Keyword research is the foundation of any SEO campaign because in order to generate visitors to your website through search engine results you must first determine what they are searching for within your area of business. The results of this research should then be considered when building the structure of your website to deciding on your Alt text and everything in between. In this search engine marketing guide, we’re going to run through the keyword research and the process of how to find out exactly what keywords your target market is searching for.
We then take a look at the relevant competition and analyse the websites already ranking for that keyword or phrase. The insight from this competitor research will reveal further opportunities to rank.
SEO Metrics & Their Meaning:
- Search Volume – The number of times a keyword is searched for online (often displayed p/m).
- Rankings – The position of the website in the organic results.
- Organic Traffic – How many visitors a site receives per month from search engines.
- Backlinks – Links from other websites. Read our backlink guide here.
- Referring Domains – The number of websites that link to a site.
- Page Authority – A Moz metric that uses inbound links to a page to determine the strength (and likely ranking probability) of that web page.
- Domain Authority – A Moz metric that uses total links to a domain to determine its authority (and likely ranking probability).
- URL Rating – A metric from Ahrefs that measures the strength of a web page and the likelihood that webpage will rank.
- Domain Rating – Domain Rating is a metric from Ahrefs that shows the strength of a target website’s total backlink profile.
- Trust Flow – A metric from Majestic that predicts how trustworthy a page is judging by how many topically related websites are also linking to it.
- Citation Flow – Citation flow is a metric from Majestic that predicts how influential a webpage might be based on the links going to it.
Starting Your Keyword Research
Now that we have familiarity with the SEO tools and their respective metrics, the next step is actually looking at the keywords we want to rank for. There are two kinds of keywords and phrases to consider, the first are ‘buyer intent’, searches for exactly what you sell or offer, and the other is ‘research intent’ which includes searches related to your product or industry. To begin, we start with our primary or ‘seed keywords’. These will work as a base for your keyword research as they broadly define the niche and competition. From there we look for secondary ‘child’ and ‘longtail’ keywords which are also being searched for.
As an example, if we were looking to sell face cream online, we would first create a table that looks like the one below:
Finding New Keyword Opportunities
Once you have your seed keywords, there are multiple tools and methods to assist you in finding the child and long-tail keywords that you can optimise your website effectively for:
Google and Bing – You can use the search engines themselves to find keywords and phrases that people are typing in when looking for your product or service. Simply start with your seed keyword, scroll down to the bottom of the page and make a note of the related searches. Then look at the related searches of the related searches and so forth, until you have found as many as applicable.
Google Keyword Planner – Google provides a keyword planner for their AdWords customers which we can use for SEO purposes. Simply create an AdWords account if you don’t have one already. Once logged in, the keyword planner is available under the ‘planning’ subheading in the toolbar. From here you will need to select the ‘find new keywords’ option. Enter in the keywords on your list that you found through the Google related searches and save the new keywords that Google suggests. Be sure to then run all these keywords through the ‘metrics and forecasts’ tool also found in the Google Keyword Planner as get their monthly search volumes. Ideally, you will also want to do a Google search of each of the keywords and make a note of the top 3-5 ranking URLs – we will be using them later.
Google Search Console – If your website is already established, then chances are you are already ranking deep in the index for loads of long tail keywords that your content isn’t properly optimised for. With a few minor tweaks, you could see a big jump in your rankings and traffic.
Answer the Public – Answer the Public is a great tool that generates questions based around your root keyword. Great for finding new keywords opportunities which you can also put into Google and look at the related searches for.
Ahrefs & SEMrush – Use Ahrefs and Semrush to find out which keywords your competitors are ranking for. Simply input the URL of their ranking page into the organic research section and add any new keywords to your spreadsheet.
Our team of specialists at Gorilla Marketing have years of combined experience of the SEO tools and tactics for keyword research and use a combination to ensure the best results. All our work is data-driven and we are able to successfully compete for ranking positions on both a local SEO and national scale.
Once we have a comprehensive list of keywords that we need to optimise for, the next step is to carry out competitor research. During keyword compilation, we will have put together the top-ranking web pages for each of our keywords. We now want to put together a second, separate table for our competitors that looks like so:
If we have populated the list above with our competitors, we’re then able to make good judgement calls on what is required from a content and SEO perspective going forward. Obviously the higher the numbers that you place in the table above, the more that is going to be required to rank for those keywords.
After carefully looking at the layout, content and site structure of your competitors, as well as having your full keyword list – it is good practice to group keywords together to assist with planning content pieces.
It is a good idea to group them by their parent topic and ensure plenty of LSI keywords are together to stop cannibalization. Furthermore, you want to ensure that ‘intent’ focused keywords such as ‘buy’ and ‘cheap’ are grouped together as much as possible.