Improve website ranking with keyword research

Keyword research is the foundation of SEO. You can improve your website's overall ranking by developing your keyword research skills.

There is a bit of an art and a science to the process; it takes practice to develop the skill.

Learning Keyword Research

Resources for Learning Keyword Research

A search tool I recommend starting with is the Ubersuggest tool. I also use SEMRush, Moz and Google search itself.

You will need a process to filter all the information the tool provides.  I suggest reading 2-3 guides. Each one will be different. But as you learn the different approaches, you will begin to develop your method of finding the information you need to improve your website.

I recommend the following guides:

My basic process of keyword research

First, I start with a broad keyword phrase that I think my customers or my client's customers might use to find a service/product/information. Let's pick something broad like "SEO services" for this illustration. SEMRush Keywords Magic tool gives me some information about this phrase and related keyword phrases:

Ranking for a broad keyword phrase like "SEO Services"  is going to take some work and time. You can see the competition score is 0.67 (out of 1). I review and improve the content on my website, targeting the keyword phrase "SEO services". This content will probably be on a landing page. At first, I will probably not rank well for this phrase.

Finding the keyword phrase to target

Therefore, the next step is to look for a group of phrases that have reasonable volume and low competition related to this broad phrase.

I do this for the following reasons:

  • Firstly, there is a greater chance that I will get some traffic to my website for these longer phrases related to "SEO services."
  • Secondly, it will be easier to rank for these long-tail phrases.

Within this list of related keyword phrases, I am also looking for topics that I feel I have something useful to say. I will create some pages or posts targetting keyword phrases related to "SEO Services" and link them back to my main SEO services landing page. These additional pages will have some search traffic, so I will begin to reach some of my target customers.

Another example:

  • "wedding flowers"  500-800 searches on per month, with  19 for the level of competition
  • "bridal flowers" has 50-100 searches on per month, with  0 for the level of competition
  • "flowers for your wedding"  has <10 searches on per month, with  45 for the level of competition

Although the phrase "wedding flowers" has a greater volume of searches, it does have more competition than bridal flowers. Ranking highly for "wedding flowers" may be initially very difficult - you may choose to use paid advertising for that phrase until you build website authority.  Creating content on the site with the phrase "bridal flowers" may give some customer traffic even for a new website.

Keep in mind your long-term strategic goals for your business when making decisions about your keyword phrase choices. You can read more about Small Budget - Big Impact: How to make the most of an affordable SEO package.

More on Keyword Research Strategy

Consider Click Through Rates (CTR) for Website ranking with keyword research.

Click-through rate is the ratio of users who click on a specific link compared to the number of total users who view that search page.

If someone searches the term "Wedding Flowers", according to the research {see the graph below} about 35% of those people will click on the #1 webpage, about 15% on the #2 term and 10% on the term that ranks #3 and then it starts to decline significantly from there.


Screenshot from You will find the latest CTR on their website. Red is mobile and Blue is desktop.

The graph below gives the CTR versus the length of the keyword phrase. Note that longer tail phrases have a more gradual decline ie position #2, #3 etc get a larger percentage of clicks.

Screenshot from You will find the latest CTR on their website.

Consider these two imaginary companies:

Company One Focus on many longer tail keywords with less competition and gets to the top 3 for those phrases

Keyword TermRankingVolumePotential Traffic
affordable small business website design#1100.35*10=3.5
web design for small business#1200.35*20=7
website design Auckland small business#1500.35*50=17.5
website design and build#2100.17*10=1.7
local business web design#1100.35*10=3.5
Wordpress website design Auckland#2100.17*10=1.7
website design Auckland#157200.01*720=7.2
web design Auckland#188800.01*880=8.8


Company Two Focus on a small number of high-volume keywords with higher competition. Their volume of visitors is lower.

Keyword TermRankingVolumePotential Traffic
website design Auckland#97200.015*720=10.8
web design Auckland#78800.02*880=17.6

Target lower competition phrases at first

Therefore, I consider it an important strategy to focus on keyword phrases that you have a high probability to get to #1 or at least into the top 3.

Compare below

Both have CPC {i.e. paid advertising}, which indicates it is a term that has the potential to get paying customers. One of the phrases is easier to rank for than the other. Of course, you may want to rank for both eventually. But focusing initially on the longer phrase with less competition will yield more traffic. Bear in mind, as you rank well for some long tail phrases, ranking for the shorter-phrase and higher competition phrases becomes easier.

For more information about keyword research, see these articles


Keyword Research to connect with Customers

Before the days of Google Search, a business did market research with focus group interviews and surveys to try and understand their customers and potential customers. We can find information about our potential customers through tools such as Google Search. Take advantage of this!

As you look at the questions they are asking in search and what phrases they are using, use this information to help you better target your website content. Think also about the intent of the keyword phrase. Do they want to make a purchase? Or do they want to find information? Ensure the content you provide fits well with the intention of the search term you are targeting.


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