Identifying and using keywords to improve SEO and relevance to users.

What it is

Keyword research helps you understand the types of words and phrases people are using to search for a specific type of content.

Identifying keywords for your subject area can help make your content more appealing to users, and improve its ranking in search engine results.

Why it’s important

Identifying the language which users associate with your content matter helps you communicate with them better.

The rising popularity of things like voice searches means that people are searching for things as they would say them.

This means using terms and phrases which are different from the ones users expect, and would naturally say, can stop your content from appearing in their search results. Even if your content does appear, users may not think it is relevant to their query.

How you do it

You can use tools like Google Trends, Google Adwords, and SEMrush to identify popular keywords and searches for a given subject.

Sites like Answer the Public can identify the types of questions users have around a certain subject. This can help you help you understand the most common user needs for your content area.

When preparing to write new content, it’s also important to gather data from beyond your own page or site. Once you have identified keywords for a piece of content, tools like MOZ PRO can tell you which pages currently appear in the top rankings for each of those keyword searches, and how popular those keywords are. This is a useful way to see the sites which your content will be competing with.

MOZ PRO can also suggest alternative keywords which are related to your original search term. This can help you gain insight into what users are trying to achieve when they look at a certain page.

Having a closer look at some of the highest-ranking pages for the most popular of your keywords can help you identify the nuances of your own content. So creating content which is identical to a very high-traffic website will not generally perform well in search engine results, because the user need which this page addresses is clearly being met.

The user need which this page addresses is clearly already being met. You should consider how your content is different and how you can adapt your keywords to fit your context.

For example, the search term “holidays in Spain” may be very popular and many pages will be appearing for this term. In order to make your page different, you might choose to target the phrase ‘cheap holidays in Spain’ or ‘budget holidays in Spain’.

Those terms may be more appropriate to the content you are creating and could remove some of the competition from larger sites.

Digital First Service Standard

This article offers guidance relevant to the following criteria from the Digital First Service Standard: