There are many school-learned skills that we forget pretty quickly when we aren’t using them every day. Algebra comes quickly to mind. However, research skills are something that members of companies’ digital marketing teams and search engine optimization (SEO) professionals alike should keep sharp.
The main reason research skills need to remain highly honed is that research is one of the key foundations of SEO plan development.
These 4 types of research should be part of the development of your company’s SEO plan
The research necessary for the development of SEO plans is very important. It’s also pretty specific. Additionally, it often takes quite a while to do, and it shouldn’t be rushed if you want to have the best possible SEO plan. Here are four specific types of research you’ll need to do during the development of an SEO program:
Many companies and SEO professionals may want to jump into building an SEO plan. That’s a noble sentiment, but the reality is that some baseline research is necessary first. This type of research can help you answer specific questions and give you a solid foundation for further research and your eventual SEO plan. The specific questions you or your SEO professionals will want to answer during baseline research include:
- How is your site presently performing?
- Which keywords are your site and content currently ranking for?
- How much organic traffic is flowing to your site every month?
Answering these questions doesn’t have to be difficult. You can use tools like SEMRush and Google Search Console to answer these and other questions about your site’s current performance and health.
2. Competitor research.
This type of research is also vital to the development of SEO plans. After all, it’s hard to compete with other companies if you don’t know what they’re doing. Competitor research, or analysis, should start with you identifying who your primary competitors are.
Then, you’ll want to use programs like SEMRush or Moz to determine which keywords your competitors are ranking for. Such programs can also help you learn which keywords both you and your competitors are trying to target. They can also help you identify keywords they’re ranking for that you aren’t and the types of backlinks your competitors are getting.
3. Keyword research.
Baseline and competitor research are great ways to learn some things about keywords. You can learn what keywords you and your competitors have been targeting, for instance. However, keyword research is about something different. It’s about seeking out the keywords you can use in the future to build your organic traffic. Typically, SEO professionals will use a keyword research tool or tools to build a list of keywords that they wish to target. Some of the keyword research tools that are commonly used include:
You can also gain insight into targetable keywords by looking at the “People Also Ask” or “Search Suggestions” areas of a Google search results page for a similar keyword.
4. Audience research.
The final piece of the research puzzle when you’re developing an SEO plan is researching your target audience. Why? You don’t want to be in the position of having solid keywords in exceptional content that’s targeted at the wrong audience. That’s a prescription for continued low traffic. Instead, take some time to gather information about the audience you wish to target.
One effective way to do this is to talk to your sales and customer support teams since they spend lots of time talking to your target audience. They can even help you learn about issues your potential customers want to solve or solutions they’re looking for. This information can make finding effective keywords and writing targeted content much easier. You might also consider sending out a survey to your current customers to learn how they feel about certain products or topics.
Doing each of these types of research is vital to building a high-performing SEO plan. However, building such a plan can be even easier if you have experienced SEO professionals to help you.
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