Keyword Research: Best Practices in a Changing Landscape

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Keyword research has long been the backbone of successful SEO campaigns, and it requires commitment. It’s much easier said than done to invest the resources in a strong SEO strategy, but without that information, it’s impossible to know what consumers are searching for, and your campaign will lag.

In recent years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers have changed their search habits and increased their online presence. People are no longer just using the internet to look up a phone number for a restaurant or find the hours of a clothing store; the web is the primary source of education and entertainment for many.

With significant changes in consumer habits and changes to the design and management of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) from Google and others, SEO strategies need to shift, too. Following the best practices in keyword research will help modern-day content marketers stay agile amid change and stay ahead of the competition.

Ask questions and build a broad list.

This is arguably the most critical step because you cannot execute a great SEO strategy without planning first. But corners are often cut to shorten the process because keyword research takes a lot of resources. Even if you know what words and phrases you want to prioritize, it’s still important to see what consumers are looking for because the difference might be significant.

First, ask questions such as:

  • What is the purpose of your website?
  • What is being sold?
  • What words or phrases would users search to find your website?
  • Who is searching for what products or services you offer?
  • Where are they located? 

Once you know more about who your consumers are, what they want, how they’re searching for it and more, consider what you want to prioritize:

  • Are there keywords where you want to rank highly?
  • What keyword ads would you buy?