How To Do Keyword Research For SEO
You’ve probably heard that keywords can make or break your website. Well, it’s true!
Simply, keywords and SEO are two sides of the same coin. You won’t be exaggerating if say that without keywords there would be no SEO. In fact, even with all the algorithm updates that Google keeps churning out, the need for keyword research has stayed relevant.
So, with the right keywords and a good strategy to find them you’ll watch your site jump to the first pages of search results, real quick. Consequently, your site will get more traffic. More traffic means more leads and more sales.
So, should you get a keyword tool right away? Nope. Not so fast. You see, most people rely on keyword tools to research for keywords and end up with the same keywords as their competitors. Don’t make the same mistake others.
Now, let’s dive in.
First, you’ll need to find Niche Topics. These are topics that are closely related to your business. Topics that your customers care about and are likely to type them into the search bar. For example, if you’re running a sneaker business, someone interested in sneakers may search for:
- Where to buy comfy shoes
- Which shoes are the best for the summer
- How to remove bad odor from shoes
- How to dress like the cool guy
- What shoes to buy for my son’s birthday
See? Each of these searches is different in their own way but closely related to your business.
How will you come up with niche topics? Here’s how:
Brainstorming Niche Topics
You can start by coming up with relevant topics based on what you know about your business. If you’ve been around long enough, these are probably the topics you write about frequently. Or, what your potential customers are most likely to search for.
This way you’ll be able to come up with 5-10 Niche Topics off head. You may need Google or Word docs to put them down so that you can track them easily in future.
You can also try putting yourself in the shoes of your customer. And, try thinking the way your target customer thinks: what are their desires or pain points? For this you’ll need what is called a buyer persona. A buyer persona helps you get into the head of your customer and come up with topics you might have otherwise missed. Include the following while creating a buyer persona:
- Average Income
- What they struggle with
Buyer personas may vary from one industry to another. So, it’s recommend creating a buyer persona that fits your particular industry. You can also map out niche topics your customers are interested in by checking where they hang out.
Can I be totally honest with you? By looking where your customers hang out you’ll be literally stalking them ( but in a good way). You’ll get to interact with them and know the way they speak (their language). Plus, now you’ll have an easier time conversing with them while you write.
Now you’re wondering: where are your customers likely to hang out? Check out this two places –online forums and Reddit.
- Online Forums
Online forums are a rich goldmine that can help you generate a rich insight into your customer. They’re many forums online covering different topics so finding the relevant ones will be a bit difficult. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack.
That’s where Google comes in. With the help of Google search operators you can come up with the command strings like this ( just play around with them until you get satisfactory results):
- “keyword” + “forum”
- “keyword” + “forums”
- “keyword” + “board”
- “keyword” + “discussions” ( this will bring forth results from forums and Q&A sites)
Don’t forget to replace “keyword” with your target keyword. Taking the sneaker business we mentioned earlier as example, your customers will most likely be basketball fans. So, you’ll type the following into the following:
- ” NBA” + “forum”
- “Basketball” + “forum”
- “NBA” + “boards”
See, it’s that simple.
What are the chances that your target customer hangs on Reddit? It’s more than you can guess.
Reddit may look complicated at first sight but don’t let that scare you. It is made up of sub-reddits –small communities that identify themselves with a particular topic. In those sub-reddits people(subscribers) may submit, comment, vote up or vote down post and links relevant to that particular sub-reddit.
Head over to Reddit and type your target keyword on the search bar. Next, choose a sub-reddit your target customer is likely to hang out on. Then, narrow down to smaller and more specific sub-reddits by following the “related sub-reddit” links. Just remember to look out for with lots of comments.
Now that you’re satisfied with your Niche Topics you can go ahead to identify the keywords you need.
According to Brian Dean of Backlinko, Keywords are grouped into three categories:
- Head keywords
- Body keywords
- Tail keywords (Long tail keywords)
Mostly, these are single word keywords. They generate lots of search volume and have the highest competition. For instance, a customer searching for ‘Hotels’ maybe looking for: online bookings, definition of the word or travel companies. Since it isn’t clear what the user it looking for, head keywords don’t convert well.
