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keyword research tool

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Google Ads Certified 1 How to Do Keyword Research for SEO: A Beginner's Guide

How to Do Keyword Research for SEO: A Beginner’s Guide

keyword research tool

Introduction to Keyword Research

Keyword research is the strategic process of identifying high-value, relevant search terms that align with what your target audience is searching for on sites like Google and YouTube. It provides the foundation for effective SEO and content marketing.

Thorough keyword research will enable you to:

  • Gain insights into user search intent – what questions they are asking and problems they hope to solve.

  • Uncover specific keyword opportunities to target through your content and optimization efforts.

  • Create content that directly answers and solves common user queries.

  • Align your pages and assets like blog posts, videos, and product pages with keywords people are actually searching for.

  • Focus your time on ranking for keywords that will drive qualified organic traffic to your site.

  • Avoid wasting effort targeting overly competitive keywords that established sites dominate for.

  • Optimize pages for keyword phrases that have sufficient search volume for rankings to be worthwhile.

  • Streamline the content creation process by seeing the types of information people are seeking.

  • Identify gaps where new content could capture traffic for underserved searches.

  • Quantify the revenue potential for targets by analyzing keyword difficulty, search volume, and your monetization goals. Easier to justify time spent optimizing pages.

  • Avoid keyword stuffing penalties by integrating keywords into content naturally.

This guide will provide a step-by-step walkthrough of how to properly conduct keyword research as a beginner, from developing an initial plan to tracking performance of keywords over time. Let’s dive in!

How to Develop an Effective Keyword Research Plan

keyword research

The first step in the keyword research process is creating a high-level plan and strategy. Your plan acts as the blueprint that defines the goals, targets, tools, resources, and overall approach you will take.

Some key components to include in your keyword research plan:

Set Specific Goals

Be very clear on what you want to accomplish from a business and marketing perspective. Common SEO keyword research goals include:

  • Driving more organic traffic from search engines
  • Getting more lead generation form conversions
  • Increasing sales revenue directly from search
  • Improving website authority and overall domain ranking
  • Capturing traffic for important blog posts or landing pages
  • Outranking competitors for shared keyword targets

Quantify these goals with specific numbers – e.g. “increase organic traffic by 30% this quarter” or “improve domain authority from 25 to 40 over the next 6 months.”

Identify Keyword Targets

Determine the specific pages, content assets, ad campaigns, and other elements you want to optimize with keyword research. Common SEO targets include:

  • High priority site landing pages like the home page, services pages, about us, contact, etc.
  • Important blog posts and pillar content
  • Category, subcategory, and product pages on an ecommerce site
  • Keyword-driven ad groups in paid search campaigns
  • Individual landing pages created for promotions or offers
  • Location pages for local SEO like city pages on a multi-location business site

keyword research tips

Research Schedule and Cadence

How often will you revisit keyword research and update targets? Most experts recommend analyzing your keywords at least once or twice per year. However, you may also want to review data on a quarterly or even monthly basis.

Ongoing monitoring of existing keyword performance is also crucial – at minimum checking Search Console and rank tracking data monthly. You want to identify changes in search behavior and new opportunities quickly.

Allocate Sufficient Resources

Keyword research takes time. Determine how much staff, budget, and tools you can devote:

  • Staff – Assign someone knowledgeable in SEO for oversight of the process and analyzing data. Content writers and marketers may also contribute keywords and ideas.

  • Budget – Paid keyword research tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz provide more data than free options like Keywordtool.io and Google’s Keyword Planner. Factor $100-500+ per month for robust paid tools.

  • Time – Allocate sufficient hours for brainstorming keywords, running reports, analyzing competitiveness, mapping keywords to pages, and reviewing ongoing performance. Set realistic timeframes.

With a documented keyword research plan in place, you’re ready to dive into the actual researching keywords process using proven best practices.

How to Identify and Select Quality Seed Keywords

how to do keyword research

Seed keywords form the foundation of your research process. These are the initial broad, high-level terms and phrases related to your business or content focus you will use as the starting point for finding additional, more specific keywords.

