For your SEO, keyword research is an essential foundation to base your strategy on. When you know the words your customers type in a search engine to find you, you can tweak your website to match those terms. The result is more visitors, and that usually leads to more business.
To get you started with SEO, we’ll show you how to start your keyword research: you’ll find out what your potential customers search in Google and what they hope to find. And obviously, we’ll show you how to add your keywords to a Jimdo website.
Keyword research is the process of finding out which keywords would help your business website attract more potential customers. You’ll collect keywords suggestions, sort them into categories and select the most promising keywords to use in the optimization of your website.
This guide is meant for SEO beginners. If you have already taken your first steps, you can use it to sharpen your knowledge and get practical tips for better keyword research.
1. What are keywords exactly?
What are keywords?
Keywords are search terms your customers might use in Google to find a company like yours. They can be single words or phrases.
Any word can be a keyword, as long as your customers are using to find your product or service. And because businesses, products, and services are so varied, each business will have a different set of website keywords. Let’s find yours.
Describe your company in three words.
For example: beginner yoga classes
Do you think customers might search that in Google to find a company like yours? If they would, you may have just found your first keyword.
2. Why is keyword research so important?
You can set goals for your SEO, like you set goals for other areas of your business. Generally, for goals in SEO, keyword + page combinations work very well. You choose a page and a keyword you want to get a top 5 position in Google for.
Most people don’t scroll down in search results. They just click one of the first few results that look promising. If your page gets to the top 5 spots, some of those clicks will go to your website.
An SEO goal could look like this:
“The product page for my yoga classes should be in the first 5 results when people search “yoga class Boston south” in Google”
But why specifically “Yoga class Boston south”? Why not “yoga course Boston”? Or “yoga studio Boston”? That is the type of question you answer with keyword research. It’s where you look at the specific reasons why certain keywords are a good target for your business.
Along the way, you will also learn a lot about your customers’ habits, wishes, and behavior. So by finding the keywords for your website, you also do some free market research that can help you choose what to write on your website, fine-tune your company’s offer and understand which sales arguments to use.
3. Collect keyword suggestions
How would your customers describe a company like yours? And what words do they use for the product or service they can buy from you? Here are 5 ways to collect a long list of keyword suggestions, which you can sort and review later.
Start with a brainstorm
Start by listing 10 to 20 keywords you think customers might use. If you need some more inspiration, review your own elevator pitch.
Check your competition
Your competitors are probably optimizing as well, so let’s see what keywords websites from competitors use.
Visit the websites of your 3 biggest competitors. Pay special attention to the words they use in headings, and subheadings. See how they describe their products or services: do you see phrases that you think your customers would search in Google?
Now Google those competitors. Look at the texts in the page titles and the page descriptions. Also, keep an eye out for any featured snippets in the results. Those special mentions stand out and are a great way to get more attention. You might be able to grab that featured snippet for your website.
Search results are always personalized. Google shows different results if you are logged in and can use your location to personalize search results. To get non-personalized results, you can use SEO tools like the free MOZ-Bar browser extension or switch on the incognito mode in your browser.
Let Google help out
Google sees certain searches as closely connected. That information helps you find more potential keywords.
- Search each of your 10 to 20 keywords in Google
- Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the section “Searches related to” or “People also ask”
- Copy any of those ‘related keywords´ and add them to your list
Listen to your target audience
Let’s add a few human voices before we process all the suggestions. After all, you are marketing to humans, not to Google.
Find places online where your target audience talks to each other. Pay attention to the topics they discuss and which exact words they use. The topics help you understand what information they are looking for. The words they use to describe that information are potential website keywords.
Look at places like:
- Facebook pages
- LinkedIn groups
- Twitter hashtags
- Reddit threads
You can even go one step further and make notes during network events or conversations with your existing customers.
Generate hundreds of keyword suggestions
Then use those keyword ideas in one of these tools to generate hundreds of keyword suggestions:
Your keyword suggestion list looks something like this:
4. Select website keywords people actually search
Phrases that are searched often can bring many visitors to your site. In SEO, we speak about ‘search volume’: the average number of times people Google a certain phrase every month.
We separate keywords into short-, medium-, and long-tail keywords.
- Short-tail keywords have higher search volumes, but they are very difficult to rank well for (especially for new websites). They are generally 1-2 words in length.
Ex. “yoga poses”
- Medium-tail keywords have moderate search volumes, but they are also fairly hard to rank for—though not quite as tough as short-tail keywords. These are generally 2-3 words in length.
Ex. “yoga poses names”
- Long-tail keywords have lower search volumes, and they aren’t nearly as competitive to rank well for. These queries are usually 4+ words in length.
Ex. “yoga poses for lower back pain”
When you’re starting a new website, it’s good to focus on medium- and long-tail keywords. This will give you the best chance of getting visitors via search engines. As your website grows and if you begin to rank well for all of your medium- and long-tail keywords, you can always adjust your keyword strategy to include a few short-tail keywords.
Compare search volume with tools like Google Keyword Planner
Advertisers can use Google Keyword Planner to see estimated search volume for certain keywords. This tool used to be free, so you will find many older SEO articles mention it. There are other tools available.
If you ever used one of Google’s many coupons for free advertising, you may still have an inactive account at Google Ads and you may still be able to use the Keyword Planner.[/alert]
If you have an account at Google Ads, you can find out the search volume for your keywords with these steps:
- Login at Google Ads. (You don’t have to start paying money for ads to use the tool.)
- In the top bar choose Tools & Settings
- Under Planning choose Keyword Planner.
- Select the option Get search volume and forecasts
- Paste your list of keyword suggestions and click Get Started.
- In the top bar of the results set the right Locations and Language.
- Then click Historical Metrics.
