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10 Keyword Research Tips to Improve SEO Rankings

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10 Keyword Research Tips to Improve SEO Rankings


Work smarter, not harder, right? That’s why we always encourage targeting a specific, relevant audience. Why? Marketing towards your ideal client will yield higher chances of conversion than broad-scale marketing.

In order to do that, you need to conduct some detailed keyword research.

The goal of keyword research is to improve your search engine ranking. By climbing high on those search results, you can make yourself discoverable to potential users most likely to significantly boost your conversions.

Keyword research isn’t as simple as including a bunch of search terms. It’s a detailed process of strategically positioning your business for better reach and conversions. 

At YellowFin Digital, we offer Houston SEO Services for small and mid-size businesses. We have worked with numerous businesses guiding them to tap into the power of SEO through practical and realistic keyword research techniques that work. Here are some of our insider tips for keyword research!

10 Tips For Improving Your Houston SEO Rankings With Keyword Research

  • 1. Customers Are Top Priority 

Always keep this in mind: SEO techniques are intended to reach potential customers. 

Therefore, you need to have a proper understanding of who your customers are. Often, we see businesses skipping this step because they already know everything about their customers. But for effective SEO research, you need to know your customers like the back of your hand. 

Prepare a list of questions covering everything from your customers’ personal habits to preferences, place of stay, and working positions. These small details will help you make informed decisions about keywords. Instead of starting with ‘Which keywords will help me rank?’, think about ‘How will my potential customers search for me?’

  • 2. Diversify the Keyword Research to Every Webpage

As a company just starting out, you may be tempted to give the most importance to the homepage. But often, the individual web pages have more potential for ranking than the homepage. This is because the webpages are very specific and detailed about a particular topic rather than the homepage, which often features less information. 

This may feel counterintuitive, but when you’re targeting keywords for your website, don’t look at your website as a whole. Break it down into individual webpages and research the keywords for each of them.

  • 3. Long-Tail Keywords Are Your Best Friend

As a new player entering the market, it can be hard to compete with the existing websites! Fortunately, long-tail keywords are incredibly useful for getting your foot in the door and rising up the rankings ladder.

If you look at the below chart, the top 18.5% of the search traffic has high monthly searches. As we go down the curve towards the end, the long-tail constitutes about 70% of the traffic. However, the monthly search volume is 100 or less.

This is because the long-tail keywords are precise and therefore have fewer searches. Users who enter specific searches usually have a very clear idea of what they want, and they offer high chances of conversions as opposed to people who enter generic, high-volume keywords.

For example, when someone searches for ‘cheese pizza,’ you never know what they’re looking for. Are they looking to buy? Are they looking for the recipe? Do they want to know the history of cheese pizza? Who knows!

But when someone types, ‘order 11” cheese pizza with pineapple toppings from Houston’, you know they have high chances of purchasing!

  • 4. Research Your Competition’s Keywords

Your competitors are the ones who are stealing your potential customers from you. So, it’s essential to keep yourself updated about what their SEO strategies are and their keyword rankings.

If they’re ranking for some useful keywords, you can include that as a part of your ranking list too and aim for it! 

But make sure that you only steal their keywords and not their content. In fact, make your content much better than theirs and include the keywords to increase your rankings!

  • 5. Aim for the Voice and Local Searches

With the introduction of voice-based search assistants like Alexa and Siri, you need to optimize your webpages for those users, too. Humans use words differently when speaking versus writing.  So be sure to research voice-search keywords, too!

Similarly, if you’re running a local business in Houston, your keywords should be location-specific. This increases your rankings to Houston-based (or visiting) searchers…and increases your conversions!

YellowFin Digital is an award-winning Houston SEO Company that helps local businesses improve their revenue through SEO. We can identify the keywords and optimize your webpages for better conversions.

  • 6. Consider the Proper Metrics for Selecting Keywords

So, you have a list of keywords. But how do you know which are the best ones to use?

Consider a combination of these factors:

  • Search volume 
  • Organic click-through-rate
  • Cost per click
  • Difficulty in ranking
  • Current trends
While long-tail keywords are the best bet for a small business, it shouldn’t be the only factor you base the selection on. Together, all of these factors will help you decide those keywords that have better chances of ranking higher for the ‘relevant’ users.If you’re having trouble evaluating and choosing keywords, our YellowFin SEO experts YellowFin Digital can find the right metrics to pick those keywords that will increase your ranking.

  • 7. Align Your SEO Strategy with Your Customer Journey

Odds are, your potential customers wouldn’t convert on their first visit to your site. Most consumers go through multiple stages before they hit the point of sale. These four stages are usually: awareness, consideration, decision, purchase.

It is in the second and third stage where the buyer looks at your competition, compares and makes a decision.

So, when you’re choosing the keywords, you shouldn’t just focus on the stage of awareness because that’s just the beginning. Focus on those keywords that the buyer will use to research more about what you offer in the second and third stages leading to a conversion.

  • 8. Understand the Semantic Keywords Too

Recently, search engines have begun to understand the intent of the person for typing a keyword with predictive search. As search engines learn over time, it tries to figure out the reason behind a particular search. It then works to show better results that are more aligned with the user’s intent instead of only matching the entire phrase to the results. 

Search engines are now using Schema.org to implement the HTML markup for the semantic keywords to improve the relevancy of the search results. Instead of only focusing on the entire keyword, make sure to include the semantic keywords that would relate to the main keyword for better ranking.

  • 9. Try to Rank for Featured Snippets

When you’ve used search engines, have you ever noticed the Featured Snippets at the top of the search results? When we type in a question, look at how the first search result is featured.

How can you get featured at the top of Google?

By creating content that answers the user’s query directly. This is called the featured snippets and it can be in the form of a paragraph, numbered list, bulleted list, table or a YouTube video.

Depending on the search query, the search engine finds the closest answer among all the searches and features it at the top. You can aim to rank for those searches as a featured snippet by optimizing your content with the right choice of keywords.

There are many such special search features on Google like calculator, reviews, ratings, etc. you can target those relevant features for your business.

  • 10. Keep Testing and Updating the Keywords

There’s no sure way to know how much a keyword will impact your ranking unless you try it out. Sometimes, the user’s behaviour can change based on the season or occasion and the keywords. And there are chances that your main keyword can decrease in rankings and another one may become more relevant.

So you need to constantly watch over your search engine rankings for the main keywords and keep researching newer terms. You can hire a proven Houston SEO company like YellowFin Digital to regularly research the keywords in your domain and make small edits on your website whenever necessary.

This is the best way to maintain your rankings and make use of an opportunity to boost it when the right time comes.

Wrapping Up

Keyword research is one of the most important aspects of any online marketing strategy. We use all of these keyword research tips to improve the search engine ranking of many businesses. Make sure to choose the keywords closest to your user’s intent and keep checking and updating your website with more relevant keywords. This way, you can reach more users, increase your exposure and build a steady stream of customers by starting with proper keyword research.