All searches start with words typed (or spoken) into a search bar.
Everyone who comes to your site through a search engine…
Will be there because of the keywords that they searched.
If you want to:
- Increase targeted traffic to your site
- Increase sales of your product
- Raise awareness for your cause
- Grow your mailing list
- Gain any other benefit from having people find your website
It starts by researching what your customer is searching for and why!
In any given niche there are thousands of keywords that are being searched for.
All of these keywords fall into different categories with different potential outcomes.
You need to understand which keywords are going to be of most benefit to your business.
Having lots of people on your site is a great ego boost.
But if it doesn’t improve your business then it’s worthless.
Investing time and effort into keyword research can transform your business.
Strategic keyword research has played a huge part in my generating seven figures of income from my blog. On any given month I reach over 45,000 people through Google:
Not all of these people are buyers (if they were I’d have won the internet by now).
But they are targeted searchers whose goals align with the goals of my business.
If you get your keyword research right and create valuable content…
I have no doubt you can see similar results (if not better).
That brings us squarely to an important question about keyword research…
What Will I Learn?
Should You Build Your Content Around Keywords Or Topics?
The best content for search engines is topic-driven and optimised with keywords.
To explain what I mean, let me give you an example…
This post about making money on Fiverr is one of the top generators of traffic for my site.
It fluctuates from time to time, but it consistently brings people in by their thousands:
You can see that the article itself is well optimised for the keyword:
“How to make money on Fiverr”
The keyword is quite prominent in the article appearing 10 times:
However this content wasn’t built just because it was a high-traffic keyword to rank for, or because my gut told me it was right. It was a more calculated process.
I accepted this guest post to be published on my site for a few reasons:
- It agreed with my business focus, which was helping my readers to make money online through quality tutorials.
- It aligned with the values of my desired readers, which is increasing their income online. This meant the people searching it would be a match for my other tutorials.
- It was a topic that could be written about in depth, and wouldn’t be just a little-to-no value 500 word post that skims the surface.
I looked for:
A valuable keyword >> with the right intent >> that would bring people to my site.
The end product wasn’t just keyword related content.
(Low quality, low information content designed to just get people on the page).
It was a thousand or so word “topical” post with lots of videos, actionable points and extra resources to help people make money on Fiverr.
The content was written first. Then I performed my SEO magic on the post.
And over time, it will start to rank not only for your target keyword…
…but also a range of related keywords
When creating your own content I urge you to think topic first, then keywords second.
- Find the topic you want to write about that fits with your brand and business goals.
- Then optimise it for the high value and intent keywords.
But how do you determine the value and intent of keywords?
How To Determine The Value Of A Keyword
To determine the value of a keyword you have to understand your own business goal.
What is it with this keyword or this piece of content, that you’re trying to achieve?
Perhaps you want people to: enter your sales funnel, buy your new product, join your mailing list or listen to your podcast. First you need to figure this out.
Then you can work back and look at how someone might be searching.
Let’s say you have a blog about shaving.
You want people to subscribe to your weekly newsletter so they can buy from your affiliate links and you can begin to promote space on your list to advertisers.
- Best travel shaving kits
- How to shape a goatee
- Top safety razors for beginners
- What is the best shave soap
Because these people are looking for help and guidance on a topic.
You can be the person to provide it to them.
To work this out for your website and ask yourself a few questions:
- Does this content fit my site? Does the content you would create from this keyword match your site? Does it match your business goals?
- Would searchers be happy to read this content? If your keyword is “best travel shaving kits”, would the content you create be good enough to solve their problem?
- Who else is ranking for this keyword? Search your keyword for yourself and see who is already ranking there.Would you be able to outrank the current competition, or is this a battle you just can’t win
You can begin to look at using the keyword.
You could also go the extra mile to test these keywords.
Place a Google Adwords advert so that you automatically rank and see how it performs.
