How To Use Keyword Research To Rank On The First Page

34,000 searches are conducted on Google every minute. And it's not just the big brands that dominate the search results for coveted keyword phrases, it is very much a level playing field when it comes to generic or long-tail keywords, meaning small businesses have the same opportunity to rank on the first page of the Google SERP. All you need is high-quality content combined with thoughtful, thorough keyword research which matches the needs of your audience.


Why do you need to be on the first page of the Google SERP? 75% of users never scroll past the first page of Google search results, so being on the first page is key when it comes to scoring traffic from potential customers. Not to mention, a strong SEO presence has immense power, helping to drive traffic to your site, not only in the short-term, but for years to come.

Google search results are organised using complex algorithms, influenced by factors like location, website speed, social signals, domain authority, and keyword relevance. If your site is relatively new, it’s not likely to have a high domain authority or many backlinks yet, so you’ll make a stronger impact more quickly by focusing on keyword relevance. But “quickly” doesn’t necessarily mean overnight! A long-term optimization strategy is needed to be able to improve your organic standing in the SERP ranking. 

Incorporating keyword research into your SEO strategy and dominating long-tail keywords is a quick way to make an impact for your business. You’ll also be simultaneously building relevant content for your audience, which can assist in driving leads down your funnel. 

So, how do you conduct keyword research in order to land on the first page of Google search results, and get discovered by potential customers? Keep on reading to find out!

Use long-tail keywords

Long tail keywords make up over 70% of searches online and almost always have a higher conversion rate than one or two keyword searches. This makes sense; a longer search term often has a more specific and transactional intent.

Plus, long-tail keywords are also far less competitive than shorter keywords, meaning you’ll have a much higher likelihood of ranking higher.

How to conduct keyword research

While keyword research needn’t take up an enormous amount of time. That said, putting the time in to do your keyword research properly and with care will save you time in the long run. Good keyword research will form the foundation for the solid performance of your content, and may even determine what your content is about. It takes practice and ingenuity to be able to choose keywords which correctly match the search intent of the audience you’re trying to target. 

It’s also important to remember that you still need to be producing quality content. There’s no point in creating content for content’s sake, and filling your website with keyword-stuffed blog content which doesn’t provide any real value to your audience.

The better your content, the higher the chance that it will be shared and consumed again and again.

Finding a keywords tool

First of all, you’ll need to choose a combination of keywords tools to conduct your keyword research. There are many keyword research tools to choose from which have various strengths and weaknesses. What you choose will depend on your personal preferences, and whether you want a free or paid tool. Keyword tools vary slightly in terms of what they offer, but some great options are:

  • Google Keyword Planner: This is a free keywords tool which can help you examine search volume. Google Keyword Planner is handy, as it allows you to export up to 800 suggestions for most keywords and phrases. These can be used to optimized your main business pages as well as being a handy tool for creating new blog topic ideas. 
  • Ubersuggest: If you need a wide variety of search terms, this is a great free keywords tool. Ubersuggest shows you what Google suggests once you start typing in search terms. These keyword suggestions can be highly effective in pointing you to some great content ideas, long-tail keyword phrases, and associated keywords.
  • SEMRush: SEMRush is a paid keywords tool but does have a trial period. This tool is immensely helpful, particularly if you’re trying to rank for a specific or competitive area, and want to see the bigger picture. It includes in-depth competitive insights, which can provide helpful in understanding your competitor’s SEO strategy. It can give you a strong indication of how easy (or difficult) it may be to rank on the first page for certain search terms.
  • BuzzSumo: Another paid keywords tool, BuzzSumo helps you to see which keywords are trending, and what content is being shared most often. It can help immensely with your blog content strategy and even when optimizing social content. It can also assist in customer profiling, allowing you to develop smarter content strategies grounded in research and data.

How to conduct keyword research

Once you’ve selected your ideal combination of keywords tools, conduct your research by searching for a generic term associated with that topic. For example, you might choose, “blog content strategy”. You’ll want to ensure that the search volume is high enough, but that the competition for that term is low. Some tools, like SEMRush, will allow you to compare search terms directly, whereas for other keywords tools you’ll have to take your own notes and compare terms manually. After searching one term, you should be able to see associated terms for that keyword and choose ones which have high search volume and low competition, yet is still relevant to your topic and audience.

Don’t just find one keyword, either! When doing your keyword research, add associated keywords, and try to rank for these, too.

Tools like the Yoast SEO Plugin can help to refine your web copy and blog content before publishing, to ensure it complies with SEO best practice and that you have the recommended keyword density.

Write more content

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The more content you create, the more chances you’ll have to rank for various keywords, and you’ll establish your brand as an expert in your field.

Ideally you want to create a significant volume of high-quality content that will keep your users engaged and increase the likelihood of them sharing it with others, both privately and on social media.

It is key that your content:

  • Has SEO value with carefully selected keywords
  • Has strong intrinsic value for your audience with actionable advice, tips or stories
  • Is easily shareable and consumable

These factors, in turn, will strengthen your SEO for the long-term.

The more quality content you create, the higher the likelihood that you’ll end up ranking on the first page of the Google search results for the various keywords you’re targeting.

Still not seeing results? Aside from your keyword research, ensure that you’re also using SEO best practice. For instance, ensure your website has a fast page load speed, is mobile-friendly and that there are a number of inbound links coming to your site from quality sources.

It may take some time for you to see results. Proper SEO that gives lasting results doesn’t happen overnight. It requires a long-term, proactive approach. But if you have a strong SEO strategy and are creating quality content informed by carefully-considered insights, you’ll start benefiting from increased organic traffic before long.

To find out more, request our FREE SEO guide: 5 SEO Techniques That Can Double Your Business In 2020. 
Or, click here to find out more about our comprehensive SEO services to increase long-term, high quality traffic to your site.

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