Keyword vs. Topic Analysis – Website Optimization For Search

Two men work together to perform a keyword analysis in this file image.

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What is Keyword Research? 

As a business owner, your website will attract customers based on how well you understand and apply search phrases and keywords in your content. Understanding both keyword analysis and topic analysis is crucial to today’s SEO.

A keyword analysis is simply the process that enables webmasters to examine the words and phrases that direct audiences to your website – either through Google search or non-organic (paid) search.   

Knowing how to identify and exploit keywords in your industry will make it possible to target new markets more effectively, leading to more traffic and a higher conversion rate on your landing page. 

Proper keyword use will allow your business to scale – and as such, this should be the first step of a larger, more comprehensive marketing plan for your brand.    

How To Do a Keyword Analysis For a Website

The following is a process for keyword research that, if followed, will provide information to create a keyword strategy that puts you ahead of your competitors.

1. Come up with a list of some of the most critical topics in your niche.

A big part of keyword analysis is brainstorming. Think about everything in your industry that affects your average consumer, and write down the topics commonly discussed by your target audience. Out of this list, you may end up with ten or more topics that you need to develop keywords for later in this process.

It helps to have a buyer persona that you can put yourself in when brainstorming ideas; however, it works just as well to check ongoing conversations online – and focusing on topics that come up more than once.  

If, for instance, you were a blogger who mostly publishes SEO content; it would make sense to prepare keyword topics such as:

  • “link building” (8.1k) 
  • “blogging” (21k)
  • “SEO” (40k)
  • “search engine marketing” (19k)
  • “local SEO” (6k)
  • “conversion rate” (10k) 

It is just an example of how your topic selection should focus on your business’s essential. The numbers at the end of the keywords represent the monthly search volume, which is how you find out which keywords are more important to your website. 

2. Create keywords based on your topic list 

Now that you have a list of the most important topics for your audience, the next step is to create keyword phrases connected with those topics. It’s the post brainstorm phase of keyword analysis. It also happens to be a part of topic analysis as well. These are the search queries that your average buyer persona would typically type into Google to find information (or products) regarding your business. 

If, for instance, you had as one of your main topics the keyword “link building,”; then this part requires that you brainstorm ideas for how people would use phrases with those keywords. 

  • “what is link building?”
  • “how does link building work?”
  • “tips for link building.”
  • “what are the different types of link building?”

You can create keyword phrases commonly used with your keywords, but the main idea is to target your audience’s most important expressions. 

3. Learn how intent affects keyword use

The intent is one of the most critical factors that your website needs to address to rank well in all major search engines. It means that your keywords should be more specific; and attempt to address the query a consumer intended to solve, rather than just targeting web traffic from a whole industry. At some point, you’re going to face challenges if you don’t address intent early on in your keyword research. 

Determining the intent by how we interpret keywords requires finding out all the different meanings of your keywords. And learning how these interpretations affect your choice of keywords. 

Imagine that you were researching keyword phrases related to the word “blog.” You can use the keyword itself in all sorts of contexts. Some examples are: “how to write blog posts” or “how to create a blog,.” Knowing the intent behind your search phrases is just as important as choosing the initial keyword – especially when trying to target a highly competitive market. 

When you start to create keywords from your topic list, type the keyword phrases into a search engine to see what they reveal in terms of user intent. It is to ensure that you don’t end up targeting the wrong customers with your keyword selection.  

You may need to do a little creative work here to figure out which keywords to rank for, and if you find it challenging to think of new keywords, type your version of a keyword phrase into Google and see what other suggestions appear at the bottom of the search results page. A keyword analysis is more than just understanding the singular search phrase. You must also be prepared to do a topic analysis to find the subsequent terms you can also rank for with that topic.

These suggestions from Google can spark new ideas, in case you have a few more keywords that you need to rank for on SERP if you run a search on the related search results and find out their related search keywords, that could open up a whole new avenue for mining keywords. 

Another method you can try is to work with keyword research tools such as Ubersuggest and see what kind of ideas they have to offer for your list of keywords. This avenue might provide a whole new version of keywords that you haven’t thought of yet. 

