The Ultimate Guide to Keyword Research

  • Scott 

What is Keyword Research

When we think about SEO, we usually think of Keywords. The short answer is that they’re buzzy, trending terms that large numbers of people tend to be searching for. The more people that search for a particular term, the higher it’s ranked. Keyword research focuses on identifying what specific terms customers tend to use when looking for particular goods, services, and other content. Once those keywords are identified and established, you can use them to optimize SEO on your content, website, or anything else.   

Why is it important

As to why it’s important and why this actually matters, the short answer is that, you could have the greatest, most interesting website in the world. Or you could be the best plumber in the world. But if nobody knows about you, your website, or the services you offer, none of that really matters. SEO and the keyword research component of it help get your website in front of the right eyes. 

How to use Keyword Research

Keyword research generally plays out in three key arenas: the writing of Google Ads, the copy on your website, and within affiliate marketing and other blog posts/content that link to your business. All are relevant and all make a difference. Once keywords are identified, you can get your ad in front of a whole new world of viewers. 

What do Keywords tell you about the Customer? 

It’s widely understood within the industry that customers go through a three stage process when deciding to buy a product. The process involves: awareness (become aware that a product or service actually exists), interest (becoming interested in this particular product or service), and sales (closing a deal). Keywords are fundamental to all three of these. They tell you what questions a customer might have and what they might be interested in more generally (awareness). They further tell you what answers to that question they’re getting and choosing (interest) and finally what the difference maker is between your product and a competitor’s (sales). So, in theory, keywords tell you a lot about the customer. 

Keyword Research for new Websites

For a new website with no pages that are ranking, you can use the “Keyword Explorer” feature on AHREFS to generate large lists of new keywords. For example, entering the word “Surfing” 

into the Keyword Explorer generates over ten thousand results. 

Creating a Seed Keyword List and Expanding your Own. 

The first step of identifying appropriate keywords is to create a seed (short tail)word list. This list is essentially just a few high-level terms that you think a customer might search for when looking for your product. Make sure to be specific and intentional. From there, there are myriad tools that you can use to make a (long tail) keyword list with hundreds of results based off of your seed keyword list.

How to find competitors and their keywords & How to choose which keywords to target from competitors

The quickest way to find competitors is to plug your seed keyword list into google (just try giving it a few cursory searches) and to see what comes up first. The companies in the results, provided that they are in your industry and provide similar products and/or services, are your competitors. From there, stick those companies into AHREFS and see what keywords they’re using. The goal of this is to take those high-performing keywords and to use them yourself. 

The best way to choose which keywords from a competitor you can take and use for yourself is to look at a number of metrics, starting with one called “KD.” This is listed on AHREFS and stands for “Keyword difficulty.” Make sure to choose keywords with a low “KD ranking” as this will be most conducive to your efforts. 

How to find keywords that you are already ranking for 

To find keywords that you are already ranking for, put your domain into AHREFS and you’ll be able to see all the keywords that you rank for as well as their corresponding pages on your website. 

How to choose which keywords to focus on for your SEO quick wins: 

For your SEO quick wins, there’s a few easy things that you can do. For an exhaustive list, check out this article on Resignal. Short of that, as mentioned, you can choose keywords with lower “KD” (Keyword Difficulty) to focus on. Additionally, one cool thing you can do is what I like to call “Keyword swapping.” This will allow you to push your pages that sit on the brink (appear on page 2 or 3 of google) over the edge. The way to do it is simple: go to your top performing pages, pick a keyword with an especially high volume, and stick that into the title tag of your page that’s teetering on the brink. 

Other key Tips: 

a.) You can track your keyword rankings using the “Rank Tracker” Feature on AHREFS.” 

b.) Make sure to generously include your keywords in the copy on your website. This cannot be understated.

c.) Make sure to optimize by sticking keywords into your title tags 

d.) To write tags that get clicks, make them catchy and fun and stick keywords in them

e.) To write compelling meta descriptions in Google ads, as with the “title tag,” make them catchy and fun, but make a point of sticking meta descriptions in them. 

 

To learn more, check out these articles from Forbes, AHREF, ReSignal, and Wordstream

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