Keywords and keyword volume are important if you’re looking to rank your business at the top – or towards the top of google search results organically. Keywords are what drive most SEO practices on the internet.
Therefore, keyword research is one of the most important and traffic defining practices you can undertake to find search terms within your industry. Here, we’re going to take you through what Keyword research actually is, with a focus on keyword research for the Florida area.
We’ll look at the main types of searches, keyword volume, and how to target them to gain more visits from local visitors in Florida.
First of all, here’s a quick takeaway answer on what is keyword research, then we’ll dive into more details about SEO in general and relate that to SEO in the Florida area, along with how to find search terms that are relevant for your Florida customers – and your desired traffic.
What is Keyword Research?
Keyword research concerns the words that are typed into all search engines such as Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo. These searched terms provide results on the search engine page.
The list of results that come back after conducting a search appears on what is called the SERP – Search Engine Results Pages.
Keyword research is analysis …and skill, to find suitable search terms (keywords) that will allow you to dominate the SERP listings, and obtain top positions – or as near the top as possible in the Search Engine results page.
According to Hubspot, Google processes approximately 70,000 search queries every second, translating to 5.8 billion searches per day and approximately 2 trillion global searches per year.
Stands to reason then, that ranking high on Google for the right search terms can result in increased business. So let’s dive a bit deeper into search results.
What affects search results
Articles and other web pages appearing in the search results compete not only with each other but with a number of other factors.
Firstly, at the top are usually the paid ads, you may have embarked on an Ads campaign yourself if you’re looking for local work.
These are also Google Adwords (or Google Ads) search results where people have bid money to appear at the top. This is largely considered a quicker route, but of course – it costs money to get there and can be expensive!
Appearing more these days are YouTube results. Google owns YouTube, so they’re keen to ensure relevant YouTube results are more visible to those searching. These often appear at the top
When it comes to targeting search results, you ideally need to find search terms that produce less of these competing factors.
Before doing keyword research
The process starts much further back than the point at which a user types in any words into a search engine like Google.
As a business, either global or local, for any seller of products and services, there’s more initial targeting involved – especially if we’re going to hone in on one area like Florida.
As part of an SEO function for any business owner in Florida, the practice of targeting the right “keywords” to gain traffic and customers, this is referred to as “keyword research” or sometimes “keyword analysis”.
The ultimate aim is to develop an SEO plan that’s designed to target and attract the kind of traffic that will likely purchase products or services from your business. Effectively, drawing people into your “store” where they can begin to understand what you do, and where you can start to build rapport with them.
If you’re helpful to your customers and they like what they read and/or see, then they’ll also be exposed to your products and services and be more inclined to purchase – it’s a win-win!.
“Effectively, drawing people into your “store” where they can begin to understand what you do, and where you can start to build rapport with them.”
A key part of keyword analysis is understanding your audience and what they’re trying to search for. For this, it often helps to reflect on how you yourself have performed searches in the past, what information or service were you trying to look for?
So to help provide some structure to this for you, let’s look at what “User Intent” is …because keyword analysis comes in many forms and can target a number of different kinds of users.
User intent – the guidelines
Google is by far the largest search engine – in the western world at least. So most of what we discuss is in terms of Google use.
To that end, Google actually describes it’s customers’ searches in terms of “user Intent”. This is important, as you need to understand the intent of the person performing the search …before conducting any type of keyword research.
Often too, if we’re using “user intent” to target high volume search terms, then in actual fact, high volume keywords numbers can be deceiving. As an extreme example, let’s take the search term “Tea”
Typing “tea” into Google will bring up a variety of results. From the keyword research tools (explained below) we can determine that “tea” is searched just under a million times per month. The reason for this is that the term “tea” is high volume, yet it’s vague.
Google doesn’t know if you want to buy tea, go for tea, make tea or want to know the benefits, or history of tea. The term is too ambiguous so the search results will vary.