These are usually 2-3 word phrases that are more specific than head keywords. They generate at least 2,000 searches per month (which is very decent). ” Tourist Hotels” can be a good example of a body keyword. Although, body keywords have less competition than head keywords, they’re still very competitive.
In the SEO world, tail keywords are commonly referred to as long tail keywords. They are 4+ word phrases and are usually more specific compared to other keywords. And, they get between 100- 1000 searches per month. The phrase “Online bookings for Tourist Hotels” can be a good example. As you can see it’s very specific and clearly reveals all user intent. Even though long tail keywords make up the majority of searches, they don’t get much traffic individually.
Unlike head and body keywords, long tail keywords are easier to rank for and have very low competition. But, you may need to churn out lots of articles tailored around a single long tail keyword if you seriously want to rank. Not to mention that by doing this, you may be putting yourself at risk of the Google Panda penalty.
So, you should probably put most of your energy and money to body keywords and naturally sprinkle a bit of long tail keywords here and there.
Now, that you which keywords to chose the next step is to find the best strategy for keyword research. Remember keyword research isn’t a onetime thing. You’ve to keeping doing it or lose touch with your audience and Google with punish for that.
How should you come up with so many keywords? Don’t worry they’re tools tailored to help you do just that.
Enter keyword suggest or keyword research tools. These tools will help you mine less competitive and untapped keywords. Some tools are paid for and others are free.
Let’s start with the free tools.
8 Free keyword Tools You Should Look Out For
As the title says they’re completely free. All you need is to key in your target keywords and let the tools do the magic for you. You may be required to do a little bit of work as we’ll see below.
Google Keyword Planner
Formerly known as Google keyword Tool, this is probably the best free tool out there. Where else is better to look at than from the source – the gods of search – Google?
It will help you acquire data-backed information directly from Google which is most likely the search engine you’re trying to rank for. Armed with this information, you’ll be able to make informed decisions that will directly result in the success of your SEO efforts.
Since it’s designed with Google Ad words advertisers’ in mind, you’ll need to have a Google Ad words account to access this tool. With that in mind, all you need is to head over to Google Ad words and set up an account. It will just take a few minutes.
After you set up an account , log in and find the keyword planner. It’s usually in the wrench icon. Next, you head over the search bar to find new keywords. Type you keyword and the tools will start spitting out keyword ideas for you.
Isn’t that interesting?
Plus, you can also place link in the search bar and spy on what keywords you’re competitors are targeting. The tools will also provide the following along with the keyword ideas:
- Average monthly searches
- Ad impression share ( for Ad words)
- Top of page bid ( for Ad words)
As you can see you can never go wrong with this tool. But, even with all the praise that comes with it, Google keyword planner has one major undoing (on your part). It will give you the same exact keyword it gives your competitors and everyone else.
Some people refer to Soolve as the most generous tool out there. Unlike, Google keyword planner that supports few sources, Soolve will get you results from various sources including YouTube, Google Suggest, Amazon, Wikipedia, Bing, Yahoo and Answers.com. As a result you’ll have an overview of user’s intent from all different platforms. It will give you untapped results that competition overlooks.
Sounds cool, right?
Well, It is. Head over to Soolve.com and type in a keyword that’s not very specific. Soolve will then automatically generate results from all the websites above. After you’re contented with the results you can download in a CSV file by clicking on the download icon.
Get Question-Based Keywords From Answer The Public
Like the tools says it all about questions but instead of answering them it will generate the questions for you. It will generate questions based on what people tend to ask about your keyword or topic. It’s us unique in that it will map out questions in a tree-like manner –your keyword is the tree and the questions are on the branches.
Just go to answer the public, type you keyword and click ‘Get Questions”. You will get questions starting with phrases including: will, can, who, where, why, what, when, how, are and which. For instance, you’re running a sneaker business; Answer The Public will give questions like:
- Are sneakers business casual?
- Will sneakers shrink in the dryer?
- Which sneakers to buy in 2018?
- Where sell sneakers?
- Sneakers how to lace?
- Which sneakers are vegan?