Download your keyword list
You will now see a list of average monthly search volume for each keyword in that language and country. Click the download button in the top right and select Plan historical metrics to download your keyword list as a .CSV file.
5. Pick the best keywords for your company
So far, we only sorted keywords by search volume. Now let’s see which keywords are relevant for your website. At this point, you’ll often hear SEO experts talk about search intent. What they mean is the intention of the searcher when they look for something in Google. Common search intents are things like finding product information, comparing products or buying a product.
So, let’s see if the keyword suggestions we have collected show a search intent that your website can offer. If your site says nothing about yoga pants, and you don’t sell yoga pants, then don’t bother using it as a keyword. You only want to use keywords that really match the information on your site. Otherwise, you’ll be attracting the wrong visitors—in this case, people shopping for yoga pants instead of looking for yoga classes.
So go through your list and remove all keywords that don’t fit your website. That might be other cities or regions, other products, or just topics you don’t cover on your website.
Think like a customer when you do this: would someone who Googles this keyword expect to find a website like yours?
6. Sort keywords into topics
Have a look at your list of keywords. Can you guess what people expect to find if they Google these things?
Let’s sort them into categories. That process is called ‘clustering’: you create clusters of keywords. Each cluster includes only keywords that describe the same topic or show the same search intent.
Add these columns to your sheet:
- broad keywords — general topics, like ‘yoga’
- local keywords — mention a city, country or region, like ‘yoga boston’
- information keywords — look for information on a product or topic, like ‘is yoga sweaty’
- buying keywords — show an intention to buy, like ‘yoga course prices’
- branded keywords — mention your name, like ‘yoga courses at Boston Flexible’
One keyword might fit several categories, like ‘yoga for back pain south boston’. In those cases, mark several columns.
7. Turn topics into pages
You can now use these topics as the basic structure for your website, when you make your website plan:
- broad keywords — use these on your home page
- information keywords — sort these into subcategories and give each topic its own page
- buying keywords — use these for your pricing page
- branded keywords — use these for your About page
Local keywords only get their own page if you have valuable content for such a page. If not, you can use these keywords regularly in the content for your whole website.
Pick the main keyword for every page. It’s good to have the other keywords mentioned on that page, but your main keyword takes center stage in the titles and optimization.
More is not better. Better is better.
Remember that every page needs good, useful content to rank in Google. It’s generally not a good idea to give each keyword a page of its own: usually, there is not enough to say that is interesting for visitors. Your customers get more value from a smaller, highly-useful website than a site with too many pages and too much information.
8. Include keywords in your content
Now we need to use keywords in your website content, so Google can recognize that you have good content for searchers.
This part of SEO is called On Page Optimization: it’s all the tweaks and changes you make to your actual pages to get the content just right for both Google and your visitors. There is also an Off Page Optimization, which deals with optimization that happens in other places than your website, like collecting high quality backlinks.
Review your existing content first. Google pays more attention to some parts of your content like titles and headings. Use your keywords there, so Google can see them standing out.
Pro Tip: When it comes to keyword phrases, search engines do not pay attention to “stop words.” These are extremely common words such as the, is, at, which, and on. You may see keyword phrase suggestions such as “yoga poses back pain.” On your website, it’s fine to write it as “yoga poses for back pain”.
Adding your keywords to your SEO settings
Jimdo can do some of the heavy SEO lifting for you. Add your keywords to the SEO settings.
Use keywords in your content
- Use your main keyword in the address of the page
- Use your main keyword in the first heading on the page
- Use keywords in any subheadings on the page
- Use keywords naturally in the paragraphs of your text
- Use keywords in image alt tags if the keywords describe what the image shows
Google is getting smarter all the time. The search engine usually knows which words are synonyms and understands that the plural and singular versions of a word describe the same general topic. That’s nice because you don’t have to use the exact same words over and over again.
Add your keywords in Jimdo
- Click the three dots (⋮) in the top right of your website and pick SEO
- Add your 5 most important keywords at Keywords for your website
- Use broad keywords in the titles for your homepage and your website
When Google just started, it was easy to rank for a keyword. All you had to do was use that keyword as often as you could. Google’s algorithm got much smarter since then. That technique, called ‘keyword stuffing’, is now outdated and will actually hurt your SEO.
So when you optimize text, use keywords in your text naturally. You can always ask someone to read your text without telling them which keywords you optimized for. If your keywords appear naturally, your reader won’t be able to point them out.
9. Ask Google to have a look
Google’s crawlers visit every site periodically to see if things have changed since their last visit. If you don’t want to wait for that to happen automatically, you can use Google Search Console to invite one of those crawlers over.
If you haven’t done so yet, first connect your Jimdo website to Google Search Console.
- Log into Google Search Console
- Open the URL Inspection menu
- Type the address (URL) of a page you edited
- Click Request indexing
You can repeat this for each page you edited. Those pages are added to a list of pages that Google’s crawlers will visit.
10. Check the results
Once Google processes your changes, your updated pages should show up a bit higher for the keywords you added.
How to see the rankings for a page?
There are many SEO tools out there that track any changes in your rankings for you. You can use Google Search Console to get some free data.
- Log into Google Search Console
- Open the URL Inspection menu
- Type the address (URL) of a page you edited
- Tick the box Average position
Below the graph, you will see the list of search terms the page ranks for and which position it had in the search results. You can click a search term to see how the ranking for that search term changed over time.
Build your SEO on the right keywords
When you choose your keywords, you choose your goals. Every keyword you include represents a goal to rank as number 1 for that keyword. Whenever you edit your website, you aim to get a better Google ranking for some of your keywords.
Your keyword research gives you the core of your SEO: keywords that are relevant to your customers and to your website. If you want to start using those straight away, try the tips and advice from our ‘Basics of SEO’ guide.