Within this post, I will be demonstrating the correct way to do proper keyword research, methodically and efficiently. It will include a step-by-step guide and
It will include a step-by-step guide and checklist so that you will be confident in your ability to perform effective keyword research in any niche that you desire.
Firstly, what exactly is a keyword?
Techopedia.com definition – A keyword, in the context of search engine optimization, is a particular word or phrase that describes the contents of a Web page.
So what is keyword Research
Keyword research is a process used to outline suitable keywords for a website. Effective Keyword Research is initially best done with a pen & paper, then tools are used to narrow these results down to no more than 20.
Why is Keyword Research so Important?
Google’s ranking algorithm works on the basis of accessing a website’s on-page content to categorise it. Therefore, when a search is made by a user within Google, it shows a list of the most relevant results, based on the inputted keywords.
This highlights an opportunity for business’ who correctly mirror their website’s content with the search intent of a searcher.
Keyword research is therefore especially important in helping gain targeted organic traffic for a business’ website.
However, it is not that simple.
Google has access to Billions of search engine results, it displays a total of 10 organic search results on page 1.
Since 88% of consumers only visit page 1 when searching for a term in Google. It means that a proper assessment needs to be done, of the current ‘top 10’ featured website results, for the desired keyword you wish to rank for.
Therefore there are several factors that you need to look out for when deciding if a Keyword has potential, as explained in the 3 Factors guide below.
But first, we need to think up some potential keywords to evaluate.
Carrying out Proper, effective Keyword Research
You need to firstly open Microsoft excel, if you don’t have Microsoft excel (because it does cost money) then download the free (Apache) version [OpenOffice]. It has all the same features.
We want to take have as many different keyword ideas as we can. These keywords should be based on
Primary Keywords – Brand Name
Transactional (High Buyer Intent Keywords) – I.E Get holiday insurance quotes, Purchase new lawnmower
Informational Keywords – Best service to help with SEO, Review of the best bicycle.
Receive my list of High Buyer Intent Keywords Here
Once we have quite a few keywords, we need more keywords!
Go to Ubersuggest to enter each keyword from your current list.
This fantastic tool will give you plenty more keyword ideas which you can instantly export. Here I’ll show you!
Wait, we’re not done yet!
Next, we will be using a similar tool called KeywordTool.io
This tool can give some really excellent keyword phrase ideas and new angles to think about. After-all we’re not only looking for new keywords, but new innovative, unique ways to attract the low-hanging (juicy) fruit that your competition hasn’t seen. Don’t underestimate long-tail keywords.
This tool can be paid for, but it’s also available for free use, minus a few features. Again, this tool allows you to instantly export, via copying or a CSV file.
The final tool we’re going to use is honestly a FANTASTIC KEYWORD TOOL!
It’s called KeywordRevealer
This tool is available for limited use with a free account (3 keyword searches per day), so use it wisely! However, this gives you so much useful and accurate data.
Monthly Search Volume (AMS)
Cost Per Click (CPC)
Profit (Potential Earnings from Ad Clicks)
Keyword Difficulty Analysis (based on multiple factors, shown below)
As you can see, Keyword Revealer not only outlines if the keyword is achievable, via the Keyword Difficulty score (18% in this case – being classified as Extremely Low), but it also displays the keyword request frequency, which is the amount of time it has been searched for specifically.
This tool also indicates how powerful each web domain that is ranking in positions 1-1o for the specific keyword. This is shows via Moz’s Domain Authority, which we will discuss a little later when making the final evaluations to which keywords to go after.
Keyword Revealer shows that none of the Top 10 ranking domains being displayed for this keyword have the exact keyword within a H1 tag. Nor do the majority of the websites target the keyword in their URL, Title and Description. This gives you great insight into why the Keyword Difficulty score for this keyword is so low.
Keyword Revealer is not an expensive tool to purchase, so I advise that if you are very serious about doing effective keyword research, on a mass scale, it would be a very wise decision (I assure you I am not affiliated with this software in any way… I just recognise a diamond in the rough and wanted to share it with my readers).
Now I would suggest, if you have purchased this software, to input all of your keywords into the bulk keyword research text box. This way you can have them all analysed for the factors explained above. We’re now trying to narrow down your list of keywords into the top 10%… (around 20-30) We want to get the very best so that you can make a profitable SEO campaign.
