The first and most fundamental step in the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) process is to find profitable keywords. For many people, even SEO experts, finding the right keywords can be a challenge, and targeting the wrong ones can wreak havoc on your SEO efforts, not to mention, cost you time and money. Having the right keyword research tools and learning how to use them effectively, will make the SEO process much easier and faster, while also giving you the edge over your competitors.
Why spend countless hours researching when you can learn how to discover profitable keywords in just minutes! Once you’ve optimized your website with the right keywords, you will see an increase in:
- High-Quality Traffic
- Sales and Leads
- Brand Awareness and Credibility
- Your Search Engine Rank (which means more traffic!)
Before we dive into researching, it’s important to understand the different types of keywords. If you have not established a high search engine rank, some will be difficult for you to rank for and generate traffic. It is critical to know which types to focus your efforts on, and which ones to avoid; this is especially true for people just starting out in SEO.
Types of Keywords
Short Tail Keywords
Short tail keywords are broad terms that contain one or two words; they generate a lot of traffic but have a low conversion rate. They are highly competitive, which makes them difficult to rank for if you have not established a good search engine rank. If you are new to SEO and are thinking about optimizing your website for these terms, you may want to reconsider your decision. You would need a high authority website to generate any traffic from them. Achieving a high rank is possible, but requires a good SEO strategy and a lot of time. It’s better to build up your search engine rank before attempting to optimize with these keywords.
- Performance Sportswear
- Fitness Clothing
Long Tail Keywords
Long tail keywords are specific terms that contain three or more words. Compared to short tail, they tend to have less competition and traffic but a much higher conversion rate because they address a person’s specific needs. In the end, what matters most is conversion! You may be wondering why long tail converts better than short tail terms. Well, research has confirmed that people who search for long tail terms are typically further along in the buying process.
For example, a person searching for “UA HeatGear Armour Compression pants” has a better idea of what they want and is more likely to purchase than someone typing “compression pants.”
Long tail terms are easier to rank for than short tail, and they generate the most relevant and qualified traffic.
- Buy Fitness Clothing Online
- UA HeatGear Armour Compression pants
- Fit Zone Wear Tank Tops
Exercise 1How to Find Potential Keywords
Exercise 2Keyword Research Using Modifiers and Filters
The next step is to research the keywords you collected using a good SEO research tool like SEMrush or Google Keyword Planner. For the following examples, I will be demonstrating how to use SEMrush. It’s a great all-in-one SEO software that’s easy to use and offers a free version.
A free trial version of SEMrush is also available and will give you full access to the paid version, which provides more features that make researching and optimizing your website easier and faster. Once the trial is over, you can choose to keep it or use the free version. Both versions will provide you with a lot of insight on how to improve your SEO efforts, as well as track your statistics in search engines and social media.
Now it’s time to start researching! In this exercise, you will use the keywords you added to the Keyword Research Sheet. Remember, try to focus on long tail phrases because they are easier to rank for, and they have a higher conversion rate, which means more sales!
Go to SEMrush.com and click Keyword AnalyticsFigure 2-3. SEMrush Keyword Analytics
Click Keyword Magic ToolFigure 2-4. Keyword Magic Tool
Select the country you would like to targetFigure 2-5. Country to Target
Type in your keyword phrase then click searchFigure 2-6. Keyword to Search
Now it’s time to familiarize yourself with keyword statistics, as shown in figure 2-7.
- Number of keywords
The number of keywords identifies all the terms people have typed into search engines that relate to your seed keyword. If you click on the links in this panel, you will find other potential keywords.
The volume identifies the average number of searches for the keyword over the past 12 months; higher amounts can anticipate more traffic.
- Keyword Difficulty Index (KD)
KD is a metric ranging from 1 to 100% and determines how difficult it would be for you to outrank your competitors in Google’s organic top 100 results. When starting out, it’s best to choose keywords with an average difficulty under 50%.
