August 05, 2019

Keyword Research: The Ultimate Guide [2019]

This is the ultimate guide to keyword research and SEO in 2019.

In this detailed guide I’ll answer:
  • What does keyword research mean?
  • How do you do keyword research?
  • How to choose the right keywords?
  • How to use keyword research tools
  • How important is keyword research?
  • What is the best keyword research tool?
  • How do I generate keywords for SEO?

and lots more.

So if you wish to rank higher on Google Search and drive in more traffic to your blog, you’ll love this guide.

Let’s get started.

Keyword Research and SEO
Keyword Research and SEO

Overview:


Keyword Research Basics

To learn about Keyword Research one must have a clear idea of its fundamental properties.
To do keyword research you must know what is keyword research? Why is keyword research important for a site's SEO?
I'll add my practical experiences concerning my site's growth using Keyword Research.

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is the process of discovering words and phrases that people use in search engines with the ultimate goal of optimizing content around those terms.

Importance of Keyword Research in SEO

Keyword research affects every other SEO task that you perform, including finding topics for contents, on-page SEO, and outreach and promotion.

That’s why keyword research is usually the first step of any SEO campaign.

Put another way:

Keywords are like a compass for your SEO campaigns: they indicate the direction you should approach and whether or not you’re making progress.

As a bonus, researching keywords help you figure out the thoughts, fears, and desires of your target market. That’s because keywords research gives you tremendous insight into what potential customers searching for… and the exact words and phrases that they use.

How Keyword Research Helped My Site’s Traffic Grow?

Today, my site generates 2,800 visitors every month:

Number of visitors
Number of visitors

And 1,820 of those visitors (65.7%) come from Google:

Organic Traffic
Organic Traffic

Obviously, there are a lot of factors that went into my site’s growth with SEO, including content I publish, on-page optimization, link building and technical SEO.

But the #1 factor that contributed to my site’s traffic growth was keyword research.



For example:

A few months ago I used the strategies from this guide to uncover an awesome, low-competition keyword: infinite amp blogger template.

And I created a piece of SEO-optimized content around that term: Infinite AMP Responsive Blogger Template.

Because that keyword wasn’t super competitive, my site quickly hit the #2 spot in Google:

ranking-on-google-search
Ranking on Google Search

And thanks to that #2 ranking, that single page brings in hundreds of visitors from Google every month:

Traffic Landing Page
Traffic Landing Page

How to Find Keyword Ideas?

Now it’s time to get into the depth of keyword research. Specifically, it’s time to generate a list of keywords. In this part, I’m going to show you proven strategies that you can use to come up with keyword ideas.

Let’s dive right in.

Brainstorm a List of Topics

Here’s where you come up with topics that your target visitor is interested in. For example, let’s say that you run a digital marketing agency. You'd definitely be concerned about: ”What topics do people search for that are related to my business?”

Some topics that come to mind would be things like:
  • Website traffic
  • Social media
  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • PPC
Note: They aren’t keywords. They’re broad topics that you’ll ultimately use to dig in to find specific keywords.

Use Google and YouTube Suggest

Now that you have a list of topics, type each one of them into Google.

Google Search Backlink Checker
Google Search Backlink Checker

Check the terms that Google automatically suggests you.

Google Search Results
Google Search Results

These are great keywords to add to your list. Why?

Simply because if you see Google is suggesting you a keyword, you should make it out that people are searching for it on Google.

You can implement the same idea on Youtube suggest as well:

YouTube Search Results
YouTube Search Results

"Searches Related To"

Another interesting way to find keywords is to check out the “Searches Related to” section at the bottom of Google’s search results.

For instance, let’s say one of your topics was “backlink maker” and you'd want to search for that keyword on Google. Once searched, scroll down to the bottom of the page. You’ll find a couple of keywords that are closely related to your search term.

Searches Related To Results
Searches Related To Results

Just like with Google Suggest, these are keyword ideas that come straight from Google. So you don’t need to guess whether or not they’re popular. Google is actually telling you: “Hey! A huge number of people search for these keywords.”

