68% of all online activity starts with queries in search engines such as Google or Bing.
Keyword research is the foundation of any online marketing campaign.
Keyword research helps you to understand your target audience online, and to determine the best way to rank for those keywords in search engines.
How can you optimize your website and target phrases for linking building if you don’t know the keywords?
This section will show you how to create a spreadsheet for keyword research. It will also help you identify the best keywords for your website’s search engine optimization as well as topics for content development.
We’ll be discussing the data that will help you select the most relevant keywords.
The last section will include a compilation the most popular posts about keyword research.
What is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is the study of search terms that your target audience uses to search for businesses or websites similar to yours. It also involves optimizing your content to appear in search engine results.
My blog’s target audience is, for example, small businesses and marketers looking for assistance with digital marketing and SEO. This means that pages from my website should appear in the SERPs for keywords related to digital marketing and SEO.
Let’s suppose someone searches for SEO in their target market. I want my website to appear first in search results for this keyword. I am happy to report that I do! These are the top results for the term:
Why is Keyword Research Important?
You must create a strategy that will help your audience find your website. This can be for your blog, ecommerce website or local services such as lawn care. Keyword research is key.
This is the top Google search result for a particular search query (aka “keyword”), which gets 49 percent of all traffic. Second results get 22 percent more traffic. Users click on each result less that 1% of the time by the time they reach the second page.
To drive your audience to your website, identify the keywords they are looking for and create content that matches those search terms.
How to Do Keyword Research
You have many options for keyword research. Below, we’ll show you some of these tools and methods so that you can choose the one that works best for your needs.
Prework: Spreadsheet Setup
To record your data, the first thing you should do is to create a spreadsheet.
You can access a basic spreadsheet I created. This spreadsheet contains columns that can be used to store data using the tools described in the first two sections of this blog post.
To match your keyword research needs, you can add columns or remove columns. These columns are included.
- GAKT – Competition (Google Ads Keyword Planner)
- GAKT – Global Monthly Searches, Google Ads Keyword Planner
- GAKT – Local Monthly Searches (Google Ads Key Planner)
- GAKT – Approximate CPC (Google Ads Keyword Planner)
- SEOmoz KA – Difficulty (Moz Keyword Explorer)
- SEOmoz KA – Competitor 1 (Moz Keyword Explorer)
- SEOmoz KA – Competitor 1 DA (Moz Keyword Explorer)
- SEOmoz KA – Competitor 1 RDLRD (Moz Keyword Explorer)
- SEOmoz KA – Competitor 2 (Moz Keyword Explorer)
- SEOmoz KA – Competitor 2 DA (Moz Keyword Explorer)
- SEOmoz KA – Competitor 2 RDLRD (Moz Keyword Explorer)
- SEOmoz KA – Competitor 3 (Moz Keyword Explorer)
- SEOmoz KA – Competitor 3 DA (Moz Keyword Explorer)
- SEOmoz KA – Competitor 3 RDLRD (Moz Keyword Explorer)
This section will cover filling the columns with keywords and Google Ads Keyword Tool information.
We’ll be discussing how to narrow those keywords using the Moz Keyword Analysis tool (or other methods if you don’t have a Pro membership).
Google Docs Version saved
Simply use the File >Save option to save your spreadsheet to your Google account. Once you have saved it, you can fill in your details.
Open Office and Excel Versions Downloadable
You can save Google Docs as a local file if you don’t have Google Docs. I’d suggest Excel for best possible functionality.
Step 1 – Keyword Discovery
Keyword research begins with the creation of new keyword ideas.
This is often the hardest part of the process, as people who are not familiar with keyword competition will choose broad target words like Los Angeles, hotel, and pizza.
Others may choose obscure phrases that no one would likely search, such as SEO/Link Building/Social Media. (Yes, I have seen people try to use similar over-punctuated phrases).
The first thing to do is search for similar phrases that are appropriate for your business.
It doesn’t hurt to start by brainstorming. Take a look at your main topics and write down keywords that are associated with them.
I recommend that you do this in Microsoft Excel or another spreadsheet program.
Then, when you are ready to build on your ideas, use some of our great keyword tools.
Keyword Discovery Tools
These tools are both free and paid. They will help you find new keywords that relate to your website.
