10 Keyword Research Tips to Improve SEO Rankings

Keyword research should come first in your digital marketing strategy. Increasing web traffic remains the most important criteria for measuring marketing success and all search begins with keywords. According to Hubspot, more than 60% of marketers identify increasing their organic search presence as their top digital marketing priority. Though SEO continues to evolve, keyword research and content strategy remain the cornerstones of digital marketing.

Keyword research is the process of isolating words and phrases to rank on search engine result pages (SERPS). Your keyword research will guide you in developing a content strategy to increase web traffic to your digital products. Below are 10 keyword research tips to improve SEO rankings and organically drive mobile and web traffic to your business:

1. Research Your Audience

Keyword research should be included in a larger marketing strategy to identify your target audience and predict customer behavior. Every marketing strategy should begin with knowing your audience. To identify which keywords will most effectively attract web traffic, you need to predict how your customers will utilize search. Forecasting how your customers will behave starts with knowing who your customers are. What are their demographics? What do they care about? What are they looking for that relates to your business? Once you know who you’re targeting, the web offers a treasure-trove of information you can use in your keyword research.

2. Brainstorm Topics

Once you’ve profiled your customers, it’s time to brainstorm what topics your target audience is interested in. What topics are people searching for related to your business? “Google suggest” is a wonderful resource for brainstorming keywords. Google will predict queries based on audience patterns and, by doing so, reveal popular search queries. Social media, YouTube and Wikipedia also similarly reveal search trends by attempting to complete your queries. Do not forget about on-site search! You may have a wealth of topic data in your own analytics. Your website analytics will reveal what your customers are searching for on your website.

3. What’s Trending?

Search volume based on trends is ever-changing. Twitter, YouTube and news aggregators are great resources for identifying popular trends. Take advantage of trends in your field as well as trends in business, technology, local, pop culture and world events to promote your product. You can garner significant web traffic by beating your competitors to the punch.

4. Get Specific

Unfortunately, you’re unlikely to rank with broad keywords. There is simply too much competition for broad topics, such as “real estate” or “travel agent.” You’ll have more success with specific key phrases and identifiers. Three tips for getting successfully specific:

Go local! Combine keywords with geographic identifiers.
Does your product have any special features? Combine key phrasing with features/services that make you to stand out.
Seasons. As the seasons change, so do people’s search queries. Have any holiday gift ideas?
One important strategy for getting specific enough to rank is researching long-tail keyword phrases. For instance, instead of searching for travel agent, a user may prefer the specificity of “Disney travel agents for European cruises.” Seventy percent of Google search are long-tail queries. Long-tail presents the opportunity to optimize for your target audience. As you research keywords, look for long-tail keyword phrases you can prioritize.

5. Use Variations

There’s always more than one way to ask a question. Consider synonyms and semantic variations on keywords describing your services. Google’s RankBrain technology recognizes synonyms and expands their search results accordingly. Google also punishes websites for stuffing their content with repetitive keywords. Synonyms and variations can help you to reach a larger audience and avoid Google penalties for keyword stuffing.

6. What Are Your Competitors Doing?

Competitor analysis should be an important part of your keyword research. It’s important to know how your competitors are ranking. Competitor analysis can reveal holes in your own content. Also, you should steal ideas from your competitors. However, never use the same content. Duplicate content will also be penalized by Google and is frowned upon generally. Emulate success, but be cognizant of keyword difficulty, which measures your chances of ranking with a keyword phrase due to significant competition. Also, be aware that Google almost always rewards brand keywords to the owner. You’re unlikely to trick Google into ranking you with your competitors’ brand names.

7. Let The Tools Do It For You

You don’t have to do it all yourself. The web is packed full of tools for keyword research and SEO. Among our favorites are Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, SEMRush, seedkeywords, Keywords Everywhere and Ahrefs. Some are paid services but many are free. These tools can save you significant time and resources.

8. Use Keywords To Build Your Content Strategy

Your content strategy should revolve around your keyword research. Your blogs, articles, page content and metadata need to incorporate the keywords you’ve identified in your research. Again, be careful not to overload your digital product with keywords. They should be sprinkled throughout your content and combined with variations.

9. Study Your Analytics

Once you’ve identified your keywords and incorporated them into your website content, take time to study the results. Google Analytics can help identify what keywords are working to drive visitors to your site. You should be reviewing your analytics weekly to measure the success of your campaign and adjust your keywords accordingly.

10. Adapt

Keyword research is a constant process. Trends change. Seasons change. Popular terms and catch-phrases change. SEO and marketing agencies are a great resource for ensuring that keyword research is done on a regular basis. You should refresh your research at least quarterly, ideally monthly, to stay ahead of your competitors. Partnering with a reputable SEO agency is a great way to ensure you’re always ahead of your competition.


Keyword research is an incredibly important part of your digital marketing strategy. Your research should consider audience, trends, competition, difficulty and seasonality. Keyword research should be thoroughly and consistently practiced. There are numerous tools, services and agencies that can help you figure it out.

Keyword research can also lead to great ideas for your business, services and overall marketing strategy. Keywords can be a window into understanding what your customers need. In this regard, your content strategy is about more than gaming the search engines. Keyword research is about connecting with your audience. If you ground your research in knowing your customers, the results can aid you in providing better products and services and increasing your brand loyalty.

For more information about hiring the right digital marketing agency to help you with your keyword research to improve your SEO rankings, contact Finsbury Media Agency today.

10 Keyword Research Tips to Improve SEO Rankings