Find Keywords on Reddit

Reddit is a popular forum. That is an undeniable fact. Have you ever imagines that forum can actually serve a lot more purpose by building your keyword research? Did you ever give this a thought?
Let’s say that you run a site that sells mobile accessories. You’d run into Reddit. Then search for a broad topic that your target audience is interested in… and something related to what you sell.

Search on Reddit
Search on Reddit

Then, go for the subreddit which you expect your audience to visit frequently:

Subreddit Search
Subreddit Search

Finally, check the one thread that has the maximum number of comments:

Reddit Popular Thread
Reddit Popular Thread

In this case, you’d add “avenger images” to your keyword ideas list.

There is an awesome tool that extracts common words and phrases from a subreddit with a free keyword tool called “Keyworddit”. Check what I got when I searched for "gaming".

Keyworddit
Keyworddit

Wikipedia Table of Contents

Wikipedia is a much-neglected chest of niche research. You'll have a hard time scratching your head and find so well-curated articles with such awesome categorisation. So how to exploit the facility?

Here’s how to use Wikipedia to find keyword ideas.

First, head over to Wikipedia and type in a broad keyword:

Wikipedia Search
Wikipedia Search

That will take you to the Wikipedia entry for that broad topic.

Then, look for the “contents” section of the page. This section lists out the subtopics covered on that page.

Wikipedia Contents
Wikipedia Contents

You might find some related keywords within the table of contents.

You can also click on some of the internal links on the page to check out the "See Also", closely related entries.

Wikipedia See Also Links
Wikipedia See Also Links
This list is lit! The keywords are all linked somehow or the other to the query initially made.

Find Popular Topics Using Forums

Forums are like having live focus groups at your fingertips 24×7.

You can easily locate your target audience forums using the following search strings on Google Search:
  • “keyword forum”
  • “keyword” + “forum”
  • “keyword” + “forums”
  • “keyword” + “board”

Once you find a forum, note how the forum is divided up into sections: Each of these sections is potential keywords that you can add to your list.

XDA Developers Forum
XDA Developers Forum

To dig deeper, check out some of the threads on the forum to find other specific topics that your target audience struggles with.

Keyword Research Tools

Keyword Research is made possible by a variety of ways. One way can be simple manual methods, the other, by using tools.

Manual methods include strict observations and require high labour. Tools, on the other hand, make the work more efficient and accurate.

Following are a few tools which I personally work with to get help on keyword research.



The Google Keyword Planner

Google’s Keyword Planner is the most reliable source of keyword information online.

Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner

That’s because, unlike most other tools, the data you get from the Keyword Planner come straight from Google.

(So you know they’re accurate)

The big downside of the Google Keyword Planner is that it’s designed to help people with their Google ad campaigns… not with SEO.

That said, you can still use the Google Keyword Planner to get lists of keyword ideas.

Keyword Ideas
Keyword Ideas

Also, find search queries that get lots of searches.

Keywords Everywhere

Keywords Everywhere might be my favourite free keyword research tool.

Why?

Because it shows you keyword ideas from different places around the web (including YouTube, Bing and Google Analytics).

Keywords Everywhere
Keywords Everywhere

All you need to do is install the Chrome extension. And the next time you visit one of the sites that Keywords Everywhere integrates with, you’ll see a list of keyword ideas… and data on each keyword.

Keywords Details
Keywords Details

SEMrush

If you want to invest in a paid keyword tool, I highly recommend SEMrush because it is a huge time-saver.

Here’s why...

Instead of popping random keywords into a tool, SEMrush shows you the exact keywords that a site already ranks for.

So if you have a site that you’re competing against in Google, just pop it into SEMrush.

SEMrush Search
SEMrush Search

And steal all of their keywords.

Organic Keywords
Organic Keywords

Ahrefs

Most people see Ahrefs as a link building tool. Unfortunately, not most of the people out there know it's utility. What’s nice about Ahrefs “Keyword Explorer” is that you get a ton of helpful data on each keyword.

