Keywords and hashtags are key to online and social marketing and it’s really important to make sure the keywords we are using are those our customers are using, not just the marketing department!
Why are Keywords Important
Demand and lead generation strategies are supposed to flag our site or business to customers by presenting them with information that makes them want to learn more about how we can help them, so it’s essential that we speak in their language.
We have to build content around subjects and topics that our customers are searching for, so research is key if our outcomes are to attract readers not just to hit page or post creation targets.
Search engine optimisation has become much more sophisticated over the past few years and ranks sites as much on the relevance and effectiveness of its content, so SEO tools are now useful in the creation of relevant content in the wider context.
How do I start looking for the right keywords
One approach is to look at the words your competitors are using, especially if they rank much higher than you or generate better coverage in social media.
A great tool for this is Ubersuggest from Neil Patel, which looks at what’s popular on a site, which sites are backlinking, and which keywords are the most important.
For any given site, keywords are listed and the site illustrates:
- How many people searched for the keyword
- How the site ranked on google
- How many Visits this would lead to
- The SEO difficulty ( how competitive the keyword is)
The site also has a very good keyword analysis function, which lets you research specific keywords, suggests alternatives and also shows which sites are ranked highest for that specific keyword.
Google Keyword planner is another option, but now you need to have an active ad, which limits its use as a research tool, and there are other options out there.
How to find keywords
Regardless of whether you’re creating content or buying keywords, you will follow a three stage process. Firstly you will compile a list of seedwords which could be used, then prioritise those words based on your chosen criteria.
Create a database of relevant seedwords
If you have an active website or YouTube account, you will be able to see what words you rank for. Tools like ubersuggest or tube buddy are good for this but be careful not to be too focussed on your own words. Just because you rank for a word or phrase doesn’t mean it’s the best, but it does give you a place to start.
Ubersuggest, for example, allows you to see which words are most commonly used to find your site and will show you which words have the most search volume, where you rank for that word and the number of visits.
A low rank and a high volume suggests you need to build your domain authority.
- What words do I rank for? Run a tool such as ubersuggest on your site and find out what words are most commonly associated with your site
- Look at direct competitors sites, are there words there that either they rank better for or that drive traffic that you don’t get?
- Identify thought leaders and repeat for their sites and social content
- Look at the content of thought leaders or the most common videos about your chosen subject and see what words come up most commonly in their tags. Installing Tube buddy on chrome will allow you to see this content.
- From the above, create a list of the words and phrases that outline your business and its competitors online currently
- What are the top 5-10 words or phrases that come up?
- Make 5-10 word buckets based on the above, and use these as seeds for further analysis. The steps you take next will depend on what type of advertising you do.
Identifying keywords for advertising
PPC advertising seeks to position your pages at the top of the page when they are searching with buying or commercial intent. The point here is to find a sweet spot which balances volume, competition and cost. High volume keywords with buying intent tend to be very competitive and expensive, but can be effective if your website is weak.
Keywords that your website is already strong for, i.e. you rank in the top 5 pages are not really worth spending on as you are already top of the page. 30% of people click on the number 1 ranked page for a search term, dropping to below 10% for position 2, dropping down to 3% at the bottom of page 1.
Less than 10% of people click on paid ads, and as it’s a competitive space you are not guaranteed to be presented during a search, so you are much more likely to be clicked on if you are ranked 5th than if you pay fo advertising, so regardless, you should ensure that your page ranks for the same keywords as you advertise for.
Tools like Ubersuggest, KWsurfer and Wordstream‘s free tool are great for this, they will display estimated volume, CPC and competition for a range of variations for your keywords which will allow you to assess what to test for. Once you have created a list, the best way to assess the best words is to test them out.
High volume low competition words are the sweet spot, especially for on page SEO ( which will boost your page ranking in the long term, and if you aren’t doing SEO, the only thing you can guarantee is that your ranking will slip!)
Identify keywords and phrases for content or advertising.
Conduct searches for each of these words and collate ideas and better words depending on your needs. The following list of sources of information will help you, and assumes you have access to the tools listed above. Make a note of ideas or relevant information as you go.
- As you type in the keyword, Google will try to autocomplete the phrase for you. This gives you an idea of the sort of terms that are commonly searched for. Any in purple are ones that you have searched for before.
- Once you have started the search, google will display related searches at the bottom of the page
- Google will also provide two other search options, one called “people also search for” and the other “People also ask”. The former is similar to the autocomplete and related searches, but the latter is a good source of content ideas as it offers questions asked rather than just phrases.
- Look at the kind of content that is being presented back to the user. this will give you a good idea as to the search intent that google attaches to the search phrase. if you are getting shopping or featured snippets, it means google thinks these searches indicate a degree of purchase intent. High levels of ads will also indicate these are buying words or phrases, so searchers would expect a page that helps them complete the transaction. Videos, blog articles, and How to type content infer informational intent, and therefore you should be seeking to inform rather than sell to these customers as they are looking for answers.
- If you have KWsurfer installed, it will tell you the average search volume for your chosen territory and the likely CPC estimate for that phrase. It will also display a list of alternative phrases based on similarity and volume. Remember, high volumes generally mean more competition, and are difficult to rank for.
Where else can I find Keywords and phrases?
At this stage you should have identified one of two things either:
- Your seedwords are the best ones out there.
- There are more effective seedwords than those you had already picked and have replaced some of the words.
It is likely that you will also have picked up some ideas for content that you want to use to move forward from the automatic suggestions Google makes. If not, there are a couple of other places you can go for ideas. For each one, search using your preferred key words and look at what content is returned
Searching for your seedword on youtube will tell you what sort of content is popular. Make a list of the most popular and or interesting titles.
Quora and similar sites.
Searching for a seedword on Quora will give you two things. It will give you a list of popular answers and a list of questions that have been asked and not yet answered. This is both a very rich source of content ideas and a great place to promote them
Forums and groups.
This includes Groups on Linkedin. If you are a member of any industry forums, have a look around for the most asked questions for inspiration.
Answer the Public.
Answer the Public is a great site, as it returns a vast array of long and short tail keywords and phrases that are relevant to a seed word and you can use it to expand on to create content ideas. it returns relevant phrases, questions, and comparisons in a pleasant graphical format.
Google search intent has another useful feature, in that it prioritises the type of content and format that is most popular. The top search results can tell you a lot.
- Are they socially active? if the majority of your search results are on social media rather than websites, then marketing you content on social media would be effective
- Is the most popular content on video, audio, images or text? this might suggest one format will work best for this audience
- What are the most popular pages? Is it top tens or product pages?