Here is a metaphor!
Keywords are more like marketing representatives of your content.
A marketing representative with more relevant connections can bring in more leads and conversions to your business.
A keyword with more search volume with clear purchase intent can bring in more leads and conversions to your online business.
‘Market worthy’ keywords can quickly take your content to the top of Search Engine Results Page.
Keyword research helps to identify such keywords that appeal to your website audience.
What do you think will happen if you start content writing without proper keyword research?
I would say you are taking a “Cooked Spaghetti Approach”
Throwing a bunch of stuff against a wall, hoping something would stick.
Your probability of success with the content is slim to none.
Because you are simply writing the content with a bunch of keywords hoping to rank it well without knowing their real competition or rankability.
The right approach is to conduct proper research and find the right keywords.
Then use those keywords suitably within the content to attract visitors to your website.
There are different types of keywords.
Certain keywords are pure research terms with low conversion rates.
An example is “How to cook hummus”
Others may be commercial or brand terms with high conversion rates.
An example is “Buy Samsung Galaxy S8”
Here we go with an Infographic published by Kissmetrics that shows how to target keywords. Click to see it on a separate window.
Don’t worry. Consider me as your best friend. I’ll hold your hands and take you through the keyword research process step by step.
At the end of this post, you’ll have learned the skill to conduct keyword research like a pro.
But bear with me on this.
It’s a relatively long post. Because I want this to be a complete post that covers all important aspects of keyword research.
So, go grab a cuppa coffee or your favorite drink.
A sip in the middle of the work will make you feel refreshed.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
Come up with a list of the seed keywords of different types from your industry.
These are the keywords that define your niche or industry.
Let’s say you are a dealer of baby products, for example, diapers.
Then can you guess what your seed keyword is?
It is Diapers.
Take a note, it is not baby products.
We will focus on what people will search for in the search engines when they need a product. It’s as simple as that.
Not a category like Baby products.
When you search for the seed keyword “Diapers”, you would find related keywords like the ones given below.
None of the keyword tools will provide such related keywords, for example brand names.
The best way to find some ideas is to search for brand names for the specific product like diapers or visit niche related forums on the web and manually note down keywords.
There are other places like Wikipedia
or product page with description and
“look inside” option in the amazon book section.Note down the niche related keywords from these resources.
Consider using free keyword tools like:
Check out my other post on using free keyword tools.
Once you have your list of keywords generated for each of the niche keywords found, categorize all of them into Head terms, Body terms and Long Tail terms.
You may use paid tools like SEMrush to unearth keywords used by competitors.
SEMrush is a powerful competitive analysis tool.
Just type in the URL of your competitor and find a list of organic and paid keywords they use.
You can also see the ranking position of those keywords, volume, CPC etc.
Download the list and start using them on your website.
Save a list of keywords from the tools given above.
There will probably be many duplicates as you have just downloaded and saved from many tools.
Use a spreadsheet to remove duplicates.
In MS Excel, you can use the feature given in the picture below.
The other option is using a simple formula to remove duplicates.
First of all, sort the keywords in either ascending or descending order.
If your keywords are listed in column A, Row 1, then apply this formula in column B Row 1.
Once you have duplicate entries identified, you may filter them out and delete them.
Manually study the list and strip off all the irrelevant keywords.
These are terms that are not closely related to the product/service you sell.
Here is why.
Let’s say you try to include keywords which are not closely related.
You ranked for those keywords in Google.
When people visit your page, based on those keywords, they’ll find content which is not closely related to the keyword they typed in the search.
So they’ll press the back button and leave.
Google notices all this. If this continues, they’ll demote you in the search engine.
All your time and effort to rank for those keywords are wasted.
Use Google trends to see the long term viability and popularity of keywords.
Why would you choose a keyword which is already losing its popularity?
Choose keywords that show stable or uptrend.
Here is an example of what I mean.
Go to Google Trends and compare the following terms.
They both are closely related. But as you can see, the keyword Digital marketing is getting very popular day by day, whereas Internet marketing is losing the steam in general.
Now, don’t you agree that you better do this research before choosing your keyword?
Do this right away.
Pick your brain and come up with a few keywords from your Industry. Then compare them in Google Trends to know which of them is a better target.
Let me know your research and results in the comments section.
After finding keywords that match the above criteria, find keyword difficulty. Try targeting easy to moderate competitive keywords for ranking.
A simple way to do it is by doing a Google search.
Go ahead and install moz bar. It’s available as an extension for Chrome and Firefox users.
It shows the Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) of a website and web page respectively.
Once installed, go ahead and search for the chosen keyword in google.
Analyze the top 10 websites in the first page of Google search.
If they are pages with high DA and PA, say above 30, ranking that keyword can be pretty difficult.
The other way to find the difficulty is using the tools.
I found the free tools available for this purpose are not reliable.
You may use kwfinder.com which is a paid tool with free daily allowance to try to find easy to rank keywords.