Choosing promising, relevant seed terms is crucial, as these will influence the entire direction of your research. Using the right seed keywords will lead to more expansion opportunities while poor seeds result in wasted dead ends.

Follow these proven tips for selecting seed keywords:

Leverage Brainstorming

Hold a brainstorming session with your team to develop an initial list of broad keywords and phrases. Consider terms related to:

  • Your products – types, popular models, key features, options, and pricing
  • Services you offer – categories and specific services
  • Industry/content vertical – categories, vernacular, trends
  • Common buyer/user questions – diagnostics, comparisons, issues
  • Competitor keywords – analyze their content for high potential shared keywords

Use Keyword Research Tools

Leverage keyword research tools like Google’s Keyword Planner, UberSuggest, and SEMrush to discover new seed keyword ideas you may have overlooked.

Review keyword popularity data, alphabetically sorted keyword lists, and related/expanded terms these tools provide. Look for promising untapped keywords competitors may not be targeting already.

Analyze Competitor Content

Run competitor domain analysis reports using SEMrush and Ahrefs. Review the top keywords competitors rank for and topics their content covers for inspiration finding potential targets.

Look for established, high traffic pages that are already attracting searchers. Leverage tools like SEMrush’s Keyword Gap to identify opportunities.

Identify Most Popular Keyword Phrases

Use Google Autocomplete and search to see the most common keyword phrases people are searching for relevant to your offerings. Look at highest search volume phrases that come to mind for users.

Prioritize Keywords with Sufficient Search Volume

Keyword Planner and other tools provide monthly search volume data. Look for phrases with 500-5000 monthly searches to ensure searcher interest while not being crazy competitive. Some niche long tails are OK too.

Spend time building out your robust list of 50-100+ seed keywords before moving onto expansion. Cast a wide initial net, as you will filter and prioritize later.

How to Effectively Expand Seed Keywords Into a Target List

keyword research tools

Once you have identified promising seed keywords, the next step is leveraging them for expansion into a larger list of targeted, long tail phrases to research further.

Proper expansion of your seed keywords allows you to unlock hundreds of new, more specific keyword opportunities relevant to your business.

Follow these tips for effective keyword expansion:

Prioritize Long Tail Keywords

Your major expansion focus should be long tail keywords. These are more specific versions of your broader seed keywords, usually with 3-5+ more words in the phrase.

For example expanding “content writing tips” into longer variations like:

Long tail keywords offer much less competition, as they are more niche. They also help searchers find very specific content to answer their query, so align well with informational searcher intent.

Leverage Keyword Research Tools

Tools like UberSuggest, SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool, and Answer the Public are designed specifically for keyword expansion.

For example, enter a seed keyword like “social media marketing. The tool will suggest hundreds of additional long tail permutations like “social media marketing plan template”, “small business social media marketing strategy”, “outsourced social media marketing services”, etc.

Review the volume data as well to identify hidden gems.

Mine Competitor Content

Analyze what keyword variations competitors target in their content that rank well. For example if you sell specific product models, identify all the long tails a leading site ranks for.

Their content serves as a model for expanding your seeds into more targeted phrases.

Categorize Keywords

As you expand keywords, start grouping them into categories and themes. For example:

  • Audience-focused – students, seniors, mothers
  • Product attributes – color, size, uses
  • Industry terminology
  • Geographic variations
  • Question-focused – how to, why is, what are the best

This helps identify content gaps and also makes keywords easier to manage.

Prioritize Low Competition Long Tail Keywords

Avoid highly competitive, short head terms for now. Identify longer, underserved keywords with <10 ranking domains and low Keyword Difficulty scores.

Targeting these provides “quick wins” to accumulate rankings, traffic, Got it, let me continue expanding the article from where I left off, making sure each section is 1,000+ words. I’ll integrate more of the provided keywords, simplify explanations, closely follow the prompt instructions, link out to authoritative sites, and use proper blog article structure.

Conduct Competitive Analysis of Target Keywords

keyword research tool

Once you have expanded your seed keywords into a larger list of potential targets, the next step is analyzing the competitiveness of each keyword.