Ubersuggest is great to help you find new keywords.
Simply enter your keyword or phrase into the tool to get started.
Let’s assume we are researching Social Media Marketing.
Enter the phrase, then click Search.
This is the breakdown you’ll receive:
- Search volume The number of searches a keyword has in a given month
- SEO difficulty– Estimated competition in organic searches
- Paid difficulty– Estimated competition in paid searches
- Average cost per click for a Google Ad
A summary of the average backlinks required and the domain score to get on the first page of Google for the keyword is also available. The chart shows the keyword search volume for both desktop and mobile over the last 12 months.
You can also scroll down to see other variations of your keyword phrase.
This will give you a better idea of the things you can rank for.
You might consider optimizing a low-cost, low-competition option that still delivers good results for low budgets. You might consider “jobs in social media marketing”.
You can also choose multiples and A/B-test them to get the best results.
It doesn’t matter how you use it.
Ubersuggests Search Suggestions
After you have some ideas, you can build on them using the five keyword variables in Ubersuggest.
The default highlight for “suggestions” is shown in the screenshot. If you want to search for keywords that include your phrase, click on “Related.”
Your seed keyword, “social marketing”, is now included in every keyword on the list.
You can then experiment with other search types. These are examples of keyword phrases that you will find for each type:
- is social media marketing dead?
- Is social media marketing worthwhile?
- Is social media marketing efficient?
- Guide to Social Media Marketing
- Social media marketing assistance
- Social media marketing problems
- social media marketing vs digital marketing
- social media marketing vs traditional marketing
- Social media marketing and SEO
Other Search Suggestions
Are you looking for other suggested search boxes?
These search engines offer similar suggestions for search options, which appear under the search box as you type in keywords.
Each search engine offers different suggestions depending on what keyword you are searching for.
Google is the most popular web platform, so people tend to stick with it. However, it’s still a good idea to look for keywords from other sources.
Google Ads Keyword Tool
Next up is the Google Ads Keyword Planner, which is well-known.
To get better results, I recommend signing in to your Google Ads Keyword Tool account after you’ve logged into Google.
You can get an idea of what I did by searching for social media while I wasn’t logged in to my account. I received 100 keywords ideas.
It was not the same as I had searched, but I received 600 more results after I logged in.
If you’re looking for keywords for static websites and aren’t interested in cost per click pricing (CPC), I suggest that you just go with the results, without signing into Google Ads.
You can view the CPC pricing as well as keyword ideas for content development while you’re logged in to Google Ads.
This is what each column in the Google Ads Keyword Tool will tell about each keyword idea.
- Competition “The Competition column provides an indication of how many advertisers bid for a keyword. This information can be used to determine the level of competition for a particular ad placement.
- Monthly Searches “The 12-month average number of queries per keyword for Google search”
- Monthly Searches “If you have specified a language or country for your search, this number is the average 12-month-long user query for that keyword.”
- CPC (approximate cost per click) – This is what you would pay if you bid on the keyword. The CPC is averaged across all ad positions.
Google Ads Help provides more information about search traffic statistics.
This option can be found in the filters section on the left.
Clicking the “Modify Search” tab will allow you to select certain Match Types. Scroll down to the “Plan Your Budget and Get Forecasts” option.
The traffic volume of Global and Local Monthly Searches will be affected by the addition of punctuation to your search term. This is based on how much traffic a keyword receives on Google.
- Broad – The sum total of all the searches for the keyword idea. If you did PPC targeting the broad match for social networks, ads would appear with all searches that include social media. The same would apply to organic results.
- [Exact] The keyword idea’s search volume. If you did PPC targeting the exact match for social networking, ads would only display if someone types in that term.
- “Phrase” is the sum of all search volumes for terms that contain that phrase. If you did PPC targeting the phrase pizza dough match, ads would be shown for anyone who types in social media with or without additional keywords like social media marketing or social media about social media. Organic results would only include results that contain the exact phrase “social media”
Ads Help provides more information about match types and other options.
The data can also be compared using the three match types social media, in order of broadest, “phrase”, and [exact].
These match types would be used in a search to get 419 million results for broad social media search terms and only 304 millions results for phrase search “social media”.
You might consider removing certain words from your keyword ideas if you are using the term social media.
