SEO Keyword Research - Lesser Known Secrets
If you are reading this, then you know bringing in search engine traffic needs a robust keyword research plan. Since there are a million and a half articles out there that covers all the basics about keyword research already, we'll skip right to the good stuff. For this article, we reached out to some of the best marketing experts in the field, and hit them straight up: "What are your secrets and tricks that get you RESULTS?"
This is what they have to share...
Stephanie from Insurance Technologies Corporation writes about her keyword secrets:
First, I start with my keywords. Top level highly competitive for the industry. I use spyfu.com a lot for this because I can see how competitive a keyword truly is without assuming it will be hard to gain traction. Then, I look at the relevant keywords offered by Spyfu. I try to target keywords that are below a 50 (out of 100) on the difficulty scale. The caveat to this is the keyword must have decent search volume. All of these keywords go into a spreadsheet.
Second, I take those keywords to Google search. I look at the ones with the most search volume first. I plug them in and see what long tail keywords I get from Google in the searches related to section. Relevant ones get added to the spreadsheet.
Third, I start looking for topics for content. I almost always get questions from my Google searching in the People Also Ask section within search results. Those go into a spreadsheet. I expand on those questions until I start to see repeating topics.
Fourth, I plug my keywords into answerthepublic.com, this shows me even more questions being searched for based on my keyword of choice. Because ATP is UK answers, I click on the questions to see local results. If I am working for a client outside my geographical area, I take the question into Bright Local's local results checker. I gather titles that are ranking, I can usually find more questions to add to my topic list as well as more long tail keywords. I then take the long tail keywords back to Spyfu or use kwfinder..com to see the difficulty and volume.
After all of this is said and done, I either present my research to a staff writer or the client to produce content that is highly targeted and relevant to searches that are actually happening online and in the client's area.
Clients that have created their content using this research have seen great traffic growth and longer time on site.
Hung from Smallpdf writes about his optimization secrets:
I have adopted a systematic method of testing out keywords for *optimizing headlines and meta descriptions* which you may find unique.
Changing pages' headlines and meta descriptions can be daunting. Meta descriptions do not directly improve your SEO rankings in the short run, but can dramatically decrease or increase CTR. Altering the headline is a lot scarier as it directly impacts page rankings.
However, there is a safe way to test this! It will just cost some money - which will only be a fraction of traffic loss due to the negative impact of SEO changes for choosing the wrong keywords. This is done through *Google Ads! *
Start a new campaign, decide whether you wish to change the headline or meta description of a page. Let's assume that you want to improve your CTR through change the meta description of a page. *Run at least a dozen different ads, while keeping the headline the same *(be sure to include your current meta description as well).
If you wish to test 3 different keywords, do so. If you want to test the same keywords but with different wordings, you can as well. Just keep in mind that the more ads you run, the higher the chances of landing a good result.
Sit back, wait for at least a few thousands of impressions to come in, and examine the difference in CTRs of the ads. You should be able to see the clear winner if there are any - * the increase should be at least 10%*. For us, a 10% increase in CTR for a page could result in more than a million new users, and can stimulate significant growth!
*Cost is a significant factor here. *Especially if you're running ads in a region like the US, where some keywords can cost north of $10 per click. However, there is a way to minimize CPC. While running ads, you have to do three things.
- Be sure that your campaign option's set so that all the ads *rotate indefinitely. *
- Run a script to make sure *all ads stay at the same position. *
- Keep your *bids down. *
When testing out things like CTR, your ads do not have to be at the top of the result page. What's important is that they are all at the same position, so that you run a fair test. You can even show the ads at the bottom of the first page or even the second page of google results. It might take a bit longer, but does not break your wallet!
After this, simply implement the new headline/meta description and hope that your traffic is through the roof.
And lastly, be creative. Remember to keep in mind both your users as well as Google, the machine, when it comes to curating any content and picking keywords.
Mike of Anvil Media writes about his research procedure:
* Look at the queries in Google Search console that are ranked between 10 and 30 and start your keyword list with these
* Start with your most trusted research tool (Keyword Explorer, Moz, Ubersuggest, Keywords Everywhere, etc.) and run the best queries through that.. Then run them through at least one other research tool. This surfaces long-tail keywords most of the time while also cross referencing data between different sources
* Take all of the long-tail keywords from this result and run them through Ads' Keyword Explorer or Moz or another tool that gives you monthly search volume
* Take any of these long-tail keywords that register a good amount of traffic (this depends on the site you are doing the research for) and type them into a search engine to see what auto-complete comes up with
* If auto-complete surfaces some good results, add those to your list
* This gives you your long-tail keywords that you can use to optimize your site for
* Go back through your long-tail keywords and strip out any words that make the long-tail keywords long-tail
* Many of these keywords should match with other results that you have gotten from your research tools, but there should be a few that don't and these can be goldmines when optimizing content
* Set your long-tail and short-tail keywords aside and go back through your much larger list
* Delete any keywords that either don't make sense, don't fit into the site's content, or don't see enough (any) traffic
* Go back through the list one more time and refine it to the most usable keywords - with Keyword Explorer you can get a list of 700 words, and even after culling the list to 150 or so you are never going to be able to use all of those keywords throughout a site no matter how large the site is.
* Combine both your long-tail list and your new list of keywords and remove any duplicates
* You should be left with 30-50 keywords, both short and long-tail, that you can now use to optimize your site - if you have more keywords than you know what to do with, shorten it
Dave of Store Coach from Meridian, ID writes about his 3 for 1 approach:
I'm not sure there are any secrets to keyword research and selection these days. All I can tell you is what we do with our websites that gives us the best chance of ranking for multiple keyword phrases on one page, many of them fairly quickly.
We utilize what I call a 2 for 1 or 3 for 1 approach on our pages.
We like to surround a more difficult keyword phrase with add-on words.
If I was optimizing a page around a more difficult widgets keyword, I
might add the word discount to the front of it and for sale to the end of it. This allows me to rank faster for the phrase discount widgets and for the phrase widgets for sale as well as the really long term discount widgets for sale. Throw a color or brand in there,
too, and there are a whole lot more permutations and combinations that you can rank much more easily for - discount green/acme widgets for sale. As our page begins to rank better for the longer tail phrases, positive user engagement signals seem to help pull up our rankings for the more difficult seed keyword, widgets.
And of course, with the more advanced semantic capabilities of search engines, this approach allows us to also rank for a wide variety of synonyms and similar searches for all of those combinations, as well.
Thank you Stephanie, Hung, Mike and Dave for your input. We hope you can put these pointers into action and boost your traffic! Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section below and we'll send you in the right direction.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SEOWriters