These days, keyword research is an essential part of the content marketing strategy playbook. By looking up keywords, you’re going straight to the source to see what interests potential customers. You get to see what people are interested, what they’re not interested in, and what the heavy seasons are for your potential service. Keyword research is a big, complicated process, but there are a few simple tips you can follow to reign in your analysis.


1. Use the Right Tools

Everyone knows that the number-one tool for doing keyword research is the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. In most cases, your potential customers will be finding your content by doing an online search, usually through Google, so why not go straight to source to see what people are searching for on a monthly basis? Besides using the Keyword Planner, other popular tools for doing keyword research are, SEMrush, and Long Tail Pro. There are other keyword tools built around other services, such as Kindle Spy and Kindle Samurai for doing Amazon-related research.


2. Do Research on Your Competitors

When doing keyword research, you’ll have your content in mind. And while it’s always a good thing to think ahead of how you might be able to use these keywords, you’ll also want to check on potential competitors to see how they’re using the keywords. You may find that your competitors aren’t even using the high-ranking keywords that you’ve found, meaning that you’re likely to rank high for specific keywords. Plus, visiting your competitors may help you find keyword ideas that you hadn’t thought of previously.


3. Make Note of Seasonal Highs and Lows

Gloves, shovels, and snowblowers obviously sell better during the winter. Well, keywords operate on a similar basis. Just as people are more likely to buy winter-related products during the winter, they’re also likely to perform winter-related keyword searches during the winter. This principle carries over for all seasonal topics. So, if you’re doing searches for keywords and finding spikes at certain times of the year, consider why these spikes are occurring and if they make the keyword suitable for your purposes.


4. Be Careful of False Positives

One unfortunate aspect of keyword research that hasn’t yet been solved is the issue of false positive returns. It works like this: if you’re doing a search for topics related to lighting – as in floodlights, sconces, and chandeliers – you may be surprised that you return some positive numbers. However, these numbers also figure in searches unrelated to this definition of lighting. You may be getting returns based on people searching for how to light a fire, for instance, or misspellings of “lightning,” as rare as that may be. Always keep in mind other potential meanings of your keywords.


While these keyword research tips won’t make you a pro, they’ll definitely get you going in the right direction. Becoming a keyword pro and getting better at the keyword research process both take time, effort, and a lot of searching. The more you practice, the better you’ll get!

Author: Usman Raza is the co-founder of Christian Marketing Experts and marketing strategist working with various brands online, and the content marketing manager of PSD to WordPress and Los Angeles Digital Agency. He is devoted to helping small businesses bridge success gaps by providing in-depth, actionable advice on digital marketing, SEO, and small business growth. Follow him on Twitter @usmanintrotech.