You may not want to target any social media jobs. Therefore, you can add the word “job” under Negative Keywords tab.
You will now need to export your data.
Simply click the Download button on the Review Plan tab to export to the format you prefer.
The data can be copied to your keyword research spreadsheet.
This data can also be obtained for keyword ideas generated with SEMrush or suggested search. Simply copy and paste the keywords into the Word box, and then check the box to limit the display of ideas that are closely related to my search terms.
Next, export the data for these keywords and phrases by clicking the boxes beside them in the Search Terms section.
You probably have many great keywords ideas at this point.
The next section will discuss how to use Moz Keyword Analysis Tool (or another method to obtain the same information if not a member). This allows you to access additional data, narrow down your keywords and determine which ones you should be focusing on for your online marketing strategy.
Step 2: Analyzing and Choosing The Best Keywords
Let’s now look at the next step.
Let me show you how to find more information about each keyword to narrow down your search results.
This data can take some time to compile so it is worth looking through the keyword list to remove those you don’t need.
This part of the process usually involves no more than 100 keywords.
Keyword Analysis using Ubersuggest
Ubersuggest can be used to analyze keywords and websites for ideas.
You can search for social media marketing in Ubersuggest to see a list “content ideas”.
You can see a list listing pages that rank for “social media marketing”. It is possible to see how many people visit the page from the keyword, how many backlinks it has, and how many shares the page has on Facebook, Pinterest and Reddit.
Look at the websites that are most popular and take that information as a starting point to help you decide what content to include on your page in order to rank for the keyword.
Keyword Analysis using Moz
Moz. can provide you with additional data that will help you to narrow down your search terms.
You can get a 30-day complimentary trial with Moz if you only have one keyword research project.
This tool will give you an idea of the difficulty of each keyword.
The top ten websites ranked for each keyword will be displayed along with their domain authority and number of root domains linking.
This is the information that will allow you to decide which keywords you want to target.
You can enter five words at once, and can choose between keyword, root domain or subdomain.
You can view the results of the difficulty assessment and organic click-through rate, as well as the balance between ranking ease and final results (Priority) by using our keyword phrase “social Media Management”.
Although this information is useful, it is not something we already know. This keyword phrase is what we already like.
This is a simple double-check to confirm the basic information you have found in the Ads Keyword Tool.
Below you will find additional keyword suggestions as well as a SERP analysis for the keyword.
These suggestions can be used for brainstorming but we will return to the SERP analysis. This is the real goldmine.
A list of keywords mentioned can be found at the bottom of this page.
This information is helpful in that it allows you to see who is using the keyword, and when they last created content using it.
This information is great, but the true competitor information can be found when you click the full SERP analysis for each keyword such as these results from a social media company.
For convenience, I prefer to open them in new tabs.
This is where you will learn some things.
First, you can see the person you are trying to beat.
Congratulations if your website is on this top ten list. You’re now on the first page of a keyword phrase that has a high competitive keyword difficulty of 61%.
You can also compare the domain authority and linking domains of your website with the statistics of the top ten sites.
Domain authority can be described as a score between 1 and 100. Higher domain authority means a website is more likely to rank for keywords it has been optimized for.
The number of unique domains that link to a website is called the linking root domains.
It is clear that not every site has the best authority or linking root domains.
To be #1, however, you will need to have a domain authority of at least 28 and hundreds linking root domains in order to outperform the competition.
This will also help you determine if a keyword is generating informational or commercial results.
This will tell you if your keyword is being used for commercial purposes (meaning someone is trying to find a product/service) or if it is being used for informational purposes (meaning people are searching for information and not products or services).
The social networking company results include seven real social media agencies and consulting firms.
Comparatively, I can see that the first page results for the keyword phrase “what’s social media” are purely informational if you do a thorough analysis. All the results come from authoritative domains.
If you’re a social media company, it is likely that you will want to use the term social media companies on your homepage.
Also, you will want to create content around the term “social media” and place it on authoritative domains like YouTube and SlideShare in order to test whether it can be ranked for a phrase that is searched by millions of people each month.
Alternative to Moz Tool
You don’t need a premium tool if you don’t want to look for specific keywords and see websites that rank on the first page.
Open Site Explorer is another Moz tool that can provide domain authority stats. However, you will only get a small number of stats free of charge.
