If keyword research is done correctly, the return on your SEO budget can be huge, and undeniably important to the success of your business. Chances are, you started the keyword process many years ago when this strategy first hit the scene. However, to stay on top, you need to ensure this process never actually ends since there is always room for tweaking and improvement. If you haven’t revisited your keywords in a while, let’s dust off the cobwebs and go back to the drawing board.
When Keywords Are So Much More Than Words
In his extensive “How to Do Keyword Research in 2017 — Ahrefs’ Guide” blog, Tim Soulo highlights just how in-depth the keyword research process is with its many facets. The findings and advice of this article are summarized in briefer snapshots included below.
Kick off the process with seed keywords: In building the foundation of your keyword research, it’s simplistic to come up with the seed keywords that describe your product, service, or organization. However, if you are looking to pick a niche in starting an affiliate marketing website, you can pick one of two routes:
Monetization: Amazon is a prime example of a successful affiliate program. Simply, look through a website for a product/offer you like and are willing to promote, and define those search queries people will use to find it.
“Niche down” approach: Start broad with a keyword and comb through the many results until you spot an interesting opportunity you may never have thought of before.
Create Keyword Ideas
Once you have your seed keywords defined, expand the net to relevant keywords. Here’s how to do it:
Know what you rank for already: You most likely rank in Google for a few hundred (or more) keywords. Get to know them.
Know what your competition ranks for: Do the research and determine the best keywords you need to compete for.
Utilize keyword research tools: There are so many of these tools on the market, but understand this process can give you an overwhelming amount of results. Some tools can help narrow down the options with useful filters (CPC, search volume, etc.) so find what works best for you.
Embrace your niche: When you truly understand your space (i.e. customer pain points and wants), you can better uncover relevant and powerful niche keywords that are currently untapped by your competition and can set you apart.
Know Your Search Metrics
If you don’t make friends with your metrics, you are going to be in unchartered waters without a map. To make your keywords work, you need to understand how your strategy is playing out in several key areas.
Search volume: While search volume won’t always accurately predict search traffic, it does shed light on the overall search demand of a word. In other words, how many people put this keyword into Google? This helps you understand the scope.
Clicks: Clicks can be tricky, especially nowadays. For example, many searches can be answered with instant answers (i.e. Knowledge cards) that don’t require any clicks. Keep this in mind as you look at the numbers.
Traffic potential: Did you know that the #1 ranking result usually gets no more than 30% of all clicks? That’s why you need to remember not all search methods are the same, especially across different people. Think of long-tail traffic in crafting your smart strategy instead of solely focusing on volume or clicks.
Keyword difficulty: While some words are easy to rank for, they may not be valuable. It’s finding the most complex ones with the highest payoff that make a difference, so analyze the results of your various keywords to see where the investments should be made.
Cost Per Click: Please note that CPC can change at any second, and it’s often a metric that advertisers need more than SEOs, but it can highlight keywords’ commercial intent.
Keyword grouping: A bigger list of keywords is not necessarily better. To make it valuable, give it structure with the right groupings:
By parent topic: In today’s SEO world, one keyword is no longer targeted with one dedicated page. Instead, it’s about creating a great post that can rank for multiple (related) keywords on one page.
By intent: You need to understand the intent of your searcher to best create the page that will fulfill their need. To get you started, Google your keyword to see what’s out there. Then, when you know their expectation you’ll know how to direct them to their goal.
By business value: Along the same lines above, figure out what intent you need for your business. If it’s awareness, focus on keywords that will drive traffic to you. If you need sales, craft your keywords with commercial intent.
Keep Your Priorities Front and Center
Throughout this entire keyword process, you need to make sure that it’s meeting your needs. In your analysis, evaluate traffic, your competition, resource allocation, and your overall ROI (that is far likely better served with the right keywords, not the easiest ones). And, never be intimidated to change your keyword strategy; it could be one subtle change that transforms the whole game.
Did this help you look at your current keyword strategy in a new way? What changes do you need to make to get the results that you want?
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