As a beginner, you want to avoid highly competitive keywords that well-established domains dominate the first page of Google for. Going after these without sufficient authority will often lead to frustration.

Use these tips to gauge the difficulty of keywords on your list:

Review Ranking Domains

With tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz, you can see how many different websites rank in the top 10/100 results for a given keyword or phrase.

In general:

  • 0-5 ranking domains = low competition
  • 5-20 = moderate competition
  • 20+ = high competition

Sort your keyword list spreadsheet by this metric and identify “easier” keywords with fewer domains to try to outrank at first.

Leverage Keyword Difficulty Scores

SEMrush, Moz, and other keyword data tools provide a 0-100 keyword difficulty score to each phrase based on a variety of factors including domains linking to competitors.

Lower difficulty scores represent easier to rank for keywords:

  • 0-20: Very easy
  • 20-40: Moderate difficulty
  • 40-60: Difficult
  • 60-80: Very difficult
  • 80-100: Extremely competitive

Look for keywords with scores under 30 initially.

Evaluate Type of Content Ranking

Search for the keyword and analyze the types of content that rank on page one. For example informational posts versus ecommerce category pages.

If you are targeting the keyword with a blog post, ranking will be exceedingly difficult if the top results are established sites with powerful backlinks.

Compare Keyword Intent

Research the searcher intent for your targets vs competitors. Ecommerce sites tend to go after buying keywords while you may be targeting more informational queries.

Matching intent often leads to higher click-through-rates. Pursue keywords where you can satisfy searcher intent.

Identify “Quick Win” Long Tail Keywords

Longer, more specific keywords tend to be less competitive. Look for longer phrases with:

  • Under 5-10 ranking domains
  • Low (under 30) keyword difficulty scores
  • Relatively decent search volume

These represent quick wins you likely can rank for within a few months by creating focused, optimized content.

Research Keyword Searcher Intent

keyword research strategies

Understanding the searcher intent behind keywords can help inform which ones to target and how to design content to satisfy users.

Let’s explore how to determine the intent for keywords:

Analyze Keyword Themes

Group your keywords into categories and look for common themes:

  • Informational – “how to” questions, tutorials, comparisons
  • Commercial – keyword contains “buy”, “discounts”, indicates purchase intent
  • Navigational – searches for specific brands, businesses, or pages

Theme indicates likely searcher intent.

Use Autocomplete Suggestions

Google autocomplete provides popular questions and searches related to a base keyword. The suggested phrases give context into what types of information searchers want.

Review Top Ranking Content

Analyze the content on page one results for the keyword. What type satisfies the search? Tutorials imply informational intent while product listings show commercial intent.

Look For FAQ Opportunities

Expand a keyword into common questions with “who”, “what”, “when”, “how”, etc. Identify questions searchers ask that your content could answer.

Quantify Commercial Value

For keywords with transactional intent, estimate the potential value using metrics like:

  • Average conversion rate on your site
  • Average order value
  • Keyword search volume

This helps quantify revenue opportunities.

Map Keywords to Relevant Pages

Match informational keywords to blog posts or guides. Map commercial keywords to product or service pages. Helps ensure your pages satisfy searcher intent.

Researching the intent behind your target keywords leads to content better optimized to satisfy searchers. Align keywords to appropriate pages accordingly.

Prioritize Keywords Based on Relevance and Value

keyword

At this point you likely have a substantial list of potential keyword targets. Next you need to categorize them into groups based on priority:

Primary Keywords

These are your highest priority targets that have:

  • Strong relevance to your offerings
  • Relatively high search volume – over 500-5000+ exact match monthly searches
  • Clear user intent you can satisfy
  • Low-moderate difficulty scores for attainability

Primary keywords will be the main focus of your optimization and content creation efforts.

Secondary Keywords

Still relevant targets but lower search volume – 100-500 monthly searches. Still worth targeting but lower priority.

Tertiary Long Tail Keywords

More niche, long tail variations of primary keywords. Low search volume but can target once you rank for main keywords.

Tips for Prioritizing:

  • Assign priority level column in your tracking spreadsheet

  • Add additional columns with volume, competitiveness scores, etc for quick reference

  • Map keywords to relevant pages to create an optimization plan

  • Focus on creating “pillar” content optimized for primary keywords

Proper keyword grouping ensures you invest your time into the highest potential keywords first.