5. How to select the right keywords in your keyword analysis

When complete with gathering ideas for your keyword list, the next step should be to refine it to make sure that it only covers the most relevant keywords in your industry. Several factors will influence how you pick a keyword:

  • How relevant is the keyword today? For your content to be ranked higher than anybody else’s online, it has to provide excellent value to the searcher, which means figuring out the intent and applying the right phrases to your keywords. 
  • Does your keyword appear authoritative? Your website will receive a higher ranking from Google if the content is deemed valuable and very useful to most site visitors. The first thing you should do to give your website some authority is to create useful, informative content and add lots of credible sources to your posts and links to other high-authority websites. Suppose a competitor’s website publishes content with authority sources beyond your reach (say, Forbes for finance articles or WebMD for health-related posts). In that case, the best way to compete here is to create great content backed up by reliable sources.     
  • What’s the monthly search volume for your keyword? The only factor that should influence your decision to use a keyword is the number of searches it receives. It makes zero sense to rank for keywords that nobody uses anymore – no matter how good the keywords look on paper. 
  • Combine both long-tail and head term keywords. As the name suggests, long-tail keywords are keyword phrases that contain more than three words. They are more descriptive and provide a good source for traffic, but they still need to be combined with shorter keyword phrases (or head terms) to cast the net further.     

How Do You Find Out What Keywords a Website Is Ranking For?

The following steps will show you how to use Keyword Explorer to check for ranking keywords on your website or that of a competitor:

  1. Enter the URL 
  2. Select which country your audience is located 
  3. Hit the “analyze” button  
  4. A list of high-traffic keywords will appear.
  5. In addition to revealing what keywords your website ranks for, Keyword Explorer will also show each keyword’s search volume.
  6. Using Keyword Explorer, you can search keywords for a whole website or a specific web page.

At this point, you probably want to find out what your competitors are ranking for, and that is an integral part of your research. However, we should also point out that just because you’ve seen a competitor using a particular keyword or method, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should do the same.  

Specific keywords may be valuable to your competitor, but they don’t always have to be essential to your marketing plan. That said, knowing which keywords a competitor is ranking for will help improve your list. 

How Do You Do a Topic Analysis For a Website?

Most businesses receive large amounts of text data in emails, social media posts, reviews, customer feedback, support tickets, and so on. They need a way to sort out this information into specific categories and then make sense of it. 

Now, in most cases, companies choose not to handle this type of work manually because: 

  1. It takes a lot of labor to comb through that much data.
  2. Takes too long
  3. You can make mistakes. 
  4. Doesn’t help the business scale 

Most companies use topic analysis models to sift through massive amounts of data – which is great because they can gather useful information quickly and use it to make essential business decisions.

Topic analysis, related to machine learning, is broken down into two main categories: topic modeling and topic classification. 

Topic modeling is an automated form of machine learning. A program goes through data to identify patterns and arrange related data into clusters – without needing a human to write or define the categories. Topic modeling works fast but may not always be accurate. 

On the other hand, text classification requires a human to sort out the topics before they get tagged. It slows down this process compared to topic modeling, but the analysis is far more precise. 

In a real-world scenario, you can use topic analysis to gain new data that helps make job departments work more efficiently; You can use it in place of manual labor to save time. It also works to automate specific essential processes for a company. 

If your website receives tons of reviews, you might want to organize that information to learn what people are saying about your brand or products. You can use topic labeling here to identify products or features that show up regularly in your reviews. With a little sentiment analysis, you can learn a lot about which parts of your business people are noticing.  

Other areas where topic analysis can benefit a business include social media, business intelligence, customer service, and search engine optimization (SEO).

Is topic analysis critical?

The topic analysis role cannot be undervalued. Especially in the digital landscape, where information travels fast, and people are in constant communication with the support desk. Analyzing every piece of data that comes in would take too long, and it would not be easy to make proper sense of things if this information is not assembled and tagged with precision. Here are the main benefits of topic analysis for your business:

  • Real-time analysis

When you use NLP techniques such as topic modeling and sentiment analysis, it can give you a clear vision of what audiences are saying about your brand. It also makes it easy to respond in case of a crisis involving the company’s public image. It helps to directly link to the latest customer sentiment when making individual business decisions. 

