How To Do Keyword Research “The Smart Way”

Work Smarter, not harder

Researching keywords for your website’s content is one of the simple and sometimes daunting part. But, I feel keyword research should be fun. It gives you so much of ideas to start creating your content on that you can get a lot of insights about the market that you are. It can give you a lot of perspective, understanding and a new outlook about what your audience is actually searching for.

Most of the times when people start doing Keyword Research for their niche industry I find them making a lot of mistakes.

Some of them are:

1. They choose wrong set of keywords because they are too broad
2. Focused on keywords which are too much competitive
3. Keywords which look great but without much traffic
4. Keywords that actually don’t convert
5. Focusing on one keyword at a time.

Out of all the above mistakes, the single & huge mistake people make is planning to rank their website for a single keyword at a time. I think its really the hard way of looking at it. I recommend that its much easier and at the same time much more profitable for you to rank 100s or even 1000s of long-tail keywords with one single piece of content.

Hence, I suggest that instead of targeting a single keyword. You should build your content strategy based around what I call a “Keyword Theme”

In short, Easy Way is have multiple keywords based theme content(100s), be specific, medium volume, low-medium competition VS Hard Way i.e. Single Keyword each time, broad niche, high volume of traffic but at the same time VERY high competition.

But, How Do You Cook Your Keyword Theme?

Well, using Keyword themes will solve a lot of problems you are currently facing. Because instead of simply ranking for that Holy Grail “OMG” keyword, a better & realistic goal will be to rank for multiple keywords which are focused around a central single idea. If you leverage this right, the results you will have will be amazing.

Now, I do assume that you know ample about the business you are in, you understand what your visitors want, and what kind of visitors actually visit your type of websites. Its a must to research this before you try to aim for your goal whether its generating traffic, conversions or both at the same time. But, one thing is for sure: Be very specific when defining your keyword theme, the easier it will get for you to rank online.

Those who are into SEO for long time would probably come and say to me, “I already know that”. Yeah…I know its basic stuff, but its worth repeating. Let’s say you are in Cricket niche, I am sure you will agree that its hard to rank for “World Cup”, but at the same time its easier to rank for “World Cup 2014”, and it will be much more easier for you to rank for “Best Batsman of World Cup 2014”, right?

Hence, don’t ever focus on specific types of words as yet – know your broad topic. And then follow the next steps to find out which are the right “Keyword Qualifiers” you have in your niche.

Getting Specific with Keyword Qualifiers

Please don’t get confused with the new terminologies I am throwing at you if you are new in SEO. If intermediate or advance I guess you already know this.

Anyhow, Qualifiers are basically set of words that add specificity in your set of keywords and it defines the intent of your content. Qualifiers can take different forms in diff type of content.

Say for example:

1. Time or Date: Here qualifiers are > 2014, November, 12.40PM, Evening, etc.
2. Price or Quality: Awesome, Most Popular, Best Selling, etc.
3. Intent: Sell, Shop, Find, Buy, etc.
4. Location: New York, New Jersey, Indoors, Outdoors, Online, Offline, etc.

The main & central point of using qualifiers within your content is to find as many such qualifiers working in your niche that will fit your audience.

Here’s where keyword research tools will come to your rescue.

My favourites are:

  • Wordstream
  • Keyword Spy
  • SpyFu (My Review Here)
  • Bing Keyword Tool ( http://www.bing.com/toolbox/keywords )
  • Ubersuggest ( http://ubersuggest.org/ )
  • Isionage.com

If you are looking for speed and real-world insights, UberSuggest is the best of all. You can simply run a query and it can export more then 100 keywords based on Google’s own Autocomplete feature – using actually Google searches, which really gives you the real idea about what kind of searches people are already doing in your niche.

Apart from all the rest. Its free.

Finding The Perfect Set of Keywords

If you are with me this far. You will have a few dozen atleast or if not a few hundred keywords which you can pull into your Google Adwords Keyword Tool (http://adwords.google.com/ko/KeywordPlanner/).

(Suggestion for Google’s Keyword Tool: Even though its possible to search over a hundred keyword phrases on this tool. But, you will get more variety when you will limit the searches to 5-10 keywords at a time. Though, this can become daunting but worth the extra output you get.)

Here, we are using “Exact” search types in filter & “Local Monthly” search volumes shown by Google. I am ideally looking for my 10-15 different closely related keywords having a good number of search volumes, but at the same time not too much competition.

Also, please don’t get mis-led by Google’s Competition tab. This tab will refer to the bids by competitors on paid search terms. Not the organic search results.

Get Strategic with Your Competition.

By now, you should have a basic set of keywords that you want to target. Now, comes the reality check. We need to see if we can actually rank for the phrases we have decided to rank on.

There are mainly two methods of grading your competition:

1. Using Automated Tools – for example Keyword Difficulty Tool
2. Browsing yourself – Eyeballing the search results

I use Moz.com’s Keyword Difficulty Tool (You can try their free trial) which calculates on a 100 point scale system. Its basically a difficulty score for each keyword based around the competition.

Here, for example if you have keywords that are in 60-70+ range are comparetively competitive, but keywords in the range of 30-40 can be considered as low or intermediate difficult to rank.

If you want to get a better idea about how it works, find out the most competitive keywords you currently rank for on no. 1 or 2 positions and run those keywords through this tool.

Though, this automated tools is great. The best way still is to size up the competition in your market and browse through the SERPs to get better idea. You can run search query (Non-personalized, plz!) for your set of keywords and ask the following questions to yourself while doing so:

* Do you find the starting results to be optimized for the keyword?
* Do they have keyword been used in title tags, in the url? On the page?
* What’s the authority of the page or the domain URL?
* Which all inbound anchor text are been used?
* Can you make a better & higher quality content for this target keyword? If yes, how? What can you include?

Frankly, you don’t always have to rank that number 1 spot for your chosen keywords to earn traffic. But, its sure will make you comfortable to rank of top 5.

Again, without using “Keyword Themes”, you will lose out a lot. If you DO use’em. Magic will happen for keywords you never even thought about.

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