While Google constantly keeps us on our toes with their algorithm updates, one thing has stayed consistent for bloggers and internet marketers: looking to optimize their websites for search i.e. keyword research.
The need to do keyword research still remains.
So what is keyword research?
Keyword research is when people use keywords to find and research actual search terms that people enter into search engines like Google. The knowledge of these actual search terms can help inform the strategy of how to grow your traffic and online business.
In this post, I’m going to walk you through the keyword research process to help you come up with a list of terms you should be targeting.
I want to show you that keyword research isn’t hard and can actually be fun. With this process, you will also be able to generate tons of keyword research ideas that will allow you to grow your business.
Almost all traffic starts with a keyword whether you are article marketing, going the SEO route, or using Pay Per Click networks.
That is why understanding how to conduct keyword research and how to recognize keywords that are worth your focus is absolutely essential.
How to Research Keywords for Your SEO Strategy
Step 1: Make a list of important topics relevant to your business.
To start this process, think about the topics you want to rank for in terms of generic topics buckets.
Get out a piece of paper and try to come up with about 5-10 topic buckets. We will use these topic buckets to help direct our keyword research later in the process.
If you’re a blogger, what are the main topics you blog about most frequently? Perhaps you already have categories listed in your blog.
For example for a weight loss blog you might have topics like, “Exercises to lose weight,” “Healthy Eating”, “Weight Loss Supplements”, “Weight Loss tools” for example.
Step 2: Fill in those topic buckets using the Alphabet Soup Method
Now that you have a few topic buckets to focus on, it’s time to identify keywords to place into those buckets. These are keyword phrases you think are important to rank for in the SERPs (search engine results pages) because your potential audience is probably conducting searches for those specific terms.
There are a few different methods, but these are the two that I use.
But if you are a newbie you might want to start with this simpler method – just ask Google.
Do you know how Google finishes your sentences for you?
Google uses data coming from real web searches to try to guess what you are trying to search for.
This can give you some valuable insight into what people are searching for (and for FREE which is a bonus).
The Alphabet Soup Method Explained
Let’s say we are looking for keywords for our first topic bucket, “Exercises”.
So I start with the phrase “what kind of exercise is”, then work through the alphabet.
Starting with “A”, here are the ideas that Google has suggested:
Moving through to “B”, here are the ideas that Google has suggested:
Then moving to “C”, here are the ideas that Google has suggested:
I can then try more variations to my Google search to see what else turns up. Like “exercises for”… and then move through the alphabet for example.
Are you getting the hang of this?
The ideas you can come up with from Google are endless.
Most keyword tools have the capabilities to store keyword lists within them but since we are using Google, just keep your keywords in a Google doc or Word doc. Just make sure they are somewhere safe and readily available so all your hard work doesn’t go to waste.
Here is a video of a walkthrough the Alphabet Soup Technique:
Step 3: Use a keyword research tool to identify high traffic, low competition keywords
When you are ready to get a bit more advanced, you can use a keyword tool to get the more detailed search data for your keyword list.
While using the Alphabet Soup Technique will give you some valuable insight into what people are searching for, it won’t give you specific metrics such as:
1. Monthly Searches – This is the traffic number you want to focus on. If you are going for natural rankings, then ANY traffic is a good amount of traffic. The more keywords you rank for, the more your traffic will grow.
2. QSR (Quoted Search Results) – This is the ULTIMATE competition metric and ONLY the Jaaxy keyword tool provides this key metric. This metric tells you the exact number of competing pages on Google, Yahoo and Bing there are under that EXACT search term. The higher the QSR, the more competition. If you are just starting out, aim for under 100. If you have a more established site, then you can aim for a QSR under 300 to get a good change of getting ranked. There are millions of these keywords out there and this metric makes it plain which keywords to focus on.
3. SEO Power – This determines whether or not a keyword is a good candidate for getting SEO rankings. If you can get rankings, you get more traffic, more click and can earn money online! This metric takes into account the traffic, the nature of the keyword, competition, and the keyword quality. The higher the SEO power the easiest it is to rank for this keyword.
These are the three most important metrics that will allow you to sift out the “winners’ from your keyword list to target.
Carrying on from the example above, “exercises for abs” and “exercises for archillies tendonitis” were the first two suggestion provided by Google.
That means these are both relevant search terms that people are typing into Google.
But if you wanted to know which search term to focus on.
How would you choose between the two?
Well, let’s use a Keyword research tool to get the insider knowledge on these two search terms.
Here are the Jaaxy keyword research tool results:
So the first term “exercises for abs” definitely has much more monthly searches, 2,841 to be exact compared with less than 10 for “exercises for Achilles tendonitis”.
The competition is also under 100, which means it’s easy to rank for. 90 for SEO power is pretty good.
So I would choose to focus on the first search term given there is high traffic and low competition for this keyword. You have uncovered a winner!
Plus the keyword tool will give you lots of suggestions of related keywords. The list below all look like high traffic and low competition keywords that you can target.
Are you starting to see how keyword research can be fun and even addictive?
It’s like uncovering pearls in the midst of the large sea of keywords. When you’ve found one, you just want to find another!
Try the keyword research tool for yourself.
Go ahead and type in a search term >>>
Step 4: Spy and see what how your competitors are ranking for these keywords.
If you have a competitor that always seems to be hot on your heels, then you might want to have a ‘spy’ at how they are ranking for a certain keyword.
The Jaaxy keyword research tool allows you to do just that.
Simply type in the keyword and the url of your competitor. I have used a health blog as an example here.
This will tell you what position your competitor is ranking for on Google, Bing and Yahoo.
It is best if your competitor is not yet ranking for the keyword so you can beat them to it. But if they are ranking high, no worries. Have a read of their article and take note of:
- The length,
- The videos
- The level of engagement (e.g. comments)
This will give you an idea how to write an article that is better and than theirs! So you can overtake them in rankings!
And … You’re done!
Congratulations! You now understand the process of how to do keyword research and can really nail it.
This means you will have accomplished one of the most critical steps to creating a successful online marketing campaign.
Almost every transaction online typically starts with a search, and being able to target search terms allows you to attract traffic, and lots of it.
There are millions and millions of keywords out there and the process provided in this post will help you generate thousands of thousands of keyword ideas.
All you have to do is take these keywords, and apply them to your marketing campaigns using the keyword success formula:
Relevant Keyword => Relevant Content = SUCCESS ($$$$)
Alright, now get out there and get keyword researching!
If you have any questions or your own tips and tricks to keyword research please share them in the comments below!