Better keyword research generates more traffic – here are 4 guidelines

Marketing, Tips & Tricks

Social media marketing

How can you improve your website to help promote your business? A little keyword research is a great way to attract traffic and increase sales on your site.

The four guidelines below will help to improve the keywords you use as part of your website content.


1: Know your audience

Where do you start with keyword research? With your audience: both your current site visitors and those you want to target.

Look at the visitors on your site and see how they behave: are they making purchases, or just having a browse? Even if your site is performing well in search result rankings and generating plenty of traffic, your keywords may be attracting the wrong audience if visits aren’t converted into sales or enquiries.

Your website’s platform may include analytics to see who is visiting your site and what they’re doing once there. Alternatively, there are several plugins available that profile your current site audience; you can also use Google Analytics to track the keywords that are successfully converting. Use this information to modify your keyword list to target the visitors you want.


2: List the best keywords

Once you know the visitors you want to target, define keywords which should draw potential customers to your site.

Remember, the more generic the keyword, the higher the number of search results. A generic keyword may bring you more traffic, but those visitors may not be looking for the exact product or service you’re selling. For example, for a second-hand bookseller specialising in poetry, “books” is an overly generic keyword. A more targeted keyword is “second-hand books”, and “second-hand poetry books” really highlights the specific market.

Ensure that your keyword list is comprehensive: you’re trying to cover phrases used in a search engine that will suggest a potential buyer.

Finally, your site visitors will be at different stages of the sales cycle, so include keywords that reflect those new to you, and those who are planning to buy.


  1. Check your list

Now you have your keywords, test them in a search engine or keyword suggestion tool to see how well they match with what people actually search for.

Enter your keywords in Google’s search bar: you’ll immediately see if those terms are used in volume by the contents of the autofill feature. Most of the keyword suggestion tools, including Google’s Keyword Planner, will provide some indication as to search volume and the level of competition. You need to strike a balance between the two.

You can also configure site search tracking: you then know exactly what search terms people use on your website and can refine your keyword list accordingly.


4: Analyse your competitors

Do you have a competitor who seems to enjoy high traffic volumes, strong search rankings and sales? Time to take a leaf out of their book.

There are several further keyword research tools, such as SEMRush and SpyFu, which show you the keywords sending traffic to competitor sites. Detailed reports provide further analysis of what people interested in your products search for, and help to focus your keywords to get similar results to those of your competitors.

Choosing the right keywords is the key to successful digital marketing, both for organic search engine optimisation (SEO), including your content strategy, and for any paid search (PPC) activity.