Keywords, Keywords, Keywords, we just can’t get enough keywords sometimes. Keyword research is an integral part of the SEO process and acts as one of the foundational building blocks when you start any SEO campaign. Keyword research is not just done once but throughout the lifespan of any SEO campaign. They need to be regularly re-tweaked and re-evaluated to drive the kind of results you want in your organic traffic.
Today I am going to talk about five tools I use to nail down my keyword selections and how I tweak my keywords throughout a campaign.
Here is a tool that probably everyone in the world of digital marketing uses, the good ole Google Analytics. This nifty tool offers you a whole plethora of information about your website that is invaluable to any serious digital marketer.
How do I use it?
I like to get a quick glance of the keyword data in my organic traffic view. This gives me some information on how well some of my targeted keywords are doing. I know the dreaded “not provided” and his evil brother “not set” can be a bummer to any SEO, but it is still a good point of reference to look at the other words popping up in your keyword data list. I check the list and usually for a timetable of at least one year to get a good sample size of data for how long well my keywords have been doing. I look to see if the keywords I have been targeting in my campaign appear on this list, and if there are keywords that are being used to find my site’s landing pages that I was not targeting. Both the former and the latter will tell you if you need to tweak
Both the former and the latter will tell you if you need to tweak your selected keywords. If you do not see your targeted keyword show up in a year’s worth of data, then it may be time to change your strategy because that keyword is not gaining you the traffic and results you want. If it was the latter then you already see a better keyword to target your page around, and can make the adjustment accordingly.
You should always look at your landing page data as well. See which pages are getting the most traffic to your site. You can conclude a lot from this pool of data.
- If a product page is getting the most traffic, you can conclude that this product needs to be emphasized more
- If a blog post is gaining the most traffic, then you can conclude that blog content is the driving force of traffic to your site
- If the homepage is the main driving force of traffic, it can be concluded that branded keywords could be the driving force
You can draw these kinds of conclusions to see what has worked and what has not worked for your campaign so far. This will give you a good knowledge bank on how to proceed forward. You can also get more data by setting keyword as your secondary dimension and seeing what pops up. If you see most traffic coming from keywords “not set” and “not provided” then you need to form your conclusions.
Acquisition –> All Traffic –> Channels –> Organic Search –> Primary Dimension: Keyword & Primary Dimension: Landing Pages
Google Webmaster Tools
I like to use Google Webmaster Tools and check out the query data that is available when I have decided to spend a longer period analyzing my keyword data.
Neil Patel has a great article titled: “Know The Difference Between Queries and Keywords and What To Do About It.”
Marketers use Keywords
Users use Queries
You could get this data in Google Analytics if you were able to link your Google Analytics account with its Google Webmaster account you can see your query data using the following steps.
Google Analytics –> Acquisition –> Search Engine Optimization –> Queries
Here you are given probably a much larger data set than your keyword data. You get a good chest of information here from what searchers are searching for. How I like to look at this information.
- Impressions: I like to filter down to impressions to see what opportunities exist out there. This will also give me good insight on whether or not people search anything remotely close to the keyword I am targeting. Also taking a gander at some of the longer phrases used in these searches to develop content for blogs, or give more depth to my existing pages.
- Clicks: This tells me what queries are driving some traffic to my site.
- Avg. Position: This data is important because when I compare this to my impressions and clicks its good to see how far a user traveled to even get a sight of my URL in search results. If you are noticing people are seeing your URL after going to page 2, then there is opportunity to plan out your keyword strategy. Anyone seeing your URL on page 2 is apparently not getting what they want on page 1.
Use query data to gather insights on how searchers actually search. If you notice longer queries in your analysis than you already have an idea on what content to produce next, and how to beef up your existing content with more information that fits what users are looking for.
Keyword Tool I.O
Keywordtool.io is a cool tool, and I like it because it gives you ideas that tools like keyword planner does not give you.
Keyword Tool will help you discover thousands of the new longtail keywords related to the topic that you specify by automatically generating Google’s auto suggestions. The auto suggestions will be generated based on the Google domain and language that you choose.”
As you can see from their description, the objective is to give you ideas for long-tail keywords. The great thing about this tool is that it puts words before and after your searched term. The results you get from this tool can give you many ideas because you get a whole dataset of words being searched around your term.
How I Like To Use It:
If you are starting any SEO campaign, you are working with clients who are dealing with some product or service. I like to take a small and broad category from their industry and see what results pop up.
- If you were working in real estate, a common theme you might deal with is “home mortgage” just throw this broad term into keyword.io and see what you get.
The results you get already provides a good bank of information for you to work with. Bare in mind, this snapshot is only from the broad term with the letters “h” and “i” after it. So, from this small list you can already see a few topics you can build content around.
- Home mortgage how much can I afford
- Home mortgage interest calculator
- home mortgage for disabled persons
These three suggestions are already very idea points to think off of. If you have not tried Keyword.io yet, you should give it a shot.
I just started using SEMRush for stuff other than my competitor research and discovered I really enjoyed using their keyword research data. I recently started using keyword planner to tweak my keywords for existing campaigns. I would take my already existing targeted keywords and throw them into SEMRush. From here I would look at the phrase match report and see what shows up. I get a quick snapshot of essential insights to consider like search volume and competitiveness.
After 6-12months I think it is time for any SEO to really evaluate how all their keywords are doing and try to understand what you can do to improve on those keywords. When I first started doing SEO, I was fixated on broad terms and the appeal of huge volume keywords, and I learned the hard way that getting ranked for broad terms on limited resources might not be the best course of action to take due to how competitive it was to rank.
SEMRush’s phrase match report gives you suggestions on how to make your targeted keywords even longer and longer keywords might not have as much search volume but, you might have a better chance of getting some traffic from the longer version of the word and it’s been proven that longer tail keywords convert better.
SEMRush also has a related keywords report available which seem to be a good place to gather even more ideas.
Ahrefs Content Explorer
I am always looking for new tools to use and Ahrefs’ content explorer is becoming a tool I come for reference more often for long tail keywords and big content ideas. It allows you to search using a keyword your type in, and the results will be viral content has been made around the topic you are planning to write about. This gives you a good point of reference for what content has worked and what you are up against if you were to write something similar. If you have not come up with your idea yet, just type in a broad term, and see what has been written about that specific topic that people cared enough about to share on their social media outlets.
Brian Dean wrote a great article about the skyscraper technique and provided a case study that I often reference back to.
3 Steps The Skyscraper Technique
- Find Link Worthy Content
- Make It Even Better
- Reach Out To the Right People’
The previous tools I mentioned already gives you some ideas for long-tail content. If you think any of the suggestions are a winner, throw the long tail term into content explorer and see what already exists on the net about it. Observe the results from content explorer, the headlines of the most shared articles and you can filter by the main social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, Google + and Linkedin. See which piece of content was the most successful, and piece those together to make an even better article to build around your long-tail keyword.