Ahrefs Keyword Research
Ahrefs Keyword Research

Which can help you decide whether or not it’s a keyword that’s worth going after?

The only drawback that I came across is that it's not great a coming up with new keyword ideas. It usually generates keywords that are just simple variations of the keyword I typed in.

Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest was first Google suggest scraper that I used. And last year the tool got a massive upgrade and overhaul.

Ubersuggest
Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest still generates keyword ideas from Google’s search suggestions. But it also gives you data on each keyword (like search volume, CPC, keyword difficulty and more).

Keyword Ideas
Keyword Ideas

Keyword Difficulty

If you choose a super competitive keyword, you can find your site buried at the bottom Google’s third page. But if you can find a keyword without a ton of competition, you have a good chance of cracking the top 3.

With that said, here’s how to figure out a keyword’s SEO difficulty.

Keyword Category Division
Keyword Category Division

Long Tails Are (Usually) Less Competitive

If you have started an all-new blog, it is a good practice to target less competitive keywords. I would recommend going for Long Tail Keywords.

Why? Let's look into it in detail.

Majority of bloggers who deal with the SEO, usually divide keywords into 3 main parts: the head terms, the body party and the (long) tail.


Keyword category division

Here’s a breakdown of each keyword type:

1. Head Terms
These are usually single-word keywords with lots of search volume and competition.

Examples of head terms are keywords like “loans” or “mortgage”. Because searcher intent is all over the place (someone searching for “loans” might be looking for a house loan, a list of easy loan providing companies or a definition of the word).

Head Terms usually don’t convert very well.

2. Body Keywords

Body keywords are 2-3 word phrases that get decent search volume (at least two to three thousand searches per month) but are more specific than Head Keywords.

Keywords like “house loan” or “mortgage applications” are examples of Body Keywords.

They have less competition than Head Terms.

3. Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are long, 4+ word phrases that are usually very specific. Phrases like “apply for house loan at less interest” and “mortgage calculator based on earning” are examples of long-tail keywords.

These terms don’t get a lot of search volume individually (usually around two hundred searches per month). But when you add them together, long tails make up the majority of searches online. Since they don’t get searches for that much, long-tail terms usually aren’t very competitive.

There’s no “best” keyword category to focus on. All the above have their pros and cons.

But when it comes to competition, long tails are usually the least competitive of the bunch.

Authority of Sites on Google’s First Page

Here’s a quick way to evaluate a keyword’s competition level.

First, do a Google search for your keyword. Then, look at the sites ranking on the first page.

Keyword Competitiveness
Keyword Competitiveness

If the first page is made up of high authority sites (like Wikipedia), then you might want to cross that keyword off from your list:

High Authority Sites
High Authority Sites

But, if you find few smaller blogs on page 1, that’s a sign that you have a shot to hit the first page too.

Keyword Difficulty Inside of Keyword Tools

The majority of keyword research tools have some sort of keyword competition feature, including SEMRush, Ahrefs, KWFinder and Moz Pro.

I find that they all reshape keyword difficulty based on a combination of page authority and domain authority. So they all tend to come up with the same competition numbers.

Thus you can simply work on a single tool and find out keyword difficulty.

CanIRank

There is an entirely different tool dedicated to sorting out keyword difficulty: CanIRank.

CanIRank
CanIRank

What I like about this tool is that it doesn’t just spit out a keyword difficulty number. CanIRank is the first SEO software using AI to give you specific action recommendations rather than just data.

How to Choose a Keyword?

Unfortunately, there’s no tool out there that will tell you: “This is the best keyword on your list”.
Instead, you need to size up each keyword based on a handful of different factors. Then, pick the keyword that’s the best fit for your business.

As you might expect, that’s exactly what I’m going to show you how to do in this chapter.



Search Volume

Search Volume, in the literal sense, refers to the number of searches made by users on a particular keyword.