- Cost Per Click (CPC)
The cost per click (CPC) indicates the average price (in U.S. dollars) an advertiser would pay if their Google Adwords ad was triggered by the keyword and clicked on by a user.
- Competition (Com.)
Competition is a metric ranging from 0 to 1.00 and determines the level of competition between PPC advertisers.
The next step is to filter your results. Most searches you run will return millions of results, making it difficult or even impossible to find the good keywords; this is where SEMrush becomes very helpful. SEMrush filters make it possible for you to narrow your search down to find profitable keywords in seconds! The modifiers are highlighted in figure 2-8; followed by descriptions of each.
The following outlines each modifier and provides an example of the possible outcome.
The questions modifier provides you with an opportunity to find potential keywords and content ideas. You can display all results or only those that are in the form of a question. Example: Where to buy fitness clothing
The match modifier allows you to choose the type of keyword matches you would like included or excluded from your search results. The match modifiers are:
Broad Match will return all keywords relating to your search. It‘s the default option and returns the largest number of keywords.
Phrase Match will return keywords in the same form as your seed keyword, but in various orders.
Exact Match will return keywords in the exact form and order as your seed keyword. For example, if you searched for fitness clothing, the keywords returned would all include “fitness clothing.”
Filters allow you to narrow your search down further. As shown in figure 2-8, the filters are:
- Word count
- KD% - Keyword Difficulty
- CPC - Cost Per Click
- COM. - Competition
- SERP Features
In the next section, you will learn how to use filters to narrow your search down to find the terms with the most potential.
Exercise 3How to Find Profitable Keywords
If the filters are not visible, click “Advanced Filters,” as shown circled in Figure 2.9. For this exercise, we will use the keywords collected from exercise 1.
- Type your keyword phrase in the Seed Keyword search box and click Apply
- Select All Keywords
- Set the Words Count minimum to 2
You can specify a minimum and maximum word count range. If for instance, you set the minimum value to 2, then all single word keywords will be excluded from the results.
- Set the minimum volume to 1,000
The volume represents the total number of searches conducted each month for the searched term. You may need to adjust this number if you get too many or too little results.
- Set the KD% range from 1 to 50
You may need to adjust the values to increase or decrease the results returned. Note: The higher the maximum value, the more difficult it will be to generate traffic.
- Save the most relevant terms by clicking the plus “+” button. As shown in 2-9, saved terms will display a check mark.
Once you have gone through the list of keywords, complete steps 1-6 for the remaining keywords collected in exercise 1.Figure 2-9. SEMrush Filters to Find Profitable Keywords
By now you should have a good size list. Let’s find the keyword phrase with the most potential.
Click Go to Keyword AnalyzerFigure 2-10. Keyword Analyzer
- Click Extract to XLSX
Extract the data you saved to Excel. If you don’t have Excel, sort the results in SEMrush. The goal is to find a keyword phrase that has a low difficulty percentage and a high monthly search volume.Figure 2-11. Export data to Excel
- Click the upper left corner of the spreadsheet to select all rows
- Click Data
Click SortFigure 2-12. Select All For Sorting
- Add a Keyword Difficulty level with the sort order A to Z (ascending)
- Add a Volume level with the sort order Z to A (descending)
Click OK to sort the dataFigure 2-13. Add Sort Levels
The easiest keywords to rank for will be at the top of your list. Find one that meets the following criteria:
- Relates to your content
- Has a low keyword difficulty score
- Has a good monthly search volumn
It’s important to remember that finding the right keyword phrase is the first step in the Search Engine Optimization process. Once you've found it, you should work on getting good content, quality backlinks, and other on page and off page SEO factors need to be met. You don’t have to be an SEO expert or a content writer to succeed in SEO. You just need the right tools and knowledge on how to use them. The following are links to tools that can help you with your SEO strategy.
- SEMrush Trial Version (All in one SEO Software)
- Scripted Trial Version (Content Writing)
- Backlink Beast (Outrank your Competitors)
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