Don’t Get Frustrated! Here Are Some Tools & Strategies To Research SEO Keywords.
In this blog article, we’ll show you how to Research SEO Keywords—particularly if you’re on a budget and doing it entirely yourself. In our first installment of IGNITE YOUR SEO // The Big 4, we introduced the SEO basics for content implementation. Those were:
- Page Titles
- Meta Descriptions
- H1 Headings
- Page content
What we didn’t show you—was a pre-forged path and examples for researching keywords on your own. So in this post—we’ll outline tools and strategies to help in your keyword research—and try to help you begin to automate your efforts.
First things first.. You have to have some tools to do your work…
Find The Right Tools To Research SEO Keywords
There are a TON of tools out there to help you generate, manage, and track your keywords. But if you haven’t done this before—we’ve consolidated a list of some of our favorites for small business and getting started. If you already know what you want to use—feel free to skip this section and move on to Strategies.
Google Adwords & Keyword Planner (FREE)
Don’t underestimate the power of free. Google is the #1 search engine, and they have a host of tools to help you generate keywords and get advertising through Google Adwords. Click Here to learn more about how to use Google’s Keyword Planner. Right in the Adwords campaign dashboard you can add your newly found keywords to campaigns for your website… Now that’s easy.
And you only have to start paying if you choose to use Google Adwords to advertise. Otherwise just keep this as your keyword repository.
Google Analytics (FREE)
Alright—yes—another win for Google. We’re going for free utilities after all! Within Google Analytics you have ways of seeing your best ranking Organic Keywords, as well as having the advantage of finding the primary sources of your traffic. This allows you to build on the keywords you already rank best for—and to tailor new keywords around relevant search topics. Within your Google Analytics Dashboard go to Acquisition > Campaigns > Organic Keywords to find your organic keywords.
Continue to the Strategies section for some more tips & strategies for free keyword research.
SEMRush (Starting at $99/mo)
SEMRush is one of the biggest names in the SEO game. It offers a full suite of features to research keywords, track ranking progress, crawl your site, help generate content, notify you of errors—and much more. The price tag can be a bit large to swallow, starting at $99/month—but the automation tools and prompted areas of improvement help even beginners get a big jumpstart on improving their site and web traffic.
Moz Keyword Explorer (20 Free Queries/mo, Pro Plan starts at $99/mo)
The Moz suite of SEO tools is comparable to SEMRush. At $99/month you get access to their robust set of Moz Pro tools. But if you’re just looking for keyword research, go to https://moz.com/explorer and take advantage of 20 free queries per month (per IP address). That’s enough to get you started if Keyword Research is all you’re after.
Mangools KWFinder ($30-$80/mo)
KWFinder is a better budget tool for helping you with keywords. With plans starting at $30/mo up to $80/mo—KWFinder will help you research new keywords, check against your competitor’s best ranking keywords, as well as help you view your SERP presence. Before you buy—test drive their service with some custom keywords right at https://kwfinder.com/
Any of these tools—or others in combination—can support your successful keyword and content strategy. The key we’ve found is to focus on your niche keywords first, then keep building and tracking your effectiveness.
Strategies for Researching SEO Keywords
Once you have a keyword tool and a plan for where to store your keywords—let’s get into some strategies and creative ways to generate. Alright, it’s time to put that brainstorming cap on…
#1 | The Traditional Method
The traditional method of keyword research—as we’ll call it—can be very effective, but also time consuming. There’s not a lot of magic to it—but it’s important. Start by brainstorming and compiling a list of your services, products, instructions, content—whatever it is—that searchers might type in and expect to find content like you have. Use your brain power in addition to the previously discussed tools to generate refined and detailed keywords that will work for your website. Hone in on your keywords and remember—being specific is better than being general. Finding very specific keywords will glean better click through rates and engaged visitors. If, for instance, you are selling custom skin and haircare products online, you’ll want to target keywords that match specific ingredients and product advantages that you have over your competition. Otherwise you’ll be competing over “vanilla” keywords with major online retailers.
#2 | Go After Your Competition
The next strategy we’ll cover is to leverage what your competitors are doing well and cherry-pick what you think will work for you. This doesn’t necessarily mean copying them—though it might—but you can go after keyword phrases that are similar but don’t have as much competition. Competitive analysis will also help you keep an eye on the market and aid your traditional keyword brainstorming efforts. The All-In-One SEO tools we mentioned above (SEMRush and Moz) offer tools that allow you to track and monitor selected competitors SERP ranking and keywords. Use those tools—or dig in to your direct competitor sites—to find keywords that will work well for your efforts.
#3 | Guerrilla Style Keyword Research
So you can brainstorm keywords, stalk your competition, OR use the internet to stalk your customers. These methods go straight to the source, the consumer or the searcher—depending on what service or product you’re sharing. The only drawback to these methods is that you might find yourself copy/pasting and curating an entire keyword list in a file -> then importing it into your database. Not bad though!
