As we already know, keyword research is the process of identifying and analyzing the specific words and phrases people use when searching for information online. There are several tools available online to help with keyword research, however, is that all you need for a successful keyword research? In this blog, I will share a sure-fire way to successfully target and rank your keywords at lightning fast speed!
Start by Shortlisting Seed Keywords
When conducting keyword research, it’s essential to start by shortlisting seed keywords. Seed keywords are the fundamental terms or phrases that are directly related to your topic or business. They serve as a foundation for expanding your keyword list.
By identifying and refining seed keywords, you can gain insights into the core themes and concepts that your target audience is interested in. This initial step lays the groundwork for a comprehensive and effective keyword research strategy.
Expand your Keyword Lists
After identifying seed keywords, the next step in the keyword research process involves expanding and refining your list. This can be achieved by utilizing techniques such as generating keyword variations, exploring long-tail keywords, analyzing competitor strategies, and utilizing keyword research tools. Here are a few examples –
- Exercise routines
- Weight loss tips
- Workout equipment
- Vacation destinations
- Hotel accommodations
- Travel itineraries
- Smartphone reviews
- Laptop specifications
- Tech news
Let’s called these branch keywords. As you can see – Fitness, Travel and Technology are my seed keywords and each seed keyword has 3 branch keywords as an example.
Note – These “branch keywords” can further branch out. You need to visualize this process as a literal tree while performing keyword research.
Use Keyword Research Tools, NOT Google Keyword Planner
The Google Keyword Planner is primarily used by PPC experts to shortlist keywords for running their ad campaigns. That tool is NOT meant for SEO keyword research.
There are several keyword research tools out there that you can find and use. Most of these work on a “freemium” model, which is basically limiting your usage on a free member account. Here is a tool called SERanking which offers a FREE 14 Day Trial for new users, you can use this for now and conduct keyword research.
How To Use SERanking
After signing up to SERanking, go to “Keyword Research” located at the top from your Dashboard.
Next, you can enter either 1 of the branch keywords or upload them in bulk. In my case, I’ll just be entering one keyword here which is – “Weight loss tips”. Please make sure you have selected the correct region and hit “ANALYZE”
After hitting analyze, you will see a wealth of information around the keyword such as –
- Keyword Difficulty in that region
- Average Monthly Search Volume
- Cost Per Click (CPC)
- Global Volume
- Search Intent (located below search volume)
The branch keyword has a difficulty of 68 out of 100 which means that ranking this keyword will be moderately difficult. Please take a look at the “Keyword Ideas” section in the image and you will see – Similar Keywords, Related Keywords and Questions tab.
The Similar and Related Keyword Tabs are suggesting other variations of the keywords which are related to “Weight loss tips” and the Questions Tab is giving us information on relevant questions asked online related to our branch keyword.
To keep this blog short, let’s just explore the similar keywords section and identify new (previously unknown) opportunities.
Note – Based on SERanking the colors that you see next to the difficulty are divided into 4 categories which tells you how difficult it is to rank for that particular keyword. These 4 categories are –
- Dark Green – Very Easy
- Green – Easy
- Orange – Moderate Difficulty
- Red – Super Difficult
Another way to decipher these categories are –
- Dark Green – Few to no backlinks required to rank
- Green – Few backlinks required to rank
- Orange – You’ll need more than just a few
- Red – You’re spending the next 2-3 years building links for this one.
Coming back to the topic at hand, the keyword I selected was “Weight loss tips” where the intent is informational. So I will now go ahead and filter the keywords with difficulty under 39 (40 onwards changes to orange) and filter out other intents such as – local, transactional, navigational and commercial since that isn’t what my audience is looking for.
You should select the intent based on your target audience because understanding your audience intent is really important that we will discuss later in this article.
Here we have limited the search intent to “Informational Only” and set the keyword difficulty as 0 – 39 which means I’m looking at very easy to rank and easy to rank keywords here. Since my aim is to not spend a lot of time in link building, shortlisting these keywords and creating high quality content should do the trick.
The Final Step – Check with Google
The last and the most crucial step in keyword research which almost nobody talks about is to check with Google. Have you ever wondered just how many pages are ranking/indexed for a keyword that you want to rank? You have no clue, right?
No problem! Let’s find out how many players are trying to rank for this keyword. We simply open Google search and enter our shortlisted keywords one by one in this manner. Assume I have chosen “running weight loss tips” (check keyword difficulty and volume in the image above) since “weight loss tips” was in orange and I decided to go with something that is easy to rank.
So there are about 9.4 MILLION pages on running weight loss tips on Googles Index. However, you should know that Google often picks up several keyword variations of a targeted keyword. This means that it is NOT NECESSARY that 9.4 million pages are optimized for running weight loss tips.
In order to check out our real competition we will use quotation marks in Google search (“”). Let’s see what is my real competition.
And there you have it folks! My real competition is just 48 other pages on SERP which I need to out-rank in order to rank at #1 for the keyword “running weight loss tips”
This entire exercise ensures that you won’t waste your time trying to rank keywords which are probably beyond your reach at the moment and in fact, quickly identify the right set of keywords to see almost immediate movement on SERP
Remember earlier, I said that understanding your audience intent is really important. Let’s spend the next minute understanding why?
Why Understanding Your Audience Is Important
It is important that we don’t just select keywords with the lowest competition and decent search volumes but, focus on shortlisting and creating content that your audience wants answers to. According to a research by Zippa, 56% of customers will stay loyal to a brand that “gets them.”
Rankings on Google aren’t permanent! At some point you will most definitely loose the #1 spot for the keyword you optimized. But building a brand that promotes loyalty is extremely important as it ensures, you have an audience base who is loyal and actively seeks out your content, regardless of your position on SERP
I won’t dive deep into this as it has nothing to do with keyword research but as a food for thought, who do you think would search for “running weight loss tips?” Men, women, teenagers, working individuals, people who are or are not athletic?
So before you get excited and start churning out content based on the newly discovered and targeted keyword, think!
Make sure after publishing your content, you are actively marketing it to reach the right people.
Feature Image by pch.vector on Freepik