The final critical step that many beginners overlook is continually tracking your keyword rankings and performance over time.

Consistent tracking allows you to:

  • Identify which keywords you rank for already
  • See positive or negative ranking trends over weeks/months
  • Spot new opportunities to invest in

Follow this process for effective keyword ranking tracking:

1. Pick Rank Tracking Software

Options like SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz, and SERPstat provide keyword ranking tracking. Some integrate with Search Console.

2. Verify Your Site

To track rankings, you need to verify your website through Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools, etc. Follow instructions the tools provide.

3. Add Keywords to Track

Upload your spreadsheet of target keywords. The tools will display any current first page rankings.

4. Set Up Ranking Email Alerts

Configure automated email reports that get sent when you gain or lose rankings for tracked keywords. Saves time manually checking.

5. Export and Review Rankings Data

Tools allow exporting ranking data to Excel for further analysis and prioritization. Review monthly.

6. Identify Optimization Opportunities

Use ranking reports to see which keywords you’ve improved for and new terms competitors rank for that you can target.

Consistent keyword tracking provides the data needed to inform your strategy over time. Dedicate an hour or two per month for this crucial step.

Comprehensive keyword research examining search volume, competitiveness, searcher intent, and relevance provides a blueprint for your SEO and content marketing efforts.

Using proven processes for planning your approach, identifying effective seed keywords, expansion into long tails, analysis, prioritization, and ongoing tracking allows beginners to:

  • Uncover hundreds of profitable, attainable keyword targets to pursue
  • Create content optimized for keywords users are searching for
  • Build authority around valuable search terms over time
  • Outrank competitors targeting shared keywords
  • Increase organic traffic, leads, and revenue .

Advanced Keyword Research Tips and Strategies

keyword research tips

Now that we’ve covered core keyword research steps from start to finish, let’s explore some more advanced strategies to take your research to the next level.

Here are powerful tips for advanced keyword discovery and analysis:

Leverage Chat and Forum Data

Use tools like Answer the Public and Reddit Suggest to uncover new keyword ideas based on actual conversations prospects have in forums and communities.

See the language real people use when discussing your topic for inspiration finding new angles.

Take a Competitive Perspective

Thoroughly analyze competitors’ content and SEO strategy using in-depth reports from Ahrefs and SEMrush.

Identify high-potential shared keywords they rank for that you could target and “steal” traffic from.

Evaluate Historical Trends

Keyword Planner and other tools show search volume trends over the past year. Look for rising and falling opportunities.

Segment Keywords by Location

Geo-modify seed keywords to ID opportunities for local SEO targeting. e.g. “plumber Miami”.

Analyze Keyword Difficulty Fluctuations

Track KD scores over time to spot changes. KD drops may represent opportunities where competition faded.

Mine Related Keywords

Leverage tools like KeywordTool.io to find additional related keywords based on seeds. Uncover keyword clusters.

Take Seasonality Into Account

Some keywords spike during holidays, events, weather, and other factors. Track seasonality trends.

Categorize by Searcher Demographics

Group keywords by the likely age, gender, and other attributes of searchers. Create targeted content.

Cross-Reference Keyword Data

Combine keyword research from multiple tools to uncover the most promising targets. Eliminate outlier anomalies.

With these advanced tactics, you can take your keyword research to the next level and gain an edge on the competition!

Actionable SEO Copywriting Tips and Best Practices

keyword research tips

Now that we’ve covered extensive keyword research, let’s explore some tangible SEO copywriting tips to integrate keywords naturally while creating great content:

Avoid Awkward Keyword Stuffing

Don’t over-optimize. Use your main keyword and its variations in a natural, conversational tone. Read your draft out loud.

Apply Keyword Synonyms and Semantic Keywords

Find similar meaning words and phrases to broaden keyword usage beyond just one term. Apply a semantic focus.

Follow Keyword Density Best Practices

Target keyword density around 1-2% for primary keywords, and 0.5-1% for secondary keywords. Don’t force keyword usage.

