keywords. It’ll generate many related keywords and phrases that people are typing into search engines. Voilà! You’ve got a list of potential keywords.

Step 3: Choose wisely

Not all keywords are created equal. Some are like golden tickets, while others are more like… well, regular tickets. Here’s how to separate the two:

Search volume: Look for keywords with a decent search volume. These are the ones people are actually searching for.

Keyword difficulty: Check out the competition. Some keywords are super competitive, and it’s an uphill battle to rank for them. Others are like low-hanging fruit, ripe for the picking.

Relevance: Make sure the keywords you choose are highly relevant to your business. You don’t want to attract the wrong crowd.

Step 4: Keep a record

As you unearth these shiny new keywords, keep a record. Spreadsheets are your friend here. Note the keyword, search volume, competition, and other relevant information. This will come in handy as you fine-tune your content strategy.

Analysing competitor keywords

One of the best ways to up your SEO game is by “analysing” your competitors’ keywords. Start by identifying your online competitors. These are the businesses that are vying for the same digital real estate as you. Google some of your main keywords and see which websites pop up alongside yours. Those are your competitors.

Now that you know who your rivals are, it’s time to find out what keywords they’re ranking for. Use your tools to help you. Type in your competitor’s website URL, and they will spill the beans on their top organic keywords.

Once you have the list of keywords your competitors are ranking for, it’s time to do some exploring. Look for common themes or keywords that multiple competitors are targeting. These are likely hot topics in your industry.

Take a peek at the content on your competitor’s pages that rank well. What are they doing right? Is it super informative, engaging, or visually appealing? Conversely, if you see keywords where your competitors are ranking poorly, it’s an opportunity for you to swoop in and do better.

With this newfound knowledge, it’s time to fine-tune your keyword strategy. Start by focussing on keywords that align with your business goals and have the potential to drive quality traffic.

Next, craft incredible content around these keywords. Make it even more informative, engaging, or unique than what your competitors offer – more on this to come. And remember to keep an eye on your rankings over time. Are you climbing up the ladder? Adjust your strategy as needed.

Creating high-quality content 

Now that you’ve got a handle on keyword research and you know your competition, it’s time to get down to creating high-quality content that not only pleases search engines but also captivates your audience. After all, what’s the point of getting folks to your site if they don’t stick around?

The marriage of keywords and content

Natural Integration: Your keywords should flow naturally within your content. Stuffing them in like a Christmas turkey will turn off both readers and search engines. Be subtle; think of this process as seasoning in a delicious dish.

User intent: Consider the user’s intent when they search with a specific keyword. What information are they seeking? Craft your content to meet that need.

Quality trumps quantity

In the content game, quality is king. Here’s how to make sure your content reigns supreme:

In-Depth Information: Dive deep into your topic. Don’t just scratch the surface; be the go-to source for all things related to your keywords.

Engagement: Make your content engaging. Use storytelling, visuals, and examples to keep your readers hooked. A bored reader is a lost reader.

Originality: Google loves original content. Be unique and bring your own perspective to the table.

Optimise for readability

Scannable format: Break up your content into smaller chunks with headings, bullet points, and numbered lists. This makes it easier for readers to skim and find what they’re looking for.

Clear and concise: Be concise in your writing. Don’t use ten words when five will do. Clarity trumps verbosity.

Mobile-friendly: With so many people browsing on smartphones, ensure your content looks good and is easy to read on mobile devices.

Regular updates and maintenance

Your website needs regular care and attention. Here’s how to keep it in tip-top shape:

Fresh content: Google loves fresh content. Update your blog, add new products, or refresh old content to keep your site current.

Fix broken links: Broken links are the bane of user experience. Regularly check for and fix any broken links on your site.

Creating high-quality content is an ongoing process. The more effort you put into crafting engaging, informative, and relevant content, the more it’ll pay off in the long run. 

On-page SEO and keyword placement

On-page SEO and keyword placement are where the rubber meets the road.

Strategic Keyword Placement

You’ve done your keyword research and have some fantastic content brewing. Now, let’s talk about where to sprinkle those keywords for maximum impact:

Title tag: The title tag is like the headline of your webpage. It’s the first thing users see in search results, so make it snappy and include your primary keyword.

Meta description: This is your chance to give users a sneak peek of what your page is about. Again, add in some relevant keywords naturally.

Header tags (H1, H2, H3): These are similar to the chapters in a book. Use your primary keyword in the H1 tag (your main heading) and sprinkle related keywords in the H2 and H3 tags where it makes sense.

URL structure: A clean and concise URL with your primary keyword is a win. Avoid long, confusing URLs with random numbers and symbols.

Throughout the content: As you’re writing, naturally include your keywords in the body of your content, but remember not to overdo it. 

Optimise for user experience

Google’s all about user experience these days, and you should be, too. Here’s how to make your website user-friendly:

Page speed: Use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to identify and fix speed issues.

Internal links: Link to other relevant pages on your site where it makes sense. It helps users navigate and boosts your SEO.

Local SEO for businesses of all sizes

Local SEO is about ensuring your business shows up when people in your area search for products or services you offer. 

Why local SEO matters 

Here’s why local SEO is good for your business.

Targeted traffic: You want people in your area to find you, not someone on the other side of the world. Local SEO brings in the right crowd.

Competitive edge: It’s a chance to compete with both local and global players. Local businesses can often rank higher in local search results than giant corporations.

Mobile searches: With the rise of mobile searches like “restaurants near me,” local SEO is more critical than ever. People are looking for businesses on the go.

How to conquer local SEO 

Let’s dive into how to boost your local SEO strategy:

Google My Business (GMB): If you haven’t claimed your Google My Business listing, do it now. Seriously, it’s that important. Ensure your GMB profile has accurate info, photos, and reviews.

Online reviews: Encourage customers to leave reviews on platforms like Google and Facebook. Positive reviews boost your reputation and improve your local search rankings.

Local link building: Get local websites and directories to link to your site. It boosts your credibility in the eyes of search engines.

Local SEO takes time

Local SEO is an ongoing effort. You’ll need to keep your information updated, engage with your local community, and monitor your rankings, but it’s worth it for that spot in local search results. So, whether you’re running a startup, a corporation, or anything in between, this is your ticket to being the go-to business in your neighbourhood or city.

The power of SEO and keyword research

We’ve taken quite the journey through the intricate world of SEO and keyword research. From deciphering what keywords are to delving into the art of optimising your website, we’ve come a long way. 

We’ve learned that SEO isn’t a code only known to a select few. It’s a dynamic strategy that can catapult your business to new heights and is the key to showing up on the digital map and attracting the right kind of attention. Keyword research is like the compass that guides you through the vast SEO wilderness. 

Your business deserves the spotlight, and if you’d like a hand with outranking your competition, get in touch because we can help.

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