Keyword research Tools are critical but the process or the framework to find the best keywords for your website is more important. So for you, here is the framework, I have use to find the gold keywords for my website.
SEO starts at Keyword Research! Period, you would do all things possible to get traffic through google, probably wait for six months too but a bad focus on keywords will land you nowhere! And Keyword research gives you an edge over other Marketers too, a lot too many marketers do not perform keyword research or just do not really go in depth of the subject, (The Volume Lovers).
Brian Dean of Backlinko on the importance of Keyword Research writes, “I’m not exaggerating when I say that without keywords, there’s no such thing as SEO.“
Finally to place the importance of keyword research, in short, its the market research of the modern business era. To make you sail easily through this foundation step of SEO, this is the guide.
This framework is not for everyone, its only for Marketers who are looking at SEO as their primary channel of traffic. This is the highly recommended for Affiliate Marketers.
Note: This guide is only for Keyword research aimed to have organic results, I will post a different framework for PPC. And not even for websites aiming to monetize through Google Ad sense.
If you are in hurry, glance the following picture, it will tell you the story in short, but come back for the detail framework, don’t miss the details, they make a huge difference.
Frequently used Terms
If you are new to SEO, following are the terms you need to know!
What is Keyword Difficulty (KD)?
Ans. Keyword Difficulty is nothing but what are my chances of success (ranking for that specific keyword)
What is Volume?
Ans. Volume is the number of times a particular term was searched in a month
What does Seed keyword mean?
Ans. Seed Keyword are primary keywords, which are not changed or modify the meaning by modifier words. They are the most relevant phrases and keywords to your business
What are long tail keywords?
Ans. Long Tail Keywords are longer but specific queries searched by users on search engines. Around 70% of the searches are long tail keywords, usually a keyword with more than three words is considered as long tail keyword
What is SERP?
Ans. SERP stands for Search Engine Result Page and it is page displayed by search engines to a specific query.
What is Domain Authority?
Ans. Domain Authority or DA is the measure of the weight of your domain, MOZ developed this term to determine how well the website will rank on SERP.
What is Page Authority?
Ans. Similar to Domain Authority but for Pages, simply the ability of the page to rank for a specific SERP.
What is LSI?
Ans. Latent Semantic Indexing are basically keywords that are semantically related to your primary keyword.
The Toolkit for Keyword Research Google Keywords Everywhere (Free Tool) MOZ Uber Suggest (Free Tool) SEMrush KWfinder Answer the Public (Free tool) Long Tail Pro
Okay, open up that spreadsheet and be ready! We are starting here!
The process is to look for as many as related keywords, note them down and then narrowing it down using important factors.
Step 1: User Persona – Take that word file out, we are gonna need it.
A user persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. A persona is generally based on user research and incorporates the needs, goals, and observed behavior patterns of your target audience. User Persona will help you understand your audience, who they are? Where do they hang out online? What similar services they use? The questions they have? The problems they face?
Start 2: Make a list of your competitors.
We need your competitors to understand what they are focusing on.
Before we go ahead, install this free browser plugin, KeywordsEverywhere , it will be very handy in the tasks to come.
Step 3: Start with Seed Keywords
Seed keywords are the base foundation, they are where you start. Usually take 8-10 Seed Keywords. Look for Keywords with very large volumes, in thousands. Ex. If your blog is about Marketing then Social Media Marketing is a seed keyword.
Here is how you find seed keywords.
Keywords from Competitors –
Go to SEMRush and type in your competitors URL in search box, the tool will show you the top keywords that your competitor is ranking for.
Think like your customer –
Wear your customers shoes and think what she would have searched for.
Reddit and Quora –
Communities are the best way to understand your target audience. Go to Quora and Reddit and look for questions related to your domain, you will find good seed keywords in here. Similarly you can check with communities in your particular niche
This is a free tool, you can find out what questions and queries your target audience have. Check the image below, I have entered an input, ‘bicycles’.
Step 4: Expand Seed Keywords
Before we start expanding the seed keywords, understand the three basic types of keywords based on intent.
Keywords which are informational in Nature, the intent behind this keywords is information. Most of the Keywords fall in this category. Informational Keywords wont help you convert directly, but they will give you huge traffic, build your email list and add brand value. They will pay you in future, you just cant ignore them.
Ex. ‘How to’, ‘What’, ‘Which’, ‘Where’, ‘Who’, ‘alternative to’, ‘Near me’, ‘features’,’I need to’
As the name suggest, these are the keywords which convert instantly. The user’s is mostly at the last stage of the funnel and ready to buy. They have low search volumes but high conversion rates.