By looking at the results above, you can see that the questions may not be grammatically correct. And some may not sense like ‘Which sneakers are vegan?’.So, you must prepare to spend some time choosing those that best suits you.
Once again Google comes bearing gifts. We owe so much to them. Now, over to the tool.
Guess what? it’s not a tool that shows you keywords that are closely related. Just see below.
Google correlate is a little-known and often underrated tool that will help you find keywords that are searched together. It can be pretty useful when building a large keyword list. Or when you are in a keyword rut.
It is similar to Soolve in that it gets information from Google Suggest. However, ubersuggest goes a little further and provides more keyword suggestions.
It takes letters A to Z in the alphabet and places it after your keywords and then generates lots of keyword suggestions. Not all will make sense but several will. Stick to those that suit your SEO needs.
This is another perfect tool for generating long tail keywords.
It’s quite similar to UberSuggest in that they both draw information from Google suggest like Soolve. But, unlike UberSuggest and Soolve, KeywordTool.io adds a particular character in the alphabet A to Z before and after the keyword you’ve keyed in.
For example, if your keyword is ‘men running shoes’, UberSuggest show ‘men running shoes a’, ‘men running shoe b’ while KeywordTool.io will show ‘ a men running shoes’, ‘b men running shoes’ etc. Bottom line is you’ll get more suggesting from KeywordTool.io than Ubersuggest.
Ad words and SEO Permutation Generator
Are you having a keyword rut? In need of more keyword ideas? Here is a tool for you.
This tool will help you to search for keywords that are in alignment with your site, marketing strategy and SEO goals. It will allow you to get creative. Just enter keywords in each of the three boxes click ‘generate permutations’ and watch the tool at work.
Though some of the results you’ll get don’t make sense, this tool will show you that some keyword ideas that you may have missed or overlooked.
Word Tracker Scout
Another tool to fill the list? No.
Actually, this is one of the tools you should watch out for. Have you been wondering how your competitors are outranking you? Word tracker scout will help you stalk your competitors and discover the words the words that they’re ranking for.
And there’s more…
You don’t have to visit your competitor’s website and mine keyword word data. Word tracker scout comes as a chrome extension. Once you’ve installed it, you just need to go to your competitor’s website, hover over the content and then press the ‘W’ button.
It will display all the keywords your competitors are ranking for and also gives you access to high performance metrics. With, all these now you’ll be way ahead of our competitors.
To be honest, they are very many free keyword research tools out there that didn’t make it to this list. That’s doesn’t mean that they aren’t important at all. In fact, don’t forget to checkout other awesome tool like Google webmaster tools, Keyword In, Bing Webmaster Tools (Bing’s answer to Google’s keyword planner, Keyword Spy and SpyFu.
You’ve probably heard that the good things don’t come free. Well, it’s true. Here are some paid keyword tools:
SEM rush is considered by Internet marketers and Entrepreneurs as the top keyword research tool. It’s safe to say that Semrush is worth every penny. And, considering it reputation, you should give it a try.
It has rich features that will help you generate long tail keywords that match your industry and company. The following will come along once you key in a keyword into the search bar:
- CPC distribution
- Paid search
- Organic search
But, the part you should most attention to is the related keyword section. This tools will also reveal the keywords your competitors are ranking and head start you against your competition.
Long Tail Pro
As we mentioned, long tail keywords are less competitive and vital to all SEO efforts. By just looking at the name you can guess what this tool does. You can use it to find long tail keywords that will impact your rankings positively.
The great thing about long tail pro is that it allows you to add notes to your keyword searches. This way you can note down ideas and easily track them in the future. Considering its large user base, Long tailor has proven to be one of the best tools to discover untapped long tail keywords.
There also other paid keyword tools like Mozpro, Market Samurai, Ahrefs and SpyFu.
As you can see doing keyword research is very basic but very important if you seriously want to rank and out do your competitors. Although it’s very basic you can’t ignore the important role it plays to help know understand what your target audience wants.
And, with the help of these keyword tools you will find the right keywords thereby directly influencing your SEO success. Finally, you should to try out all these tools and chose the one that best works for you(even the paid ones).