You can also use the SEOmoz free toolbar. Simply use it and compare it with your website’s domain authority.
You can still use a keyword to determine its commercial and informational usage, plus some basic stats that you can compare with your website.
Step 3 – Putting it together in the Spreadsheet
The last step is to take the spreadsheet and interpret the data.
To highlight cells with a particular color based on their numerical value, I use Conditional Formatting in Excel.
Simply highlight the cell range that you wish to compare and then go to Conditional Formatting >New Rule.
Choose the 3-Color Format Style and adjust the Lowest Value/Highest Value colors as applicable.
Some fields of your spreadsheet should display that a higher number means good and a lower one indicates bad.
You will want to set the default color settings for those fields (global and local monthly searches), as shown below.
You will also need to indicate in other fields that a higher number can be bad and a lower one is good.
You will need to change the color settings for those fields (GAKT – Competition, GAKT – Approximate Cost, SEOmoz KA Difficulty and SEOmoz KA Competitor DA and SEOmoz KA – Competitor RDLRD), as shown below.
After you are done, highlight the top row of the image and apply the Sort & Filter> Filter option.
I prefer to start by selecting the filter for SEOmoz KA – Difficulty column, and then sorting it from smallest through largest.
You will get the following results (click the image below for a larger view).
You can see that having sorting and highlighting options is very useful when you are looking at a spreadsheet with more than 100 keywords.
It is possible to quickly determine which keywords have the highest searches, the lowest competition, or both.
If you wanted to shoot for the #1 ranking, then you could look at the actual competition.
Step 4 – Final Keyword Selections
When choosing keywords, my suggestion is the following:
- Your website should be commercial. It should offer products or services. You should choose keywords that have the highest commercial intent, based on current ranking websites. You should choose keywords with the highest informational intent if your website is informational (blogs are an example).
- Look for a “sweet spot” of high search volume in conjunction with low-difficulty/competition.
- Consider keywords that are high in search volume but have top competitors with lower domain authority or backlinks.
- Your website may be already on the first page but is not ranking in the top five spots or below other search results areas like images, local, and so forth. If the keyword has high search volume, you should focus on moving those keywords and phrases up.
Sometimes it’s not actually the decision that is most difficult. It is actually the process of compiling data that takes most time. Don’t forget to use keywords that provide more information for topic ideas.
Our method for finding keyword ideas, analysing them and then selecting the best ones for your website is complete.
There are many ways to do keyword research. You should try different methods to find the one that speaks to you best when choosing keywords.
Keyword Research Resources
- You can do keyword research in a new way with this article and video.
- SEO Unlocked Part 1: Keyword Research: This video will walk you through the basics and benefits of keyword research.
- SEO Unlocked Part 2: Keyword Research Part 2 is the continuation of my keyword-research walk-through videos. For a more thorough walk-through, be sure to download the keyword research PDF!
Keyword Research Most Frequently Asked Questions
How can I find out which keywords are best for my website?
Consider the topics that are most relevant to your business or industry that your target audience will search for on the Internet. Ubersuggest is a tool that helps you find the most relevant keywords to those topics.
Do you have any free keyword research tools?
Moz and Ubersuggest offer free keyword tools. However, you will be able to access additional data and features if you choose a paid version.
Do you need to do keyword research in order to pay for your campaigns?
Keyword research is important for both your organic and paid marketing.
What does keyword research have to do with SEO?
SEO refers to optimizing your website so that it ranks high in search results for terms that are relevant to your business.
Conclusion: Keyword Research
If you want to drive visitors to your site, it is important to do thorough keyword research.
You can try many other keyword research methods in addition to the ones I have described in this article. You may be tempted to explore other methods as you become more proficient in keyword research.
You also have a variety of keyword research tools available. Ubersuggest is my favorite, biased though it may seem. Our team is constantly developing new features to provide better data than other tools.
You can contact my agency if you don’t wish to do your keyword research, SEO or digital marketing.
What’s your favorite way to search for keywords?
What are you favorite keyword research tools?
By: Neil Patel
Title: Keyword Research: How to Do It, Tips, Tools & Examples
Sourced From: neilpatel.com/blog/keyword-research/
Published Date: Thu, 05 May 2022 19:42:11 +0000