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How Important Is Keyword Research in SEO

Did you know The Content Marketing Institute and HubSpot are 14 years old? That means a lot of us have been doing content marketing for a while. If you’re like most digital marketers, you’ve created a lot of content in that time and taken SEO risks to improve your strategy.

Some, you’re proud of — they’re getting results! But some may have never gained any traction. It has no links or traffic, and there’s likely a good reason for that.

Keyword research is still very relevant to your search engine optimization (SEO) process and your success with rankings. You could be choosing the wrong keywords without it, resulting in little to no traffic to your pages or even unwanted traffic. Check out how finding the right keywords can improve your search ranking quickly and how to ensure your old posts are getting the recognition they deserve.

Why Is Keyword Research Important?

No matter how complex Google’s algorithm gets, it still depends on keywords. Why? Because words and phrases are how we communicate. When someone looks something up in Google, they use words to express ideas. So, of course, using words and phrases that people are searching for is important and understanding what they expect to see when searching for that word (relevance).

Therefore, researching and understanding the phrases people search for influences your SEO success. If you have old posts that never got off the ground, it’s time to revisit them, find out what keywords you should be targeting, and get the traffic and conversions you expect from your posts.

Here’s where to start:

1. Revisit old blogs in Google Search Console

You may have hundreds of old posts, so prioritize. Start with posts that meet the following criteria and work your way back. You’re looking for your “almost there” posts. This is low-hanging fruit you can tweak to get better SEO results.

Go to Google Search Console and look for pages that are ranking in:

  • Positions 8-20 and have a high click through rate (CTR)
  • Positions 8-20 and have high impressions
  • High impressions and low CTR

2. Choose new keywords to target

Now that you have a place to start, identify the primary keyword you should target with this post and complimentary secondary keywords to demonstrate that you’re covering the topic. Unsure if you’re targeting the right keyword? Proceed to #3.

3. Check out the page 1 competition for your keywords

Take a look at the content on page one of the primary keyword. To rank content on this page, it needs to be similar to these other posts. The posts you’re seeing reflect what Google sees as “searcher intent” or “relevance.” In other words, these are the posts that Google thinks people want to see when they enter this query.

If your post doesn’t resemble these, then you may need to rethink searcher intent for the keyword you’ve chosen. This may lead you to select a different lower-ranking but less competitive keyword for this post. Or it may be worth your while to update this post so that it is more like what you see here.

4. Improve the quality of your post

Look for any outdated information or things that don’t meet your current quality standards. Since you need to compete with posts currently on page one, consider if you need to add certain features to be competitive:

  • Video
  • Information cards (schema markup)
  • Embedded Instagram
  • More images

Keep in mind that you may need to lengthen your post and add new keyword-rich headlines to compete. To make this updating worth your while, this post must be better than what’s already ranking for this keyword.

5. Measure ranking changes before and after

Be sure to measure how the post performs for these keywords before you make the changes, so you can better understand which posts are worth updating and what works. As you go through this process, you’ll experience firsthand the difference that keyword research makes in SEO.

6. Ask for a reindex

It’s a good idea to request that Google reindex this page directly. This can communicate to Google that you’ve done something to improve this page, and they should take a closer look at it. They will note the new or better use of keywords in the post and rank it in searches they did not rank before.

Keyword Research to Refresh Your Posts

You’re spending time and money creating new, fresh content. But make sure you’re getting the most out of the content you’ve already written to save time and money in content marketing while increasing your return on investment (ROI). When refreshing posts, take the time to do keyword research to get measurable SEO results!

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