But, it is a variable quantity that depends on the Keyword Searched.

For example, a long tail keyword in the insurance niche (like: “insurance companies in India”) gets up to 10K searches per month.

But a long tail keyword in a B2B space like digital marketing (like: “best SEO software”) only gets 100-1K monthly searches.

Clicks and Impressions
Clicks and Impressions

That’s why you want to figure out what a “high” and “low” search volume number is in your niche.

Then, choose keywords based on what’s normal for your industry.

Organic Click-Through-Rate

It’s a transparent truth that the number of Google searches that click on an organic search result is way down.

Google – Organic CTR
Google – Organic CTR

Post introduction of Featured Snippets, viewers receive their answers by not even visiting the site. Also, Google Ads eat up the top position like never before.

Google Ads and Featured Snippets
Google Ads and Featured Snippets

Search Volume is not the ultimate indicator of Keywords Ranking, what plays is the Organic Click Through Rate.

Here are two simple ways to do it:

First, you can look at the SERPs (Search Engine Result Page) for your keyword.

If you see a lot of stuff on the first page (like a Featured Snippet and multiple Google Adwords ads), then you know that you’re not going to get a ton of clicks, even if you rank #1.

Second, you can use any tool like Ahrefs and Moz Pro, as both estimate organic CTR.

Having said that, I wouldn’t neglect a keyword just because it has a low CTR. If lots of people search for that term, it might still be worth going after.



Difficulty

As I've mentioned before, if you're site is new (or doesn’t have a ton of links yet), target low-competition terms at first. Then, as your site grows in authority, you can start to target more competitive stuff.

For example:

When I first launched TechGyd by Sukalyan, I targeted almost 100% long-tail keywords (like: “how to flash custom ROMs”).

Since I didn’t have a ton of sites to compete with, I was able to crack the first page within a few weeks.

CPC

Search volume is nice but if the person searching for that keyword is broke, then there’s worthless targeting that term.

Also, you may sometimes get a great return on investment from a keyword that doesn’t get that many searches if the CPC(Cost Per Click) is high enough.

For example, one of my target keywords is “off-page SEO checklist”.

According to the Google Keyword Planner, this keyword gets around 100-1000 searches per month.

Off-Page SEO checklist
Off-Page SEO checklist

So if I only looked at search volume, I’d say: “This is a horrible keyword”. But it’s super important to also look at CPC.

The CPC on that keyword is $16.5.

Which means that people are spending $16.5 every time someone searches for that keyword clicks on an ad. So even though the search volume for that term isn’t that high, the CPC more than makes up for it.

Based on CPC (and the fact that the keyword wasn’t super competitive) I decided to create content optimized around that term.



Keyword Trends

Finally, you want to see if your keyword is growing fast or lagging slow. The best way to do that? Google Trends.

For example, last month I was considering the keyword: “blogger templates”. But I decided to check that keyword into Google Trends before pulling the trigger.

As you can see, interest in that keyword is growing fast.

Google Trends – Blogger Template
Google Trends – Blogger Template

Which is why I optimized this page around that term.

Blogger Template SEO study
Blogger Template SEO study

Even though that piece of content only brings in about 100+ daily search engine visitors, the trend tells me that traffic to this post should increase over time.

Advanced Tips and Strategies

Now that you’ve mastered the basics of keyword research, it’s time to cover some cool advanced stuff. Specifically, I’m going to reveal a bunch of tactical keyword research tips that you can implement right away.

So without further delay, let’s dive right into the tips.

Google Search Console Keyword Research

The Google Search Console is a huge stock of keyword ideas. How? Let's find out.
First, log in to your Google Search Console account and head over to the “Performance Report”.

GSC Performance report
GSC Performance report

This report shows you the terms that bring in the most clicks from Google search.

GSC Performance links
GSC Performance links

Then, sort the list by “Impressions”.

Sort by Impression
Sort by Impression

This shows you keywords that get lots of impressions but not necessarily clicks.

