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How to Perform Basic Keyword Research to Optimize Your Website Copy

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Even the most well-written website copy will stay hidden without a bit of search engine optimization (SEO). That’s where optimized website content through the use of keywords comes in.

What’s a Keyword, Anyway?

A keyword is an idea that helps you define what the content on your website is about. These are the words and phrases your customers type into Google, Bing and other search engines to find you. By using them appropriately on your website, you’re helping to prime your website for search. This is SEO at work for you.

In general, there are two types of keywords: short-tail and long-tail.

  • Short-tail keywords: These keywords are mostly one or two-word phrases. For example, “website copy” or “content writing.”
  • Long-tail keywords: These keywords are a combination of terms to form complete thoughts. For example, “content writing for business websites” or “how to write content for a business website.”

5 Simple Steps for Performing Basic Keyword Research

You’ll want a good mix of both short-tail and long-tail keywords to optimize your website content. When it comes to choosing the best keywords for your website, you must perform a bit of research. But, don’t worry, it’s not as hard as you think it is; simply follow these five simple steps to get started.

1. Create a Spreadsheet

Before you get started on your research, you’ll need to have a place to store your keywords. Create a simple spreadsheet using Excel or Google Sheets to keep track of your keywords. Create columns for your keywords and a couple of other pieces of data, including:­­

  • Average monthly searches
  • Competition
  • Suggested bid

These pieces of data will be important for choosing the keywords that are most appropriate for your website when your initial research is complete.

2. Take a Look at Your Competitors

To start finding keywords, take a look at some of your competitors. What keywords or phrases are they using on their own website or blog? Record these keywords in your spreadsheet. Remember, don’t copy their content. Instead, use the keywords to help jumpstart your own brainstorm.

3. Brainstorm On Your Own

Put your customer hat on and consider what you might enter into Google if you were looking for your service. Add keywords and phrases to your spreadsheet as they come to mind. Think about what you would want to rank for in search. Once you have several keywords or phrases on your list, try breaking them down even further.

4. Use Keyword Tools

Now that you have a list of keywords to start with, use online keyword tools to generate even more. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Answer the Public: Use Answer the Public to find long-tail keywords by entering your search term. The generator will deliver questions, prepositional phrases and more ideas for your list.
  • Google: Google is a great source for keyword research. Open Google and type in a keyword from your list to see what Google suggests below.
  • Buzzsumo’s Content Analyzer: The Content Analyzer allows you to enter a keyword to see new keyword choices and how certain keywords are performing online.
  • is another great choice for generating more keyword suggestions. It’ll also tell you how competitive a keyword is, the search volume and more.

5. Choose Your Top Choice Keywords

Using these free tools, take note of the current monthly search volume, competition and the suggested bid. This will help you see which keywords outperform the rest. The best keywords won’t necessarily be those that have the greatest search volume or lowest bids. You’ll want to analyze your options in relation to your competition and your budget to find the best fits.

Choose a handful of keywords to start with from the top performers—those that you’ll be able to easily place in your copy naturally. Remember, SEO is a huge rabbit hole. Don’t be like Alice. Instead, spend a couple of hours at the most researching your keywords. After all, it’s about learning, growing and changing over time to find what works best for your business.

Is Your Website Copy Optimized for Search?

If you want your audience to find you online, your website must be optimized for search, starting with the perfect keywords. To learn more about writing for SEO, send us a message.

Erin Larson