That must be it right?
There are some limitations to any Keyword Difficulty tool. See in the black-hat SEO world, PBNs exist. These are expired websites which still have powerful backlinks linking to the domain, despite the website not being there anymore. Black-hat SEOers caught onto this and started purchasing these expired domains to create small websites with the soul purpose, to provide link juice to their ‘money websites’… Now how does that relate to this!
Well, PBN Owners got really smart and started blocking certain crawlers to their PBN websites, to prevent other people finding them and looking at the backlinks to both their PBNs and their Money websites. This technically means that despite the Keyword Difficulty tools being accurate in most cases, there are some times that they cannot (litterally) scan a website to access its’ backlink profile, therefore its ranking ability. I.E the 18% may actually be 25%.
But do not worry. Google HATES PBN networks and hence has systems in place to detect websites using them. So tools like KeywordRevealer are still extremely useful!
Now, we need to finally evaluate each keyword, manually, for the reason I just explained regarding PBNs. Also, we don’t want to entirely rely on this tool! But take the keywords that it has suggested look the most favourable and investigate further!
This leads to the next section. Using these 3 Factors, we will have our finally Keyword List!
Factor 1 – Keywords in Meta Title, Description & URL
Lets start from the top, when you search for the specific keyword (in this case its ‘how to fly fish for salmon in rivers’, this is classed as a Long-tail keyword), do any of the Top 10 websites on page 1 have the keyword within their Meta Title, Meta Description and URL/Domain. If so, this is a sign that the keyword will be more challenging to rank for, because your ‘competition’ have already optimised their Meta tags.
Now, Google understands Semantics very well and you can see from comparing result 1 & result 3, a website which doesn’t include the exact keywords can rank above a website that does. This can be due to many other factors, which we will discuss here!
It’s these long-tail keywords that provide ‘low-hanging’ opportunities for entrepreneurs who are starting out.
Factor 2 – Check the metrics of the websites ranking in the top 10
Now if you’re completely new to Search Engine Optimisation, you may want to take a look at this article…. However, you should note down each website page’s metrics. Make sure that you measure the metrics of the single page that shows up in the Google Search results.
Open Excel and take note of each page’s Trust Flow & Citation Flow. There should be a healthy ratio of 2/3.
A low Trust flow suggests spammy backlinks and therefore weak backlinks.
These metrics can be found through using Majestic SEO its FREE to sign up, although you only get a limited number of tries per day
(but use your other mobile devices to extend this, just make sure you use a different website connection as Majestic detects your IP address, I.E Mobile Internet).
Majestic is great for taking a look at the backlinks the website has. If the website has some really well trusted backlinks, try to see if you can get a backlink from the same source.
You now want to look at the website’s Domain Authority and Page Authority.
These are metrics designed by Moz’s Open Site Explorer, available for use when signing up (For Free)
A high Domain Authority suggests that the website is a powerhouse (Twitter DA = 98) and generally whatever content it puts out ranks highly. However, you dont generally see these large websites taking position 1
However, you can outrank a website with a high Domain Authority, by having a high Page Authority. Page Authority is a metric concerned with Moz’s indication to how likely a page will rank.
If you find that the top 10 websites in Google all have high DA & PA (Above 30) then this is a sure sign that the keyword is competitive to rank for.
By now you should have some indication if the keyword is potential ranking material.
We want to work smartly here! Discard the keywords that do not go favourably against the first 2 factors.
Factor 3 – SEO analysis of the websites
You’ve now found some keywords! Well, next we want to do a manual SEO analysis of the websites ranking in positions 1-10. This way we can find out their weaknesses and make sure that our website doesnt fall down.
For a full methodical SEO Analysis look here.
For a quick, automated SEO analysis (recommended to be done anyway) take a look at SEOSiteCheckup
This will highlight any internal problems that your competitor’s website is having. such as
- Website Loading Speeds
- Broken Internal Links
- Mobile Responsiveness
These problems will negatively affect their SEO efforts and make them vulnerable to you.
Finally, once this has been done, you will have a much better indication to the likelihood of your website ranking for the desired keywords.