Also, the search volume numbers for “tea” simply reflect that the search results of “Tea” appear in many many searches per month, many will be longer sentences with the word “tea” in them. This is why high volume search terms look attractive but are harder to attain. More on that later.
Types of searches
Loosely speaking, the two main types of user intent searches, as outlined by Google in their Quality Rater Guidelines, are those customers that want to “know” and those that want to “do”.
These search types apply everywhere in the world, so that includes Florida and will include searches around your business. Ideally, we must first understand both of these search types.
Not all searches are the same…
There are five distinct types of user search objectives that cover all searches on Google…
- Informational Queries
- Transactional Queries
- Navigational Queries
- Commercial Investigation
- Local Queries
Three popular types of search queries
Let’s go over the three main types of keyword searches and what their intent is, we’re honing in on these three because …of the five different types, these three are the ones where we stand the best chance of vying for top SERP positions…
Informational search queries
Whether you’re repairing your RV, want to know the time in Tallahassee or the name of the first woman in space. These types of searches form a large portion of daily search questions typed into Google.
Targeted SEO and the whole idea behind keyword research for this type of “user” involves providing informational and thorough content designed to answer specific questions that users type into Google.
Or, that will guide users through more complex tasks. Often in the form of Guides and/or How-To posts. Often these are designed to provide a solid response/answer, with recommendations, and incorporating the writer’s experience – conveyed to help the reader.
Google’s SERP (search engine results page) will seek to present and direct users toward the right answers for their “keyword search”. Presenting the user with results from authoritative websites with expertise that can be trusted.
Transactional search queries
Typically these are searchers who are looking to make a transactional purchase, a new pair of shoes, a concert ticket or to Book a Hotel in Miami.
But also, this type of search doesn’t always have to refer to monetary transactions. A transaction can also be defined as a “Do” request. Often to locate a specific resource.
So this type of user might just want to locate a song to listen to or watch a particular movie or find out when a particular artist is in concert next. These are all part of transactional searches.
Navigational search queries
This particular search could be seeking directions, perhaps a street in Tallahassee, or the address of a hotel – or your business. See our our Google My Business to understand more about how you can stand out in local business searches for this type of search.
But mainly these refer to “Navigational” searches that are seeking a particular web site.
These could be YouTube, or it could be your website name in Florida… so it’s where the user is intent on finding a particular website, or a particular brand.
The typical examples of keywords they type in might be Adidas.com, Airbnb Tallahassee, or Netflix Sci-Fi. They’re looking to navigate directly to a particular, familiar source for specific information.
If people begin to search for your particular site name and it becomes a popular search, then you know your marketing is having a great impact and your name is becoming a known brand – with authority!
Here. the searcher is looking for a particular product or a particular service that will fulfill their needs.
It could be to compare two brands such as Dodge vs Ford for example. Or it could be a search to find a product that will give them a solution, such as “SEO experts for hotels”.
Assess what your ideal user’s intent is
Now we understand what the main types of searches are, we can figure out what your users want, this helps us to understand and target keywords that we know your users might be looking for. This could be more complex as it might involve the use of a couple of combined searches within your industry. “Plumbing service in Orlando” for example.
Are your customers looking for a specific solution to solve their problems? (Commercial Investigation). Are they looking to find your software category from your particular website? (Transactional Search Query). Or are they looking for information “the best way to clean a window” (Informational Search Query)
Now, let’s look at what tools are available to you that would enable you to locate suitable keyword search queries within your industry for the Florida area.
We don’t really know how many questions are being asked about any particular subject. You could probably make a pretty good guess based on how you as a typical user would use Google. But ideally, we need more structure and accuracy to what we target.
We could probably guess that “plumber in Miami” is searched more than “taxidermist in Miami” but that’s still largely guesswork.
So we ideally need to determine two main criteria…
- What keywords are being searched in Google
- What the volume is of those keywords being searched. i.e. how many times is it being searched
… and we need some software tools to help us determine these.
Tools for conducting keyword research
For proper keyword research, we need three elements.