Ex. ‘Buy’, ‘Coupon’, ‘Discount’, ‘Deal’, ‘Best’, ‘Review’, ‘Top’, ‘Cheap’, ‘Shipping’, ‘Affordable’, ‘Comparison’
Tire Kicker Keywords
(that’s what Brain Dean has named them, blame him)
These keywords have no buy intent, something like, “Sapiens free pdf download” fall in this category, they will have large volumes but its better to not target them
While in the process of expanding your seed keyword list, add a column in the your sheet and start classifying keywords on the basis of intent – Informational, Commercial and Tire Kicker.
Once you have Seed keywords, use them to find more keywords, here is the process to expand keywords list
Start with Google (The forever free tool):
Take all the seed keywords and search them on google, one by one and take note of few things. First, notice the auto suggestion as shown in the picture (keyword ‘best bicycle’ ), note those keywords down.
Then look for “People also ask” in your SERP, you will find more related terms to your seed keyword. Add them to the list.
Third thing you will notice is “Searches related to“, this section is at the bottom of the SERP. Again you will find related keywords in here, add them to the list.
Google Correlate –
This is a very less known tool by Google, Google Correlate, it gives you very related terms with your seed keywords For Ex. Seed Keyword- Nike Shoes will give results, “under armour shoes”, “white high tops”. Note them down
It stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. LSI keywords are the one which are semantically linked to your searched keyword. Actually LSI is a system used by google to establish a relation between two keywords. Go to these tools LSI Graph or LSI keywords and search for the seed keywords. Again note them down. An added benefit of using LSI keywords is that it secures your content from being labeled as spam.
Uber Suggest –
Uber Suggest is an important free tools. Put all the seed keywords one by one in Uber suggest and list them down. You will get hundreds of keywords from Uber Suggest, you can also export a csv file of the results.
This is the best tool to find Long tail keywords. Get a 7 day free trail on this tool and find some awesome long tail keywords. Click here for a 30% discount
This is a perfect tool on budget, its kind of a combination of LongTailPro and SEMrush but at low cost, it starts at 29.90$/mo. Using KWFinder you can also find questions related to your search query and filter it down to city level.
Finally open SEMrush – the complete SEO tool. I just love SEMrush but I hate their pricing, they charge 99$ per month, for me its a bit overpriced. (Get 30 day free trail in here, SEMrush[affiliate link])
Using SEmrush, first get the KD and CPC of all the keyword from the previous exercise. And again use SEMrush to gather more keywords.
Now we will have a ton of keywords at the end of this stage but we can not target everyone.
Step 5: Now its time to eliminate, refine and prioritize keywords.
This stage is crucial, there is lot of decision making in here. We will take all the keywords and analyze them with various factors and select the keywords which make the criteria.
Your excel sheet Top columns should look this this after all the processes.
Filter One: The Intent elimination
The number one thing to do at this stage is to trash the Tire Kicker Keywords, just do it.
Filter Two: Volume, Keyword Difficulty and CPC (Cost per Click)
Remember, gone are the days of high volume but low competition keywords, in this era we need to find the right balance between Volume, KD and CPC. Ideally Volume and CPC should be higher and KD as low as possible.
Make your own Criteria on this characteristics of the keyword, following is my strategy that I follow.
I club the keywords in this five categories
|Gold||KD < 52 but volume >1000|
|Silver||KD < 52 but 100 > volume < 1000|
|Bronze||KD < 52 but volume <100|
|Greens||71< KD< 52 but volume >1000|
|others||71< KD< 52 but volume <1000|
Now from all the five Categories, for a single campaign or Content Planning, I usually try to include 90% of Gold, Silver and Bronze and 10% of Greens and others. And along with that, I do combine this with intent – 60% Commercial Intent Keywords and 40% Informational keywords. Thats how to prioritize and narrow down the big list of keywords.
To go in depth of picking keywords after step 4, MOZ SEO Tool Bar can be very helpful.
Install and activate Moz Bar
Now, do a search in Google and you will see a something like this
You will see PA and DA at the bottom of the searches, you can analyze every PA & DA of every SERP and decide if your efforts can bring in more PA and DA to outrank the existing ones.
Thats all, now you have some good keywords to work with, start creating content and win the game!
If you loved the framework, we need to name this one, please comment and suggest a good name for this keyword research framework.
And do not forget to signup to receive similar in-depth articles.
P.S. This framework is a result of learning from various blogs and then practicing them to perfect a workflow for keyword research.