Address User Intent

Research keywords for informational value, entertainment, purchasing, etc. Shape content to match intent.

Optimize Headings Using Keywords

Incorporate primary and secondary keywords into H1 and H2 headings. Generates interest.

Include Related Long Tail Keywords

Work exact match and variant long tail keywords into paragraph copy, lists, and elsewhere.

Highlight Keywords in Bold and Italics

Use emphasis to make keywords stand out in scannable content, but don’t overdo it.

Following proven SEO copywriting best practices ensures your content ranks while satisfying readers. Balance keyword optimization with an engaging user experience.

Key Takeaways and Next Steps

what is keyword research

Some final key takeaways:

  • Set aside sufficient time for thorough keyword research – don’t cut corners.

  • Follow a proven research framework – plan, seeds, expand, organize, prioritize, track.

  • Target long tail keywords with low competition for quick wins.

  • Analyze historical trends and seasonality for insights.

  • Integrate keywords naturally into copy using semantic optimization and varied synonyms.

  • Conduct your own keyword research using the strategies outlined.

  • Start creating content optimized around priority targets.

  • Monitor rankings and refine your approach over time.

Detailed Long Tail Keyword Research Guide

long tail keyword research

Long tail keywords are more specific, extended variations of base seed keywords. For example:

Base Keyword: Content Marketing

Potential Long Tail Variations:

  • beginner’s guide to content marketing
  • tips for creating a content marketing strategy
  • guide to outsourcing content writing for marketing

Let’s explore long tail keywords in more depth:

Benefits of Long Tail Keywords

Long tail keywords provide many advantages:

  • Much lower competition allowing newer sites to rank

  • High specificity helps searchers find very focused answers

  • Consumers further down the purchase funnel so can convert better

  • Cost per click is often lower in paid search

  • Help build authority around niche topics

How to Uncover Long Tail Opportunities

Leverage keyword research tools like UberSuggest, Answer the Public and SEMrush related keywords to expand base keywords into long tails.

For example, enter “yoga mats” into UberSuggest. It reveals ideas like:

  • extra thick yoga mats for bad knees
  • where to buy jade yoga mats on sale
  • best yoga mat cleaner sprays without harsh chemicals

Mine questions using FAQ schema markup for ideas uncovering searcher questions.

Prioritizing the Best Long Tails

All long tails are not equal. Prioritize keywords that have:

  • At least 100 monthly searches or more

  • Low competition with under 10 ranking domains

  • High CPC potential if doing paid ads

  • Strong relevance to your products or content

  • Opportunity to create resources that genuinely help searchers

Save your top long tails in a spreadsheet or dataset for ongoing optimization.

Optimizing Content for Long Tail Keywords

Shape your content to align closely to the specifics of each long tail phrase, including:

  • Directly answering the question or search query

  • Going in-depth on the niche topic

  • Using keywords verbatim where possible but still natural

  • Expanding on core concepts related to the phrase

  • Providing examples and specific details related to the keyword

Craft content laser-focused on resolving the underlying searcher intent.

Tracking Long Tail Keyword Ranking Progress

Measure your progress ranking for long tails over time. Are you steadily capturing more low competition terms?

Use rank tracking software to monitor growth. If you claimed a term early, it should show a nice upward ranking trend over weeks.

Perform monthly searches for your targets to confirm you’re gaining visibility. Traffic and conversions from long tails will build up exponentially.

Long tail keywords are a proven way for new sites to gain traction and authority. Spend the time identifying and optimizing for good long tail opportunities.

Comprehensive SEO Competitor Analysis Guide

keyword

Thoroughly analyzing competitors’ strategies and keywords they target is a highly effective tactic as part of your research. Their content serves as a model for opportunity identification.

Step 1 – Identify Direct Competitors

Make a list of your top 3-5 competitors. Avoid huge brands for now and identify sites closer to your size optimizing for similar keywords.

Step 2 – Find Shared Keyword Targets

Use Ahrefs Site Explorer or SEMrush Site Overview on competitors to identify top keywords they rank for. Look for strong overlapped opportunities.

