One of the things I have learned after a decade of working within the SEO space is that the longer you spend researching a project the better your chances of succeeding. That included Keyword Research, which in most cases is done quick, sloppy and wrong either because the SEO in charge is not entirely sure how the process works and picks keywords that are not even near the keywords that the company needs or will ever rank. Another really common mistake is the company decision of competing against the no1. For example, if you just opened a clothing store online and you do your keyword research as if you are about to compete with ASOS and The Iconic.
All things equal those would be the perfect websites to take some advice and maybe try to compete after you have some years in the market. Depending, of course, the situation but SEO is a process that takes time and you can’t, not by following the rules at least, compete with sites that have a decent domain authority around a specific keyword as soon as you hatch out of your egg. You need time and proper research to reach some levels of competition but here is the good part.
With proper keyword research you can rank no1 for a whole lot of keywords and gain Organic Traffic that would work better than most head keywords your “no1 competitors” are ranking for.
What do I mean by that?
The majority of people are hunting down something called “Head Keywords”.
What’s a head keyword?
Head keywords or head terms are keywords that consists usually by one or two words and that produce a high volume of traffic.
Even though there is nothing wrong by optimising for head keywords, depending the situation, it might be more beneficial to target keywords that are long-tail.
What’s a long tail keyword?
Long tail keywords are keywords that usually consist of three, four or even more keywords within each query which are very specific to the product or service your business is selling or providing. Case studies prove that users start their search journey with head keywords and when they are ready to buy they are mostly searching with long tail keywords which makes them more valuable for your business.
How to find long tail keywords?
Easier said than done right? well there are quite a few ways to find what people are looking for within your industry. Some of them are so easy that you will be amazed that you never thought of them.
Search within your own website.
If your website has a search functionality then you could find some ideas about which keywords you can target by checking your internal search queries. If you are unsure where to find those then do not worry, Google Analytics got you covered.
Inside your Google Analytics account find Behavior and click on Site Search > Search Terms. Try to find anything that looks like a long tail keyword (look above) and note it down.
Keyword Research Tools
There are quite a few keyword research tools these days and every SEO software company that doesn’t have one is working on it.
I am fanatically daily user of some of those tools as I never create anything without a proper keyword research first.
SEMrush is probably one of the best tools for the work partially because they have been playing the keyword game longer than most and for another part because they listen to their community thus they have perfected their tool in almost every possible way.
It’s very simple to start your keyword research inside SEMrush and I usually do it by starting with a head keyword as a seed. That will return all the information I need to know about the keyword such as organic search, trend for the past 12 months, cpc, competitors.
For the above example, I used the keyword “Men Shoes” as a seed keyword which in return gave me thousands of phrase match keywords (keywords that contain the seed keywords within them in different order) and also thousands of related keywords that you could use. Within those two sections you will find a plethora of long tail keywords that you could use for your targeting.
Ahrefs is another great tool for research and even though most will know it for its backlink research tool, Ahrefs provides an amazing Keyword Research Tool called Keyword Explorer which gives a totally new perspective of keyword analysis.
Pretty much the process starts the same way as SEMrush, by providing a head keyword and then researching the results. The great thing about Ahrefs is that being the authority around the backlinks subject they provide you with information such as how many backlinks you need in order to rank for the given term.
Another amazing new feature of their tool is the “With Clicks” section. Given the fact that a lot of search results now rich snippets, knowledge graphs etc a user might not click on a result but get the information he or she needs from just being in the index. Ahrefs calculates that possibility and returns a more realistic click ratio depending on the SERP.
Google Search Console (formerly known as Webmaster Tools)
Google also provides an amazing resource when it comes down to keyword research. Knowing how your users find your pages can help you in many ways and one of them is keyword research.
Log in to your Search Console, select the property associated with your website and go to search traffic and then search analytics. If you are trying to find keywords for a specific page then select Pages from the new menu that popped up in the main content of your page. Find the specific web page of your site you are more interested in and select queries to find out how people find it when they search.
There are hundreds of ways to find long tail keywords for your Keyword Research but there is always a unique parameter that needs the human factor. User Intent.
In order for your keyword research to be successful, you need to identify the user intent behind each keyword. Is the person typing this query looking to buy something or just want information about something? in few words, are they going to buy or are they going to bounce?
Identifying user intent is not always as easy at it seems and depending on your business it could make a huge difference.
But this is a story of another time!
Hope you found this article useful. More to come soon!