The key to a winning SEO keyword research strategy is in choosing the right keywords. It’s also in avoiding falling foul of Google’s continuous updates, but that’s a story for another blog! This blog details how we find the best keywords for our SEO campaigns and the tools we use to find them.
The first tool we use isn’t an obvious one, but it’s a tool that every single person has access to: it’s our brain. That’s right, the first thing we will do when we are trying to come up with great keywords is think “what would we google?” for instance if we were looking for an SEO company in Dublin, we would probably google “seo company Dublin” so this might be a good keyword when creating an SEO strategy for a Dublin based SEO company.
Now personally when I am learning I like to see examples, because it helps me understand everything better than
without an example, that’s why for this article we will use the example of a lawyer based in Boston that specializes in Personal Injury and Medical malpractice. If you know a personal injury lawyer in Boston, they might find this blog interesting so please feel free to share!
If I wanted to find a personal injury/medical malpractice lawyer in Boston I would probably Google a combination of the following keywords:
Stage one complete! Using my brain alone I have come up with 6 possible keywords to target for my SEO strategy. I think that with your first SEO strategy you should try to target 6 keywords. You can begin to add more keywords after you have achieved a good ranking with these keywords, but as a general rule the more keywords you choose the harder it will be to rank for each keyword, because you simply won’t have enough time. Choosing a smaller number of focus keywords, will allow you to focus your efforts on those keywords.
I’ve come up with 6 keywords by just thinking about what I would Google, but how do I decide if those keywords are worth targeting? The answer is in the search volume for these keywords, basically if a keyword has a high search volume, then I will get more benefit from that keyword if you rank on page one, than I would if I rank for a keyword with low search volume.
There is a number of tools you can use to check the search volume, I use the Keyword Planner tool provided by Google AdWords.
You have a few different options with this tool but I usually choose “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category”. I choose this option, because it will first of all give me the search volume of the keywords I have come up with and second of all it will suggest similar keywords. You will want to choose the location you are targeting (in this example I’ll choose Massachusetts) and you also have the option to choose broadly related keywords or only closely related keywords.
I usually stick with the broadly related idea’s because it can throw up some diamonds in the rough and I find the “closely related ideas” section can have the odd glitch. I enter the keywords I have come up with myself and hit “get ideas”. When the results come in it will show adgroup ideas by default, I’ll switch this to keyword ideas, so I can see the search volume for the individual keywords I have come up with using my “brain tool”. Here are the search volumes for my keywords:
I will then look through the suggestions to see what other keywords could benefit my campaign. I think it’s best to sort them highest to lowest so you see the keywords with the highest search volume. Some great keywords that the tool suggested are as follows:
Using our tools we now have 15 possible keywords that have a monthly search volume of 890 potential visitors from Google.
The next step is to whittle these 15 keywords down to a maximum of 6 keywords. There is two factors to take into account when doing this:
The reason to choose a keyword with a high search volume is pretty simple, if more people search for a keyword and you rank for that keyword, then it gets you in front of more potential clients each month.
o find out a keywords difficulty you should check out this article from niksto.com on keyword difficulty. If you don’t have any access to the paid tools that are mentioned, then you can at least use Google’s keyword planner tool to judge the traffic from a specific keyword. You can download the full keyword list the planner presented as an excel file and next to each keyword it will give a “competition” score between 0.00 and 1.00, basically if a keyword’s difficulty is 0.30 it has lower competition than a keyword with 0.97 and could be easier to rank for. This keyword competition is based on the number of people that are bidding on the keywords in their AdWords campaign though, rather than how hard it will be to rank organically so the information may be a little skewed, that’s why I feel it is best to use the keyword difficulty tool from Moz Pro.
Moz has a number of different tools that can help your SEO campaign, you can sign up to a 30 day trial and take advantage of these great tools to help you build your keyword strategy. When I run my 15 prospective keywords through the Moz tool it indicates that the difficulty for these keywords averages around 43%. No keyword is really high or low, so from a difficulty point of view, there is no advantage of using one keyword over an another. Given that fact I would now choose my keywords based on their monthly search volume alone. If some of the keywords had a higher difficulty rating, then I would favour the keywords with a lower difficulty rating and higher search volume, but in this case they are all around the same in terms of difficulty so it’s best to go with volume. With everything accounted for, I would probably choose the following 6 keywords as the basis for my keyword strategy.
If I rank for these 6 keywords, they could potentially bring 620 extra visitors to my clients website each month. The next step is to create content for and optimise my pages for my chosen keywords. If you like this blog on SEO Keyword research, stay tuned for our next SEO blog which will follow on from this one and detail the next step in your SEO strategy – optimising your website for your chosen keywords. Stay tuned for part 2!
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