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January 2020

Guide to Keyword Research

The Definitive Guide to Keyword Research

The Definitive Guide to Keyword Research 1200 630 Dev Team

Thorough Tools to Understand Your Customers

So, you have some great content. It’s helpful, actionable, and provides real value for your target audience. You know it will drive people to your website, increase traffic, and could even boost sales. The only problem is, you need to find the right keywords so people can find it. If only you had a definitive guide to keyword research!

When properly researched and used correctly, effective keywords can help your content to rate highly in search engines like Google—and the higher your content rates, the more likely people can find it, click on it, and engage with it.  

In this guide to keyword research, we’ll discuss what keywords are, how to conduct research, and offer some tips to help you understand your customers and how to connect with them using keywords. Let’s get to it!

Wait, What Are Keywords Exactly?

Keywords or keyword phrases are what you type into a search engine when you’re looking for information. For example, if need to know how to tie a tie, you might pop on over to Google and type something like this:

In fact, before we even finish typing our search, Google offers several possible keyword phrases, and the very first one is: ‘how to tie a tie.’ Below that, Google suggests additional keywords. 

With this, we have some valuable information. Since Google ranks keywords based on how often they are searched, we know that the most popular keyword starting with ‘how to’ is ‘how to tie a tie.’ This is important because it gives us an idea of how much traffic that particular keyword is drawing (more on that in a bit). 

Before we go any further, it’s important to understand that when we say ‘keywords,’ we are also talking about keyword phrases, also known as long-tail keywords (such as in the example above). A search using a single word can result in very different content than a search using an entire phrase. 

The truth is, you’re probably already using keywords in your content, whether you know it or not. However, optimizing them and choosing the ones that are most effective requires research and planning, but can do wonders for your content’s ranking and visibility. 

The Definitive Guide to Keyword Research

So, how do we know if the keyword we’re using is a good one or not? For starters, we want our content to rank highly for the chosen keyword. The better its ranking, the higher up it will appear in search results. However, there are several important factors to consider when choosing a keyword that may make it more or less effective for your particular situation. 

For instance, a keyword with a lot of traffic probably already has several high-quality pieces ranking highly for it, such as in the example above on how to tie a tie. Say we have a great article on tying a tie and we’d like to rank for this keyword. In this case, we’re up against some steep competition and have a lot of work to do if we want our content to rank for it.

On the other hand, choosing a keyword with very little traffic may not be effective either. Ranking highly under a keyword that is rarely searched for is not likely to draw much traffic to your content. 

With these things in mind, let’s take a look at how to utilize this guide to keyword research. And don’t worry, with a little time and the right tools, you’ll be mastering this invaluable SEO technique in no time.

How to Perform Keyword Research (In 3 Steps)

When it comes to keyword research, it helps to put yourself in the shoes of your potential customers. What are their needs and desires? Are they seeking solutions to problems you can solve? What terms are they typing into search engines? If you can answer these questions, you’re well on your way to finding effective keywords for your content.

1. Brainstorm Some Possible Keywords

First, think about the kinds of things people type into search engines. If you have a piece of content on how to make french toast, then begin by brainstorming possible search terms that might bring up your article:

  • ‘how to make french toast’
  • ‘best french toast recipe’
  • ‘favorite recipe for french toast’

These are, of course, only examples, but it gives you an idea of what to do at this stage. Be specific. What do you type into search engines when you’re looking for information? The search engine is going to take whatever you type and present a list of the most relevant links it can or those that provide the best possible answer. Your goal is for your content to be the most relevant and the best possible answer. 

2. Use Tools for Keyword Research

Now that you have a list of possible keywords, it’s time to see how they stack up. For Google, which is by far the most popular search engine, one of the best tools you can use is Google Keyword Planner. This tool enables you to see how keywords are performing and helps to suggest alternatives that will further help you in your research. 

If we take our brief list above and plug our ideas into the Keyword Planner, we are presenting with some valuable information. For example, when we look up ‘how to make french toast’ we are presented with this:

Right off the bat, we see that the average monthly searches for ‘how to make french toast’ are 100k – 1M, which is very good. We also see that the competition for this keyword is ‘Medium,’ which indicates the amount of content ranking under this keyword. In addition, we are provided with a list of related keywords that we could consider using. 

In this case, we might consider using one of the alternative keywords due to a decent number of searches and low competition. For brand new content, this can be an effective strategy. Either way, having this information is crucial when deciding on the best keyword for you. 

3. Look at Your Content for Keyword Inspiration

In some cases, you might be creating your content around a particular keyword. However, many times you’ll already have content or, at least, an idea of what you are going to write before you begin putting it together. In these instances, it’s important to consider your piece when coming up with keywords.

A lot of the time, your keyword may already be in the title of your post. If not, consider working it in, as this is generally good for SEO. 

In fact, in order for your content to rank highly, your titles and descriptions should explicitly state the subject of your content, and your keyword should be a part of them. Using a descriptive keyword that relates directly to your content may help it to rank more highly. 

Using Your Keyword Effectively

Once you’ve come up with an effective keyword, it’s important to weave it organically into your content. Google in particular likes for the keyword to be present in your headline and in the opening paragraph of your content. 

