You should know by now that keywords are the foundation of every successful SEO strategy. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to find the best ones to help your site rank higher on Google and generate more traffic as a result.
In this post, you will learn the process of keyword research so you can determine what keywords to optimize for on your site.
The process involves finding as many keywords as necessary then organizing the results to filter out the best ones you can use for your site.
Brainstorm for Keyword Ideas and Suggestions
At this point, you should have a clear idea of what the topic of your site is. We will use it to help extract as many keywords as possible to help you create content for each.
Below are the ways you could do to help you unearth hundreds and thousands of keywords related to your topic.
Since you want to rank for Google, might as well use the search engine to help you find your search terms, right?
Using its autocomplete feature, type out your topic on the search bar to find related search queries.
If you click on any of the suggestions below the search bar, you can narrow your search bar to find search terms related to it.
This tactic is useful for organizing keywords into categories. From the screenshots above, a possible category for weight loss is “weight loss exercises.”
Under this category, you can create content for its suggested keywords on Google.
You can create categories for the other suggestions for your topic. Rinse and repeat!
Depending on the keyword you entered, you may also see the People Also Asking snippet on the search results page.
If you click on any of the questions for the answer, it comes up with new questions related to the question you clicked on.
Since Google is the one that presented these keywords and questions to you, it means that these are the most related search phrases for your topic.
At this point, however, we’re still in the process of gathering keywords that we will filter and analyze later. Therefore, it’s best to just collect as many long-tail keywords that you can come up with using this method.
Use Free Keyword Research Tools
To find the best keywords without a tool can be a time-suck. With tools, you can enter your seed keyword and expect long-tail keywords rolling in.
You can just export and save them for later use once you’re ready to analyze them in batches.
There are lots of really good keyword research tools to choose from. But for beginners, you’re better off using free tools for the time being to help you get the hang of this process.
Below are the highly recommended free tools you can use:
Answer the Public
Question keywords are some of the easiest to target and optimize for your site. People search for them to find the answer – all you must do is give it to them in your content!
We’ve already tackled how you can find questions using Google. To help you expand your search, Answer the Public comes to the rescue.
Type in your seed keyword or topic and the tool will spit out questions organized into types to help you find the best keywords you can answer in your site.
The questions are presented in text or images that you can download. Either way, you shouldn’t have any problems parsing through the questions.
This aptly named keyword research tool produces non-stop keyword ideas for your seed keyword.
Just type it on the text bar and click on “Sheet Keywords.”
It will pump and dump search terms based on your topic and it won’t stop until you click “Stop Sheeting.”
This is a good tool to run in the background while you manually find keywords using the tactics above.
Once you feel you’ve extracted more than enough keywords, you can stop the process and export the data.
This classic keyword tool from Google is still one of the best in the market. The fact that it came from Google means that you’re getting data straight from the search engine itself.
To access this feature, you must have a Google Ads account.
Once you have accessed the tool, click on “Discover new keywords,” go to the “Start with Keywords” tab, and enter your topic there.
The tool then shows you keyword suggestions and ideas you can export for later use.
It also gives you data regarding a keyword’s search volume. However, it only shows the range of monthly searches, i.e. 10-100, 100-1,000 searches, et. al.
Later on, we’ll talk about how to find the respective search volumes of each keyword to help you filter the best from the rest.
Also, there’s another way to use the Keyword Planner tool, which we will discuss below.
Check What Keywords Your Competition is Ranking for
The keyword research tactics presented above are traditional methods used to find relevant keywords to your topic.
Aside from traditional keyword research, there’s also competitor keyword research. Here, we will search for keywords that websites similar to yours are ranking for.
Through this method, instead of just gathering search terms relevant to your seed keyword, you identify proven keywords that competitors are using in their SEO campaign.
To do this, head on to Google Keyword Planner, click on the “Start with a Website” tab and enter the URL of one of your top competitors on the text bar.
After clicking on “Get Results,” you will see a list of keywords that your competitor is most likely ranking for.
You can download the long-tail keywords to parse and analyze later. Then repeat the process for your other competitors.
Filter Your Keywords into Different Factors
At this point, you should have thousands of keywords for your topic. However, the fun’s just about to start as we’re going to break down the search terms according to different variables.
This way, we can find the best keywords to use to give your site a chance to rank on top of Google.