Their dashboard looks great and is easy to use.
Once you have keywords worthy of spending time with, start writing content using those keywords.
Use them as the focus or main keywords. Use them in the title, meta description and within the content.
Find long tail variations of those keywords and use them within the content.
Find semantically relevant keywords and keyword variations and use them in plenty within the post.
More on all this in the tips section below.
Here is a case study from Yoast that will probably help you on how to start a keyword research.
Know the intent of the search before choosing a keyword.
Mere volume is not enough to choose them.
For example, the keyword ‘Google Adwords’ has more than 1.5 million searches.
But almost all searches are intended to access Google’ Adwords website.
The majority of the people will not care for other sites ranking for that keyword, even in the first page of SERP.
Of course, long tail variations of that keyword will rank for learning more information about the tool.
If the search intent is to buy the product, target those keywords.
Wanna learn more about search intent?
Checkout this post from wordstream.com
Future seasonal keywords are like Diwali, Christmas or Valentine’s day. Write great content around that.
Usually, these are easier to rank.
Start the research work 1 year before the event. Yes, that sounds crazy.
But you need lots of time to research and find ideas.
Clearly, spell the strategy as to what you want to achieve from it and the Budget spend. For example, starting an Online Gift shop.
6 months ahead of time, create your landing page and blog posts.
But post only a teaser at this time because you don’t want others to see your awesome promo content yet.
Consider releasing and promoting it only a month ahead of the festival.
After the event, don’t take it down.
Save it for the next event. Replace it with some general info about the festival.
Find industry related news stories trending in social media and their keywords.
Google trends is a great tool to find it.
You can also use a website called trends24.in to find what’s trending on Twitter.
Confirm their uptrend in Google trends.
Also, use Google search to check the competition.
Be the first mover to write an article on them.
Checkout this post from problogger.com
You’ll learn more about various tools you can use to find trending topics and keywords.
These are words closely associate with your company name or products.
Examples are “Nikon D3300” or “Buy Nikon D3300 Online”.
Large brands must use them throughout the site, mainly on the home page.
Commercial keywords are the ones your customers frequently search for online.
Examples are “SEO services in Mumbai”, Social Media Services in Houston” etc.
Small to medium size companies must use them throughout the site on product pages.
Informational keywords are crowd pullers.
They are used by people to do research and gain knowledge.
If relevant and long tail, they convert well.
Examples are, “How to use Samsung Galaxy S8 mobile”.
If you write a useful blog post on this topic with tons of tips, that post will pull relevant people who search online using this keyword.
If you also have an online shop that sells the same product, visitors may buy the product from you.
Use them within blog posts to provide useful information.
Examples are “How to Take Great Pictures with the Nikon D3300”.
Long tail keywords are very specific and convert well.
Moreover, the competition for them is usually low.
So your chances of ranking them are higher.
This guide from Backlinko.com can help you on how to find more Long Tail Keywords.
An example is “SEO Training in Chennai”.
This is key if you are targeting local customers.
While doing so, include your name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) on multiple pages on your website. It should be in text format.
This is important because when people reach your site and don’t find your address, they’ll leave immediately.
Combining similar/related keywords into a group and writing content for them is a good idea.
SEOs call it as a semantic keyword list.
This is important for the content to look and read natural.
You may enter a seed keyword and generate a list of LSI keywords using tools like LSI Graph.
See LSI keywords in the image here.
This means, determine the location of the prospect and deliver super relevant content.
Make sure the content is unique in the Geo-targeted pages.
For example, you may have offices in different cities.
Each of your branches may have received reviews/testimonials.
Include the city name in the title tag and post that city related reviews only on the page created for that city.
Use Google Suggest to come up with new keywords.
Type in the keyword. Then go back to insert a space between the words typed in.
You get to see new suggestions.
Here is how.
In addition to this, search for the glossary of terms for your keyword.
Wikipedia can provide lots of LSI keywords.
Also, product pages on Amazon and Look Inside area can provide tons and tons of LSI keywords.
This means to calculate the Monthly Search Volume x Cost per Click/competition from the Google Keyword Planner.
Download your keyword list from the keyword planner in a spreadsheet and use the formula.
Target relevant keywords with the maximum number of the above formula.
Checkout this post from wordstream.com for a detailed step by step approach.
Voice search is the future of the search.
Voice assistants like
People are increasingly using voice search using their smartphones and tablets.
The keywords are usually questioning types like “Where can I buy a Treadmill in Chennai City?” etc. Write content to optimize for such long tail keywords.
Wanna learn more about optimizing for voice search?
Checkout this post from SEJ.
Use the tips given above and go step by step to complete your keyword research.
This applies to whichever industry you are in.
Also, let me know via comments if you get stuck anywhere in between.
I’m available to support you.
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Now let me know this.
What are your favorite tools to dig out more keywords and to find ranking difficulty?
What else you’ll do creatively to rank your keywords?
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