From there, use the keyword throughout your article whenever it naturally fits. If you are finding it difficult to use it several times without it sounding awkward, you may want to consider a different keyword. 

Overall, with the right keywords, you can help your content to rank highly in search results so that your target audience can find it. Using effective keywords in your headline, metadata, and throughout the body of your content can be a big draw to your website, increasing traffic, engagement, and, ultimately, sales.

Keeping your site secure

Keeping Your Site Secure in 2020: Tools and Strategies

Keeping Your Site Secure in 2020: Tools and Strategies 1200 630 Dev Team

Your website is important. It’s the core of your online presence and likely how others find and engage with you. Whether you’re running a business, a blog, or using your site as a personal portfolio, keeping your site secure is crucial.

All websites, however, can be targeted by hackers, who may put spammy links throughout your content, infect your site with malware, or even shut your site down until you pay a ransom. In fact, according to a recent study, more than 150,000 small businesses could be infected with malware at any given moment.

Fortunately, we’ve put together some tools and strategies for keeping your site secure in 2020. Using these maintenance techniques, you can protect your data and help to prevent hackers from gaining access to your website. Let’s take a look!

1. Use a Secure Password

This might sound obvious, but it is a truly important part of maintaining the security of your website, and your password might not be as safe as you think. If it’s too short or not complex enough, hackers can use what’s called a brute force attack to break into your website. 

Brute force attacks use software to randomly generate passwords to try and get into your website. In some cases, these programs can try thousands of different passwords a second until they find the right one. Then, once they’re in, the hacker has free reign to do whatever they want to your site. 

To avoid this, always follow the recommended password guidelines. It is recommended that your passwords be at least eight characters long and always include at least one number and one special character (such as a # or @). Do this and you will make it much harder for anyone to break into your system. 

If you’re having trouble coming up with a password, you can use a password-management app to generate a complex one for you. It will then save your password and automatically fill it on your devices when you go to sign in. 

2. Set Up Two-Factor Authentication

For additional security, use two-factor authentication to protect your website. Two-factor authentication adds a second piece of information that will be required to log in to your account. 

You’ve likely encountered some forms of multi-factor authentication. One type uses a CAPTCHA, such as Google reCAPTCHA, to help prevent bots or automated software from accessing your account. Other types require the person logging in to have a seperate device, such as a smartphone. In these instances, a code is sent to the person’s device that must be entered in order to access the website.

Even if using two-factor authentication seems like an inconvenience, it will also make it almost impossible for brute force attacks and other software to break in. Although once only employed by high-level government websites, it is now common practice and recommended for all website owners. 

3. Install a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) Certificate 

Another important piece of website security that needs to be mainted is your SSL certificate. Fortunately, most web hosts come with a free option, such as Let’s Encrypt, or offer a number of different ones.

You may have noticed the padlock symbol next to the URL on many websites. That symbol means the website has SSL protocol activated. This extra layer of protection encrypts data that is sent back and forth from your website to the server so that even if someone is able to intercept your data, it will appear to them as a string of random characters and they won’t be able to read it. 

As you may be thinking, this is particularly important for e-commerce stores or any website that deals with sensitive information, such as credit card numbers or classified data. However, it’s also a good idea to activate an SSL for your site because it is good for SEO. Google ranks websites with an SSL higher than those that don’t have one. 

4. Keep All of Your Software Up to Date

No matter what platform you choose for managing your site, software updates are critical. Without them, your website may not run as smoothly and could experience glitches or even downtime. 

It is especially critical to be on the lookout for security updates and install them right away. Many times, software developers push these kinds of updates out when a possible security weakness is discovered, either by users or by hackers themselves. When this is the case, some hackers will try to exploit this weakness before it is patched and if you’re one of the ones who is slow to update, your site could be at risk. 

The good news is, most updates are small and won’t take up much of your time. Some systems can even install them in the background while you’re working on other things. On top of that, you can usually set up automatic updates or install an app to manage them for you.

5. Back Up Your Website Regularly

Just like updates, another important security measure to make a part of your maintenance routine is to back up your website regularly. After all, a lot goes into creating and running a website and bad things can happen. 

For instance, with a proper backup file, you can restore your website even if a hacker manages to get in and hold it for ransom. In this circumstance, you will be able to delete your website and start again from your last backup. This is especially critical if you run a business, as any amount of downtime could mean lost customers and revenue. 

There are a number of ways to go about backing up your site. You can, of course, do it manually, but almost every platform has a way to automatically manage backups. With WordPress, for example, you’ll find a number of plugins you can install for monthly, weekly, and even daily backups, such as Jetpack.

Keep Your Site Secure in 2020

Just like a car or a home, your website requires maintenance. Using the tools and strategies discussed in this article can help in keeping your site secure in 2020. Checking the following regularly can save you a lot of money, time, and trouble in the long run:

  1. Use a secure password.
  2. Set up two-factor authentication.
  3. Install an SSL certificate. 
  4. Keep all of your software up to date. 
  5. Back up your website regularly.

Questions? Comments? We’re always happy to discuss website security and maintenance. Ask away in the comments section below! Or, if you need assistance to keep your site secure, connect with the Intrix pros!