Keyword Research: Everything You Need To Know

keyword researchAll 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

Strategic keyword research helps you understand and find which of those words or phrases will help you to achieve your business goals.

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 will deliver the 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:

organic traffic

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).

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…

My how to make money on Fiverr tutorial 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:

google results

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-

fiverr keyword research example

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.

Once the post had hit these criteria it was able do take a closer look at keyword research.

I looked for:

A valuable keyword >> with the right intent >> that would bring people to my site.
 
And over time, it started to not only rank for the target keyword…

but also a range of related keywords

keyword research ranking results

When creating your own content I urge you to think topic first, then keywords second.

  1. Find the topic you want to write about that fits with your brand and business goals.
  2. Then optimise it for the high value and high 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 goals.

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 that out.

Then you can work backwards 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.

Keywords like:

  • Best travel shaving kits
  • How to shape a goatee
  • Top safety razors for beginners
  • What is the best shave soap

Would be ideal.

Why?

Because these people are looking for help and guidance on a specific topic.

And YOUR BUSINESS could be who gives it to them.
 
But first you need to determine the value of the keyword to your individual business.

To work this out for your website, 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

How to determine keyword value

If you feel you’ve reached a comfortable “Yes!” from these questions…

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 for 24 hours 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)

Which can help you decide if this is a keyword you want to work with before you make a big investment.

Or if you want to change your content and keywords to better fit your goals.

If you need help gathering this information then take a look at my free keyword research template that automates a lot of the work for you.

How To Determine The Intent Of A Keyword

Keyword intent can often be determined by the prefix or suffixes attached to the main term.

There are two types of intent we’re going to focus on here:

  1. Commercial: The searcher wants to buy
  2. 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):

  • Buy
  • Deal
  • Discount
  • Shipping

People that are searching like this are ready to buy!!!

If you’re selling products directly, commercial intent keywords are paramount!

Informational keyword searchers are looking to gain more information and are phrased accordingly.

You can expect these kinds of words to be included:

  • How to
  • Review
  • Signs of
  • What to do when
  • Why is

Much like value, this intent must align with your business.

What are you trying to achieve and how does it relate to the person searching?

How to determine keyword intent

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.

For example on this blog I strictly target informational keywords because my goal is to help people reach their goals and that usually starts with a question.

Where as with Ecommerce SEO, I prefer to target mostly transactional keywords that are also supported by informational keywords to help influence peoples buying decisions.

Every business is different.

2 Types Of Keyword You Should Be Using

There are lots of different types of keyword.

But for the most part your keyword research should be focused on informational and transactional keywords that fall into the following categories-

#1: Broad Keywords

Broad match keywords usually provide decent traffic and the searcher has a rough idea of what they want.

These are keywords like-

  • Running shoes
  • Basketball shoes
  • Dress shoes
  • Jack Reacher books
  • Self help books
  • Travel books

The problem with these terms is they are open to interpretation and deliver lower conversion rates than my next suggestion.

But:

They usually offer high levels of traffic and depending on your niche, can be relatively easy to compete for at a page level.

#2: Long Tail Keywords

Long tail keywords are responsible for around 70% of all searches. They are my favourite type of keyword to target because-

  • They have less search volume
  • They have less competition
  • They have the highest conversion rates

WAIT!

Less search volume is better?

Yes! Because these keywords convert at a MUCH HIGHER rate, they usually deliver more sales with much less traffic.

Examples of long tail keywords are:

  • Which are the best running shoes for marathons
  • Which basketball shoes will help me jump higher
  • How to make money as a designer on Fiverr
  • Aerosmith concert tickets Miami Florida

I love long tail keywords because they hit that sweet spot between competition, traffic and conversion.

How To Brainstorm Keyword Ideas For Free

There are a number of tools you can use to help brainstorm keyword ideas for free.

Just grab yourself a pen and a piece of paper and follow along.

Of – you can download my intelligent spreadsheet that makes keyword research easy.

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:

google drop down menu

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 at the bottom.

google related search box

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-

keyword and topic ideas from wikipeda

Jump down to one of those topics and you’ll find an entire section filled with keywords. These will be a mix of head and body keywords.

You can use tools like Google Keyword Planner or these free keyword research tools to dig deeper.

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.

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:

semrush search bar

Hit “search” and this will show you a brief breakdown of your site.

Including the keywords your website is currently ranking for:

semrush search results

You may find that you’re already ranking for a bunch of great keywords.

Wrapping This Up…

Strategic keyword research is critical and should form the foundation of your SEO!
 
Get it right and your site will be flooded with people that align to your business goals!

But remember-

  • 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 two types of keywords you should work with: broad and long tail keywords. But you should focus on informational or transactional keywords.
  • You can determine the value of a keyword based on your business goals and whether that type of searcher will bring you closer to that goal.
  • The intent of a keyword is usually found in the prefix or suffix that surround the main keyword.
  • You can begin to brainstorm your own keywords using Google, Wikipedia and a free version of a tool like SEMRush.

You can also use Google Keyword Planner to dig further.

Click here to learn exactly how to do that.

14 Responses

  1. David Jeson
    10.7.2019

    Thanks for sharing informative blog post. I totally agree with that proper keyword research are the foundation of any business. Many say content is the king however they fail to realize that content with proper keyword research would not attract right audience.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 10th, 2019 at 11:58 am

      Amen to that David!

  2. Chris
    9.26.2019

    As a sales dinosaur charged by my team with launching our new digital business, getting my head around all things SEO and blog has been bewildering to say the least, I heard you on a podcast with Eric Siu yesterday and then came straight to your site. THANK YOU. I am starting to make sense of how this all hangs together and what we need to do and I have some actions I can start right now

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 27th, 2019 at 12:40 pm

      Hey Chris – really glad I can help. You are in the right place to learn everything SEO. Just work through the articles on here – https://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/seo/ I have a lot more content in the pipeline that you will find useful too.

  3. Charlene
    8.30.2019

    Very helpful specially for a beginner in keyword research. Bookmarked it for future reference. Thanks for sharing.

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 31st, 2019 at 2:05 am

      Thanks Charlene – hope to see you again

  4. DSS Software
    8.27.2019

    Excellent post. I am able to do Keyword Research after reading the entire article. Thanking you.

  5. Rowan Clifford
    8.19.2019

    Awesome post Matt.

    I’ve had a lot of success using answerthepublic.com alongside the Keywords Everywhere Chrome plugin.

    It’s a great way to get a tonne of keyword ideas plus traffic data.

    Thank again for the post, I always learn a tonne.

    Rowan Clifford.

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 20th, 2019 at 6:05 am

      Hey Rowan, yes they are some really useful tools! No problem, hope to see you again soon.

  6. Doreen Nanyama
    7.18.2019

    Awesome. Many people have are yet to tap into this sector. But Keywords are essential for improving SEO

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 20th, 2019 at 2:21 am

      Never a truer word Doreen – keywords are critical to the success of an online business.

  7. Elan London
    7.5.2019

    Always useful and actionable content from you Matthew. Thank you.

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 10th, 2019 at 8:04 am

      No problem and I’m pleased I could help.

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