  • Scalability 

It would cost a lot of money if large companies had to hire people to sift through all the data from customers and other sources. It would also be extremely slow, making it harder for businesses to scale. However, the topic analysis makes it easier to analyze data and find basic patterns that reveal something about its customers. Machine learning simplifies gathering and analyzing large amounts of data, therefore providing faster ways for companies to gain valuable information. 

  • Fewer errors 

The topic analysis uses statistical data and computer science when sifting through information; therefore, it has a meager chance of providing inconsistent data. If an organization or a business were to start making changes to its operations based on the wrong data, it would be costly in the long term. The impact, although potentially serious, might even be hard to measure.   

How Does Topic Analysis Work For a Website?

Many tools for website research, such as SEMRush, focus on tactical data – or collecting all sorts of analytical data, without much focus on what to do once the data is collected. Conducting a thorough website analysis can help open new opportunities once the information is understood and used to inspire critical decisions. 

Since the actual topic analysis process is usually automated, you won’t be doing much to process the actual text. However, if your strategy begins with a thorough website audit, then it helps to:

  • Have clear goals before starting the analysis.
  • Know how to analyze and make sense of information.
  • Have different ideas for how you want to improve certain parts of your website.
  • Start introducing the changes, and keep a close eye on things to ensure the website remains optimized. 

How Do Competitors Use Keyword Analysis?

As a business owner, you’ve probably thought of ways to reverse-engineer your competitor’s success and find ways to stay ahead. It is perfectly normal in any competitive industry, and if you don’t do enough to learn how your competitor succeeds; and how you might get an edge, you might not stay in business for long. 

The question of who wins in a keyword competition boils down to who invests more time and resources into targeting high-value keywords and knowing how to use them to maximize traffic. 

Investing in detailed keyword analysis will enable you to perform well in different landscapes. It is achieved by pointing out high-return opportunities such as low impact keywords that might still provide the results you need for your keyword analysis.  

Ready To Hire Farm 6 Media For Your Search Analysis And Save You Time And Money?

Here’s an idea of what you should be doing with keyword research:

  1. Identify elements of low SEO awareness in your industry.

Keep in mind that many people work in industries where little effort goes into SEO, and when they apply SEO, they don’t manage to target the same high-yielding keywords you want. It is possible to find opportunities because a third of businesses have the wrong approach to SEO.  

  1. Find a way to compete with large companies.

Even if big companies dominate the paid keywords, it doesn’t mean there’s no space for SMEs to compete. Remember, the competition for paid keywords is only a section of a more significant landscape; and there are other ways to dominate specific keyword searches within your industry. Focus on identifying gaps that you’re able to fill because the right strategy will take you far. 

  1. Target some of the same keywords as your competitors

Find out everything about your competitor is finding keywords to rank for and what they’re doing to rank highly. It might require a combination of tools to get a closer look at your market and its sentiment. 

  1. Understand user intent

 Remember that website visitors will interact with different parts of your website before deciding to make a purchase. Even the smallest miscalculation on your part could cause you to lose many customers. And especially if your keyword use doesn’t suggest a high regard for search intent.  

  1. Figure out what people want before they know it 

Success in this part requires that you stay ahead of your competition. And for that, you won’t try to copy what someone else is doing. Instead, you will try to get inside your buyer personas’ mind and make adjustments to your website based on what you believe is essential to them. It works well when you try solving a problem. And think of all the search terms people might use to fix that problem. 

Want Some Help With Your Search Analysis To Save You Time And Money?

Closing Thoughts On Keyword Analysis Vs. Topic Analysis

Competition is hard, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t enough opportunities. You have to look closely and know your audience better than anyone else. Keyword analysis and topic analysis may seem like a lot of work, but they really aren’t if you compare the potential ROI. It takes a lot of patience and effort to optimize a website entirely. And even then, you still have to keep discovering new ways to stay up-to-date. 

Featured photo by George Morina from Pexels

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