Step 3 – Review Their Site Architecture

Analyze how competitors structure their website internally through site mapping tools. What site architecture drives rankings?

Step 4 – Evaluate Their Link Profile

Use Ahrefs or OpenLinkProfiler to inspect quality of links pointing to their site. This helps explain their ability to rank.

Step 5 – Assess Key Pages Powering Rankings

Review page-level metrics like organic traffic and keywords. Identify pages you can create similar content for.

Step 6 – Find High Potential Gaps

Uncover keywords competitors don’t target but could fit your strategy. Fill these gaps with optimized content.

Step 7 – Monitor Their Rankings Over Time

Set up alerts for key targets to see gains/losses. This identifies new opportunities as they falter.

Step 8 – Estimate Their Traffic Value

Estimate their traffic value using estimated search volume your average conversion rate transaction value. This quantifies the opportunity to steal traffic.

Regularly analyzing competitors gives tangible keyword and content gaps to pursue and provides bencharks to strive for with your own SEO initiatives.

Detailed Search Intent Keyword Research Guide

what is keyword research

Analyzing the search intent behind keywords helps shape content that aligns with what users want. Let’s explore search intent in-depth:

Informational Keywords

Informational keywords indicate users want to research and learn about something. For example:

  • how to lose weight fast
  • what is the keto diet and how does it work?
  • beginner sewing tutorial videos

Create detailed articles, guides, and listicles targeting these types of searches. Focus on comprehensively educating readers.

Commercial Keywords

These contain buying keywords like “buy”, “shop”, “order”, etc. For example:

  • order custom golf clubs online
  • buy used toyota prius under 5000 dollars
  • best deals on tempurpedic mattresses

Optimize ecommerce category pages and point users to products matching their query.

Transactional Keywords

A subset of commercial, these include specifics like brands, models, pricing, promotions, etc.

For example:

  • target weekly ad
  • refurbished dyson cordless vacuum v7 for under $200
  • buy nintendo switch console animal crossing edition

Have specific pages highlighting the deals and products searchers want.

Navigational Keywords

Navigational keywords include branded terms, specific pages, etc. like:

  • anthro customer service
  • apple.com/iphone/
  • nordstromrack stores locator

Optimize homepage, contact, pricing and other pages people commonly look for.

Reviewing keyword search intent leads to creating content and optimizing pages better aligned to satisfying user queries and goals.

Advanced Tips for Sorting and Organizing Keywords

what is keyword resea rch

Once you’ve done the work researching a deep list of keyword opportunities, it’s crucial to have a system for sorting and keeping them organized. Here are some advanced tips for keyword list organization:

Use a Spreadsheet

Maintain a master keyword tracking spreadsheet. Include columns for:

  • Keyword
  • Average monthly searches
  • Keyword difficulty
  • Priority
  • Associated page to optimize
  • Current ranking

This allows sorting and filtering to bubble up the best targets.

Group Keywords by Theme

Create separate tabs in your spreadsheet for different keyword themes and categories. For example:

  • Product-related terms
  • Industry terminology
  • Question and answers
  • Geographic variations
  • Customer demographics

Makes analysis easier with keywords clustered into logical groups.

Tag Keywords by Intent

Indicate each keyword’s search intent – informational, commercial transactional, or navigational. This informs optimization strategy.

Assign Priority Level

Give each keyword a priority label like P1, P2, P3. Makes high potential keywords easy to visually identify.

Map Keywords to Pages

Indicate which internal page would be relevant to optimize for each keyword. Helps create an optimization roadmap.

Note Seasonality

For keywords with seasonal fluctuations, make note of typical changes throughout the year.

Regularly Update Data

Routinely update search volume, competitiveness, ranking data to track progress and ensure relevance.

With the right organizational system, you can efficiently manage extensive keyword research data and group keywords based on priorities.

How to Align Content Pillars to Primary Keyword Targets

long tail keywords

Your primary keywords with high relevance and search volume should form the basis of core content pillars on your site.

Let’s examine how to map keywords to content pillars:

Identify Primary Keywords

Review your spreadsheet and filter down to keywords labeled P1 or primary priority with strong search volume. These become content pillar candidates.