- The Keywords we want to target
- Search numbers about that target keyword
- The skill and experience to interpret the data.
Before we get on to the tools available to decide what we want to search for, let’s explore what keyword volume is so we can understand the number of searches better…
The number of times a search is performed is critical. Targeting high volume keywords is a desire that every business owner has, but the stakes are far higher. You’re not the only one who wants to rank for high volume search terms – and this is where the fight is the toughest.
High volume keywords are also often dominated by ads and renowned industry websites with very high domain authority.
Low keyword volume
For most businesses, and certainly, local businesses like our example in Florida, the keywords that are most ideal to target are not the ones you instantly think of. The ones that spring to mind are in fact, arguably the worst ones to shoot for – because of the level of fight you need to put in.
Instead, there are lots of searches that are much lower in volume but that are easier to attain. Often known as “longtail keywords” …these, in fact, are easier to target and beat the competition with.
You could argue that a number of much lower keyword phrases are less work to target and will acquire more search traffic than a handful of higher keyword search terms that are much harder work and have less chance of ranking and bringing traffic.
So how do we decide what we’re going to search for that might have a suitable search volume? That’s where keyword research tools help us…
Keyword research tools
There’s a wealth of keyword research tools available to anyone with a reasonable budget to spend on acquiring keyword metrics and data.
There are also some tools that are low cost, or even free to use, but these typically provide less analytics and data than full professional paid-for versions. A professional will usually want more data than the free or low-cost versions can offer.
Example of a free keyword tool
For example, the free site ubersuggest is one method for viewing some search data. Entering the keyword you want to target, or even a competitor’s domain name will provide some information.
This information is helpful for those looking to gain some insight into keywords and determining if a keyword is worthy of targeting.
However, this information is fairly basic, which is why businesses typically employ the services of a professional – more on that later.
The number of times it’s being asked per month can have a significant bearing on whether it’s a suitable keyword to try and rank for.
Example of a paid keyword tool
There’s a selection of keyword research tools available that require monthly subscriptions. These include tools like SEMrush, Serpstat, and ahRefs. But these can be expensive if you’re only intending to use them a handful of searches for your business.
Also, you have the added complications that the information they present to you requires some skill and experience to interpret. If it’s not something you’re used to then it can seem quite daunting.
If you’re experienced at using keyword research as a method for search analysis, then subscribing to a paid keyword tool is a good way to plan a keyword campaign.
Keyword research tools can be inaccurate
Another factor to take into account, and which can make interpreting keyword volume a skill, is that the numbers are invariably wrong – or perhaps more accurately, we can say with confidence that they ‘differ’ from one another.
Let’s take these two examples from a free tool (ubersuggest) and a low-cost tool (keywords everywhere). And we’ll apply them to a simple search query.
The volumes show differing amounts per month. This is typical for most (if not all) keyword search queries performed on both keyword research tools – in fact across all keyword research tools.
The reason for the differences is simply that no third-party software tool is privy to Google’s own figures. And Google do not share their search figures.
So the software is trying to “guess” what the search volume for any given phrase is, mainly using their own metrics – which are often based on factors like PPC advertising, historical data, and other varying metrics. The metrics they all use differ between each one too since they don’t share their own data either.
Add to this that we’re trying to interpret search volume not just from Google, but from other search engines such as Bing, DuckDuckGo, Ecosia, etc and there are so many!
Furthermore, volumes like this are usually lower in number than the actual number of searches. Most tools take a conservative estimate, so we can often take a guess that the actual search numbers will be higher than this. Factors like this you only get to know from industry experience.
So why use keyword search tools?
The simple answer is that’s all we have. Short of using your own guesswork, these tools provide the closest numbers we could hope to attain, so we use them mainly as a guide.
If the number is high, we interpret that to be a high volume search term. If the numbers are low, we know it’s a more rare search term. This enables us to target with reasonable accuracy.
With so many factors to interpret, how is a business owner in Florida supposed to understand the metrics, let alone know with enough degree of experience and accuracy which search terms to target?