An effective SEO strategy requires proper keyword research. Your keyword research forms the foundations of your SEO campaign as it helps you work out which keywords you are going to focus on. This guide outlines how to find keywords for SEO, including which tools you can use and what you should look for when deciding on your focus keywords.
How to Find Keywords for SEO
Which Tools to Use for Keyword Research
When carrying out your SEO keyword research, it is always a good idea to use an online SEO tool. Some of these are free, whilst others are paid. Free tools, such as Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner are fine to begin with. However, they do not always pick up enough data on very niche or specific keywords.
Regardless of which tool you choose, it is also helpful to set up a spreadsheet where you can record and organise your keyword research.
Where to Begin
Start by making a note of your main products and services. Think about what your business is and what it does. For example, a riding school could start with words such as: “riding school”, “riding lessons”, “dressage lessons”, etc. You can then type these words into your keyword research tool in order to get data and other relevant keyword suggestions. For example, typing in “riding lessons” may then lead the tool to suggest “beginners horse riding lessons”.
If you are carrying out SEO for the first time, stick to the obvious keywords. Don’t overwhelm yourself by gathering too many keywords. The next sections outline how to work out which keywords to focus on, and which ones to leave for later or get rid of altogether.
Search Volume: Do I Need High or Low Search Volume Keywords?
Many people assume that they need to target high search volume keywords straight away, because they think using higher search volume keywords means more people will find their website. However, this is not always an effective SEO strategy. High search volume keywords tend to be more generic and more competitive. Lots of people are searching for them, so lots of websites are competing to rank for them. Trying to optimise your website for high search volume keywords from the get-go can mean you make less progress than if you target lower search volume, less competitive keywords.
For example, “horse riding boots” has a search volume of around 6,600 per month, whilst “short horse riding boots” has a search volume of 260 per month (SE Ranking, October 2022). In this case, it would probably be easier to begin by targeting “short horse riding boots” before thinking about “horse riding boots” generally.
Of course, by targeting “short horse riding boots” in your SEO plan, you will be helping to optimise your website for “horse riding boots” as well, because the latter phrase is included in the former. However, whilst you could get your website to rank in the top 10 for “short horse riding boots” in around six months, this will take much longer for “horse riding boots”.
This is how we manage SEO campaigns for our clients. We start out by targeting those less competitive keywords before moving up to the trickier ones as the website’s SEO improves. This is because firstly, we want to get our clients’ websites ranking as quickly as possible and secondly, we want our clients to experience sustainable growth in their SEO. As we optimise for those easier keywords, the website benefits from building up “trust” with Google and this helps later on when we start aiming for the meaty search terms.
SEO is Like Dressage - Yes, Really
Think of your SEO strategy as being a little like training a dressage horse. You wouldn’t get a horse doing piaffe, passage and pirouettes before you have established a steady, balanced, trot and canter. Whilst I’m no expert, I imagine that doing this is likely to result in an unbalanced horse with a fried brain. It won’t get you to Grand Prix any faster than if you were to bring the horse through the levels slowly, getting the basics right before trying the more advanced movements.
Keyword Relevance: How To Cut Through the Noise
Another important aspect of choosing your focus keywords is relevance. The keywords you focus on as part of your SEO strategy must be relevant to your business. As I mentioned earlier, you will probably begin by selecting core keywords that simply describe your business, products and services. You may also look for keywords that mention the area(s) you serve (this is more important for location-specific businesses such as livery yards, bricks-and-mortar retailers and equine vet practices).
Once your SEO has matured a little and you are ranking well for those core keywords, you can then begin to expand your focus. You may begin to target more generic, higher search volume keywords (see the previous section) or expand into broader topics that are relevant to your business. I will go into more detail on this in a future article.
Purple Horse Marketing | Equestrian Marketing Agency
Keyword research is a core aspect to any SEO strategy - it is the foundations on which your campaign is built. Equestrian businesses can benefit enormously from an effective SEO strategy built on sound keyword research. Purple Horse Marketing are equestrian SEO experts - we combine our digital marketing expertise and industry leading capabilities with our passion for the equestrian sector to produce sustainable, organic search engine optimisation strategies. Find out more about our equestrian SEO services or contact us to enquire.