Below are the factors you need to consider for each keyword and how to determine them:
Monthly Search Volume
This refers to the number of searches from users a search query got in a month.
You want to optimize for keywords your target audience searches on Google. Once you start ranking on the first page of Google for that keyword, more people will be able to check your site out.
To find out the search volume of a keyword, you must install the Keyword Surfer Chrome extension.
This helps you check how many searches a keyword gets in a month and the other factors we’ll be discussing below.
Once installed, head on to Google and type in the keyword you want to analyze.
On the search results, you should see the number of searches it receives every month.
By default, the tool shows the US search volume of the keyword. Click on the flag to change it to your desired country.
The keyword difficulty (KD) index provides you a score that informs you of the degree of difficulty in ranking for a keyword.
The higher the score, the more difficult it is to rank for it due to authoritative sites ranking for it on the first page. A low keyword difficulty means a much easier keyword to target due to lack of competition.
At best, KD is used to help guide you to find keywords you can optimize. From here, you must manually analyze the keyword by checking on the top results and their other factors.
In this case, instead of talking about how to find the KD score, let’s jump straight to discuss how to analyze keyword competitiveness manually.
Here, we will also use Keyword Surfer to extract relevant information to determine the ease or difficulty of ranking for the keyword.
On the right side of search engine results pages (SERPs), you will see the correlation chart that shows a graph for the website traffic, the number of words in the content, and the number of times the keyword is mentioned in the content.
You can also see the data of these metrics under each ranking page.
Using the correlation chart, determine first who many authoritative sites are ranking on the first 10-20 results of Google for your keyword.
If the traffic of the top-ranking pages is off the charts, it’s best to move on to the next keyword in your list.
You can only pursue the keyword if you share the same monthly traffic the top sites are receiving.
Next, check the number of times the keyword is mentioned in the content. If most of the top results don’t have the keyword on their page more than once, then that’s another sign you should optimize for the keyword.
Finally, before writing the content, check the number of words each ranking page has. You want to create content that compares to the pages dominating Google, and that means sharing the average word count of these pages.
This is a very rough process of manually identifying KD. Nonetheless, it should produce more tangible results since you’ll see the data with your own eyes.
Finally, you need to know why people are searching for the keyword.
By identifying the search intent of each keyword, you have an idea of how to approach writing its content.
This is crucial because you want to optimize keywords with clear intent so you know what type of content to create for your target audience.
For example, “weight loss” as a keyword has an unclear intent as it’s too vague and general. Now, compare that to keywords like “simple meal plan to lose weight” or “weight loss exercise plan at home in 1 week,” and you have much more specific keywords you can optimize for your topic.
At the same time, you can also distribute the keywords you’ll choose that have different intent to diversify your content.
There are three search intents you need to consider:
People search for this keyword because they want to learn more about the topic.
Unlike the other two intents, this type is vital to help bring awareness to your brand and bring your audience into your buying cycle.
Examples of informational keywords include:
- Intermittent fasting
- How to lose weight fast without exercise
- Weight loss tips
Some users search for keywords that will help them make an informed decision. These keywords with commercial intent are the precursor to a transaction or a purchase, assuming that they liked what they saw in their search.
Examples of this type of keyword are as follows:
- Best jump rope for weight loss
- XYLsports Jump Rope review
- meal prep delivery near me
If people decide to purchase something online, they use keywords with transactional intent. Their goal is to find the product or service they’re looking for online and buy it, no questions asked.
Below are examples of transactional keywords:
- Buy weight loss program
- Weight watchers coupon
- weight loss equipment online shopping
Finding SEO Keywords is Only Part of the Battle!
There’s no denying the role that keyword research plays in your search engine optimization strategy. Optimizing for the wrong keyword could spell down for your entire SEO campaign.
Even then, the battle hasn’t even started yet!
You’ll need a plan to help you navigate through the combat zone known as SEO, and my FREE e-book “SEO For Beginners – Learn How To Get Onto The First Page Of Google” which will help plot your way to victory!
Below are things discussed in my e-book aside from keyword research:
- Getting your site pages indexed and crawled properly by Google
- Creating great blog posts that search engines love
- Building links that will serve as the foundation for your link profile
- And more!
To get your copy of my FREE SEO e-book, click here.