While Google’s improving its image recognition algorithm, words are still the primary tools of finding anything on the web. That’s why keyword research is one of the major tasks for any marketer and blogger.
Tons of articles on this topic will give you various ideas on how to perform this activity to rank high on Google. Not that some of them are wrong, but the approaches may differ.
I’m not here to give you a detailed guide or step-by-step tutorial on keywords research. I will show you some upbeat tricks that may sometimes be overlooked by those in-depth guides instead.
These tips should make the research process easier for you and more deliberate.
What do you need keywords for
First, you have to get a clear vision of your goals. Is it your personal or corporate blog? Do you need keywords for your online store’s product and category pages?
Thus, if you run an online store, you have to take a closer look to search queries that “sell” something. It’s the “monetization-first” approach. To get your “seed” keywords here, you may start with the Amazon search. It has incredibly detailed categorization and may give you a set of keyword ideas right from the start.
Or you may go with the “niche down” approach to find keywords for the website content. Start with the broad definition of your category and then go “down” to a more specific definition of your idea.
Put users first
Keywords for different pages will differ by user’s search intent. Website owners often forget about this idea behind the keyword research. That’s why they often choose keywords based on their metrics, not the search intent.
Google’s guidelines divide searcher’s intent into four categories:
- Users what to learn more about the topic;
- Users search for a particular page or URL;
- Users want to perform some action;
- Visit-in-person. A query that includes local searches that people want to visit offline.
Those categories may be segmented even more. E.g., in the “Know” query can a “Know simple,” search that includes Answer boxes that Google shows right in SERP. They don’t usually result in any clicks and thus are mostly useless for those website owners who need traffic.
Google’s statistics show that up to 15% of searches are new – they have never been performed before. It’s the so-called long-tail keywords that are extremely specific and have low search volume.
It means that you have to understand the goal of the search query, not guessing the exact search phrase.
Come up with keyword ideas
When you start searching for the keywords, try to guess what phrases real users may type into the search field to find your product or a piece of content. The best way is asking the users how would they search for it. But it’s not always possible.
Put yourself in your users’ shoes. Pretend that you know nothing about the product or the content. Then drop a few of your search ideas into Google and see what results you get.
E.g., if you sell coats, the best period for promoting your offer is the mid-season like spring. But if you type “buy spring coats” into the search, you will see that many results include searches for “spring jackets” too. Think of utilizing this search term, too.
But it’s only the beginning of your research. Look at the Related searches section under the search results. You will see how many different variants people are using to find coats for spring. Those related searches can make a great addition to your list.
Use valuable metrics
With wrong metric estimations, you may spend a lot of time researching and optimizing “wrong” keywords that don’t fit your page or don’t match your goals.
The first metric that website owners often treat wrong is the search volume. The main thing you should remember about the search volume is that it doesn’t equal clicks. In simple words, people don’t always click the search results they get for a particular keyword.
Google now has the “Answer box” in the search results where it shows the instant answer for the questions that it defines as “simple.” Usually, those are questions about the date or quick info about the event or a person (e.g., “donald trump age”). If people were just looking for the date of the upcoming Oscar 2019 ceremony, they might not click any of the results on the SERP.
That’s why you should always check other metrics like the clicks number or the traffic estimations to get the whole picture of the keyword. Dig deeper beyond the search volume and explore the SERP, context and the characteristics of a keyword to find rare gems. Only this way you get valuable and highly-targeted traffic.
Use proper tools
Many years Google Keywords Planner was the primary keyword research tool for all SEOs. But there is one problem with it: it was created for AdWord campaigns and thus may give you wrong estimations about keyword metrics.
You must already notice that GKP altered the way you see keyword search volumes: now it shows them as a range, like “10K – 100K.”
These ranges are vast and actually won’t help you with choosing the best keyword for your page. Short example: if we take two keywords with the same range of search volume in GKP and check them in the advanced keyword research tool, we may see that the numbers are entirely different.
That’s why you shouldn’t solely rely on Google Keyword Planner data. Use additional tools that may help you to see the picture in detail.
Research your competitors
Your competitors are not your enemies. At least, they may be of help when it comes to keyword research. Since you’re sharing the same niche, you may use some of the keywords your competitors use.
Start with putting your seed keyword into Google and looking at what sites rank for those keywords. Those are your competitors. Check them in advanced tools like Ahrefs or Moz to get the list of their keywords.
You don’t need to focus on all the keywords your competitors are targeting, only those that bring them traffic, backlinks and help rank higher in SERPs. Studies show that one page can rank for thousands of keywords, so it’s good to create the content around the topic rather than the exact keyword. And use specific long-tail keywords if your optimizing product pages.
Revise your existing keywords
Websites that have already been around for some time already rank for a bunch of keywords. And those keywords can be a perfect way to start the keyword research or dig a bit deeper into the topic.
A “Search Analytics” report in Google Search Console is a primary source of information about the keywords your website already ranks for. You may take a look at the keywords that already help you rank in Top10 of SERP.
Dig a bit deeper and check the keywords that your pages rank for on positions from 11 to 20. It’s that second page of the Google SERP which people often mock as “the best place to hide a dead body.” Those pages should be your primary focus for improvement and additional keyword research.
Of course, those tricks are just the tip of the iceberg called “keyword research.” Here I tried to give you unhackneyed ideas that you may not see in other all-in-one guides on the topic.
Do you have your own hacks and ideas on how to perform keyword research? Don’t hesitate to share them in comments.