This will give you data on:
- How many people see it (impression)
- How many people click it (click through rate)
- How many people convert (your desired end goal)
Or if you want to change your content and keywords to better fit your goals.
How To Determine The Intent Of A Keyword
Keyword intent is determined by the prefix or suffixes attached to the “head” of the term.
There are two types of intent we’re going to focus on here:
- Commercial: The searcher wants to buy
- Informational: The searcher wants to learn
Commercial search terms are prefixed or suffixed with words associated to a purchase.
These keywords more often than not contain the words below (or a similar variation):
If you’re selling products directly, commercial intent keywords are paramount!
Informational keywords are looking to gain more information and are phrased accordingly.
You can expect these kinds of words to be included:
- How to
- Signs of
- What to do when
- Why is
What are you trying to achieve and how does it relate to the person searching?
If you’re selling houses in Miami – commercial keywords are going to be your go-to.
If you’re running a blog about how to buy a new home in Florida…
Informational keywords are better suited to your ideal customer.
Understand who you’re selling to and what you want to achieve and then these last two sections of this page will become much clearer.
3 Types Of Keyword You Should Be Using
There are lots of different types of keyword.
But for this, you’re going to be focusing on just three of them.
#1: Head Keywords
Head Keywords are one word non-specific keywords that generate a lot of traffic.
But can also come with low overall conversions.
These are keywords like:
#2: Body Keywords
Body keywords are longer phrases (usually two to three words).
They expand upon the head keyword in the last section.
- Life insurance
- Car batteries
- Family lawyers
- European travel
#3: Long Tail Keywords
Long tail keywords are usually over four words and are much more specific.
- Life insurance companies for senior citizens
- Car batteries for 2014 Renault Clio
- Family lawyers in San Diego
- Cheap European rail travel
But have the highest conversion rates by far!
How To Brainstorm Keyword Ideas For Free
There are a number of tools you can use to help brainstorm keyword ideas for free.
In this section I’m going to show some of the ways you can get ideas for keywords.
Grab yourself a pen and a piece of paper or open up a spreadsheet and follow along.
The Google Method
Open up a Google Incognito window.
Begin to type in some words that come to mind when you think of your topic.
You’ll notice a drop down menu that prompts you for suggested searches.
Something like this:
This is a cool way to start learning some of the most common head and body keywords.
If you search one of them you can also look at the related searches section.
These will be some of the more commonly search long tail keywords for your niche.
The Wikipedia Way
Go to Wikipedia and type in the “head” keyword for your niche (like: Shaving).
This will take you to the main encyclopedia page of that topic.
On that page will be a menu with lots of links and sub-topics relating to your niche.
It will look a little something like this:
Jump down to one of those topics and you’ll find an entire section filled with keywords.
(the blue hyperlinked text)
These will be a mix of head and body keywords.
You can use tools like Google Keyword Planner to dig even further.
Find The Keywords You’re Already Ranking For
A great place to get keyword ideas is to look at what your site is already ranking for. You can find ideas within your own content, or see where you need to double down on.
Head over to a tool like SEMRush and sign up for a free account.
Once inside pop your website URL into the search bar at the top of the page:
Hit “search” and this will show you a brief breakdown of your site.
Including the keywords your website is currently ranking for:
You may find that you’re ranking for some terms at a low level!
Wrapping This Up…
Phew! We packed a lot into this section of the guide!
Strategic keyword research is critical and should form the foundation of your SEO!
Just to recap, let’s take a look at the key points:
- When creating content focus on the topic first and the keywords second. This allows you to create great content that’s easy to optimise.
- There are three types of keywords you should work with: head, body and long tail keywords. All of the decrease in traffic and increase in conversions in that order
- You can determine the value of a keyword based on your business goals and whether that type of searcher will help you get the result you need.
- The intent of a keyword is usually found in the prefix or suffix that surround the main head of the keyword.
- You can begin to brainstorm your own keywords using Google, Wikipedia and a free version of a tool like SEMRush.
Click here to learn more on exactly how to do this.