Use Amazon & EBay Search Queries
Don’t forget that you can go online to Amazon and use their powerful search tools for your own means. The auto-populating feature is nice to see what some of the most popular search terms are within your topic/content area. Start typing some keywords that you think you might use and see what the interwebz shares with you!
EXAMPLES: If you are a local footwear retailer, you could use the Amazon search bar to find long-form keyword phrases. Don’t just use men’s or women’s footwear. Be specific with the type or with seasonal search terms.. (i.e. men’s winter footwear, women’s cold weather waterproof boots)
Use The Google Search Bar
Don’t forget—we can do the same with the Google or Bing Search Bar. Start typing keywords that closely match your business/site and see how other searchers finish those queries. You can also use sources like Google Trends to see how searches have performed over time.
EXAMPLE: You could use the Google Search Bar to generate ideas and examples of how people search for “Shampoo With Lavendar…”
What do you think? Go try it for yourself? https://www.google.com/
Now What?? Keep Track of Your Keywords
Now that you have some keywords—you want to use a tool to manage them and track their performance. If you’re using a paid service like SEMRush or Moz—keeping track of your keywords for a website campaign is super convenient. If you’re not—it can still be super convenient. With Google Adwords—you can import keywords you find directly into your website campaign. That’s awesome! Paid OR Free—we can track all of our website keywords.
So as you find keywords—make sure you save them in a central location. This unified location will help you to manage and review your keyword findings and continually optimize them with your site and ad campaigns.
Once you have a list of keywords, you’ll want to do the following:
- Choose target keywords for each of your pages. Focus on the best ones for each page. (i.e. All natural hair conditioner with lavendar)
- Once you have selected target keywords for specific pages, you’ll want to work those keywords (aka keyword phrases) into your page titles, Heading 1’s <h1>, and into your page content. A note with page content, don’t over stuff your content with all of the keywords you can come up with. Make sure you implement them in an organic and reasonable fashion. The text should be conversational and readable to your human visitors—but don’t worry—those keywords will also be found by search engines. Using appropriate keywords in your page’s URL is also helpful in SEO ranking.
- Monitor your pages and keyword success to continue to improve search results placement and grow web traffic. Make sure you keep the titles, descriptions, and content on your pages as unique as possible. FOR EXAMPLE: If you are an auto shop—you can focus on different parts and services in different sections of your sites to land different types of searchers and queries. Don’t just slap “auto parts” all over every page. It will register as duplicate content among search engines—and will cannibalize your individual pages successes.
From here, it’s important to track progress, rinse, repeat, and continue to optimize your web content. As well as to generate new content.
Keyword Research can be time consuming at first—but given the right tools and knowing what to look for will help with time-savings and improve your search rankings tremendously. From the beginning—get set up with Google Adwords (free) or one of the others—and start logging and tracking all of your keywords and pages. This way you won’t get caught in a repeating pattern of looking for your old keywords and wasting time not knowing where to start.
Turn your keyword research into a monthly routine, along with routine web maintenance like checking on your sitemap, updating sliders, or whatever else you do. Something like this:
- Log in to Google Analytics
- Review traffic trends and sources
- Review keyword performance
- Review data from other SEO Tools dashboards
- Find best performing keywords
- Optimize content for best performing keywords
BUILD ON YOUR SUCCESSES! Focus on what you’re site is doing right and nail those. Have a focused plan going in every month—optimize for specific landing pages on your site.
A Few Final Notes
Start Small. If you’re doing SEO and keyword research on your own—start small. Choose the keywords that make the most sense for your business and try a spread of 10 or so—but no more than 20. Use those as your pilot test and when you see which are performing the best, focus on even fewer until you start improving your score.
Be As Specific As Possible.
The more specific you can be when you research keywords for SEO—the more refined your resulting visitors will be. This means engaged visitors with higher conversion rates. While it’s good to get a lot of traffic—and traffic on its own helps with general SEO—it’s important that you’re finding the audience that will convert and engage with your content or products.
Be A Multiple Threat.
Keywords are important—but they are just one part of your SEO Success. You need to have your BIG 4 in place, generate new content (blogs/news) often, build backlinks, get LOTS of social media engagement and mentions, have a strong technical SEO score, and more.
Improving your site ranking takes time. Keep at it. If you love what you do—that’s not going to change in 6 months, you’re just going to continue to learn more and more about it and hone your craft.
If you’re looking for help getting started or managed services, contact us for a special introductory offer. Leave a comment below or direct message us if you have any questions or other insights that you have!
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next installment of IGNITE YOUR SEO where we’ll discuss your SEO workflow, routine checkins, and the management tools to help save you time.