Clicks vs. Impressions
Clicks vs. Impressions

Finally, create a piece of content optimized around that same keyword.

Why is this a powerful strategy?

These are keywords that you know people are searching for. You also know that Google sees your site as a good fit in the search results.

You just need to publish content that’s solely focused on that specific keyword and you’re all done.

Barnacle SEO

Let’s say that you found the exact keyword and you rank in the top 3 for that term. But is that all?
As it turns out, you can get even more traction from that keyword with Barnacle SEO. Barnacle SEO is the practice of using other sites’ authority to rank on the first page.

If you find an amazing keyword, you want to take up as much first-page real estate as you can.

First, create content on that topic on your own site. Then, publish keyword-optimized content on authority sites, like YouTube, LinkedIn, Medium and more.

Optimize Content around Synonyms and Related Keywords

You can get even more search engine traffic to your page by optimizing it around synonyms and closely related terms.

I'll explain how this works.

A few weeks back I wrote an article about Google RankBrain, it now ranks on the first page of Google, when the search query is "google rankbrain 2019 definitive guide".

google rankbrain 2019 ultimate guide
Google RankBrain 2019 Definitive Guide

However, when the query is "google rankbrain 2019 ultimate guide" it still ranks up in the same first page. The position does vary though.

google rankbrain 2019 definitive guide
Google RankBrain 2019 Ultimate Guide

Thus try to use similar words and punch them together in the meta description.

Ahrefs Content Gap

Content Gap is one of the most liked features from Ahref.

Here’s how it works:

Just like with SEMRush, you can use Ahrefs to see the exact keywords another site ranks for. With Ahrefs Content Gap, you can take this type of competitor analysis to the next level.

Head over to Ahrefs content gap and add 2-3 competing sites.

Ahref Content Gap
Ahref Content Gap
This will show you keywords that at least two of your competitors rank for but you don’t.

Competitor Keywords
Competitor Keywords

Since multiple competitors rank for these terms, you know that you also have a good chance of cracking the top 10.

Analyze Keywords Based on Searcher Intent

To understand Searcher Intent, try and think what would you have wanted to search based on a particular keyword?

Whether they are looking for any product to purchase, they are searching or specific information or, they are subscribing to any offer!

Types of user intent
Types of user intent

If the Searcher Intent is “Navigational”, then you may want to avoid that term, even if it has great CPC and monthly search volume numbers.

But, if Searcher Intent is “Informational”, then a piece of content optimized around that term could do great.

Find “Shoulder Keywords”

It is a natural practice for the majority of the bloggers out there to optimize their site around the product they are willing to sell. But for two major reasons that turn out to be a big mistake.
  1. Keywords that are used by people to know about any product are usually excessively competitive.
  2. There are thousands of keywords that your potential customer searches for when they’re not searching for that you sell.
And if you can get in front of your customer with an awesome piece of content, chances are highly likely they would buy from you down the road.

For instance, as I mentioned earlier, I run a blogging tutorial-based company. But I don’t optimize every page on my site around commercial terms. (Like “blogging tutorials” and “blogging courses”).



Instead, I rank for keywords that my customers search for when they’re not looking for blogging courses. (Keywords like: “link building”, “SEO” and “blogger templates”).

There are certain keywords which aren’t directly related to what you are selling. Yet those are keywords that your customers search for. Which makes them worth going after. Let's look at the following example:

Assume, you run an eCommerce site that sells cellphone accessories. Obviously, you’d want to optimize some of your pages around terms like “get cellphone accessories online”. But don’t stop there.

In fact, someone interested in cellphone accessories may also search for:
  • How to choose proper back covers
  • How to get offers on mobile prices
  • Chargers for a removable battery
  • How to improve battery life

So you’d want to create content around these “Shoulder Keywords” too.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed going through my new keyword research guide. And now I’d like to read from you. Which tip from today’s guide are you going to try first? Let me know by leaving a quick comment below if you are practising some other tricks as well!

2 comments

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    Replies
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