SEO - Understanding Keywords

Understanding Keywords

Keyword research is the process of finding keywords that customers search for.

The problem is most people go about keyword research in the wrong way and it results in sub-par results for their page ranking. The most common issue is people start off by using a keyword research tool and plugging in a few random terms which typically yields extremely competitive results. For example: You’re a business that sells Mountain Bikes. If you’re new to SEO you might type  ‘Mountain Bikes’ into your research tool and select keywords obviously related to mountain biking. Makes sense, right? Here’s the thing - This slightly random approach yields super competitive keywords that everyone and their dog will see.

The SEO pros actually spend a lot of time researching Seed keywords to use in their research tool. The better the seed keywords that you type in the better results you’re going to get. For example if you sell mountain bikes you might come up with seed keywords such as ‘broken derailleur’ or ‘carbon handlebars’; these seed keywords are going to generate much better results than the more obvious seed keywords that your competitor is using, and will generate keyword ideas that are much less competitive to rank for. 

Step 1: Develop a handful of seed keywords

Brainstorm words and phrases that are related to your business, for example:

These are just brainstorming ideas - you can always change these terms later on! Now that we’ve brainstormed some seed keywords we’re going to explore some useful and free tools that can help you understand related search queries to your seed keywords.

Tool 1: Find terms related to seed keywords in Google Search

Another great way to find unique seed keywords is to check out the related results at the bottom of Google’s search page. For example: let’s say we search for Elopements in Google and we scroll down to the bottom of the page we’ll get a list of 8 keywords that are closely related to our search term. 

Remember these are keywords that are coming straight from Google so there’s no need to guess whether or not they are popular - Google is actually telling you!

You can then click on one of these related keywords, scroll to the bottom of the new page, and you will be given a whole new list of related, hard to find seed keywords.

Tool 2: Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a platform with detailed information about industry topics all organized into categories. 

First, headover to Wikipedia and type in a broad keyword related to your business. For example, if you own a Spaghetti shop type in ‘Spaghetti’ and scroll to the content section of the page. This section will provide a list of subtopics related to your broad search term. Some of these subtopics will serve as great keywords that would be otherwise difficult to find. You can also click on internal links on the page to find the table of contents for other closely related search entries. 

Tool 3: Find topics on Reddit

Let’s say you own a pasta shop. Head over to reddit and type in a search term closely related to what you sell. Then choose a subreddit where your target audience probably hangs out. Look for threads with discussion or question labels. 

In this case it would make sense to add Vegetarian or Gluten Free pasta to your seed keyword list.

Step 2: Generate Keyword Ideas

Now that you’ve developed a list of seed keywords it’s time to enter them into your  keyword research tool. This will generate outside the box keyword ideas that are closely related to your search term that will help your rankings.

Step 3: Choose 4 to 6 keywords

Now that you have a bunch of keywords and you’ll have to choose which ones have the most potential for your business. But how?

Well, by taking 3 simple factors into account:

Keyword Competition

This is how hard it is to rank for a specific keyword in Google. If you're just starting out in SEO or your site is brand new, you’ll want to focus on low competition keywords. This allows your site to gain some traction and traffic relatively quickly so you can go after more competitive keywords. 

Monthly Search Volume

Next let’s see how many people search for the keywords that are still on your list. There is no minimum search volume it totally depends on your industry. A good rule of thumb is more searches = more traffic. If a keyword has high search volume and low competition that usually makes it a winner.

Revenue Potential

It’s one thing for a keyword to get lots of searches and have low competition, will it make you any money? The answer is (drumroll please) there are 2 ways to figure that out. First We want to look at CPC (cost per click). This is how much an advertiser usually spends on a keyword in Google. As you might expect the higher the number the more revenue potential it has. Second we want to check the product keyword fit.  In other words, does this keyword match what I’m selling? The better a keyword fits the product or service you’re offering the more likely it will convert. 

With all that said our keywords don’t always need to be an exact product/service keyword match. As long as they’re in the ballpark of what your target customer is searching for in Google you’ll be able to direct them to your site. Many of these customers will browse through your service offerings, pricing, sign up for an email newsletter or follow you on social media: all of which creates engagement and potential conversions further down the funnel.

To summarize there is no magic bean that’s going to allow you to pick the perfect keywords, it's a mix of science and art. But as long as you employ some combination of the aforementioned strategies you’ll be well on your way to achieving SEO success. 

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