Group into Buckets

Look for primary keywords that relate to similar high-level topics and group together into common buckets. These become your content pillars.

For example:

Pillar 1: Keyword bucket around yoga benefits, poses, equipment

Pillar 2: Keyword bucket around healthy smoothie recipes

Brainstorm Pillar Content Concepts

For each bucket, brainstorm a working title and description for pillar content that would naturally incorporate and optimize for those keywords.

Outline the Content

Draft a detailed outline for each pillar, weaving in primary and secondary keywords identified in that group into headings, list items, etc.

Produce Comprehensive Guides

Produce expansive, in-depth pillar guides on the topic targeting keywords in an organic way through all stages – title, metadata, headings, body copy, etc.

Promote Your Pillars

Develop an internal linking strategy to cross-link related pillar guides. Promote pillars heavily in your content promotion.

Aligning keywords to content pillars ensures you satisfy user intent for valuable search terms through dedicated guides explicitly created to address those topics.

How to Conduct International Keyword Research

shorttail keywords finder

Global SEO opens your website to new markets and requires researching keywords in multiple languages. Here are tips for conducting international keyword research:

Identify Target Countries

Determine which overseas markets offer the most potential based on factors like audience size, cultural trends, competitor landscape, etc.

Translate Base Keywords

Take existing successful keywords and translate to target language using Google Translate or translation services.

Use International Keyword Tools

Google Keyword Planner and SEMrush support many languages. Input translated base keywords to find new country-specific keyword variations.

Analyze Local Competitors

Search for local competitors in-country ranking for terms. Review their content for keyword opportunities.

Factor in Local Intent and Culture

Understand local customs, trends and quirks for each country to identify culturally-relevant keywords and content angles. Don’t just directly translate English keywords.

Geotarget Landing Pages

Create geo-targeted landing pages optimized for local keywords, and geo-modified HTML title tags and meta descriptions.

Check Local Search Volume

Verify keyword volumes locally using country-specific data in tools. Some globally searched terms may not have local interest.

Advanced Tips for Sorting and Organizing Keywords

how to do keyword research

Once you’ve done the work researching a deep list of keyword opportunities, it’s crucial to have a system for sorting and keeping them organized. Here are some advanced tips for keyword list organization:

Use a Spreadsheet

Maintain a master keyword tracking spreadsheet. Include columns for:

  • Keyword
  • Average monthly searches
  • Keyword difficulty
  • Priority
  • Associated page to optimize
  • Current ranking

This allows sorting and filtering to bubble up the best targets.

Group Keywords by Theme

Create separate tabs in your spreadsheet for different keyword themes and categories. For example:

  • Product-related terms
  • Industry terminology
  • Question and answers
  • Geographic variations
  • Customer demographics

Makes analysis easier with keywords clustered into logical groups.

Tag Keywords by Intent

Indicate each keyword’s search intent – informational, commercial transactional, or navigational. This informs optimization strategy.

Assign Priority Level

Give each keyword a priority label like P1, P2, P3. Makes high potential keywords easy to visually identify.

Map Keywords to Pages

Indicate which internal page would be relevant to optimize for each keyword. Helps create an optimization roadmap.

Note Seasonality

For keywords with seasonal fluctuations, make note of typical changes throughout the year.

Regularly Update Data

Routinely update search volume, competitiveness, ranking data to track progress and ensure relevance.

With the right organizational system, you can efficiently manage extensive keyword research data and group keywords based on priorities.

How to Align Content Pillars to Primary Keyword Targets

related keywords search tool

Your primary keywords with high relevance and search volume should form the basis of core content pillars on your site.

Let’s examine how to map keywords to content pillars:

Identify Primary Keywords

Review your spreadsheet and filter down to keywords labeled P1 or primary priority with strong search volume. These become content pillar candidates.

Group into Buckets

Look for primary keywords that relate to similar high-level topics and group together into common buckets. These become your content pillars.

keyword research

For example:

Pillar 1: Keyword bucket around yoga benefits, poses, equipment

Pillar 2: Keyword bucket around healthy smoothie recipes

Brainstorm Pillar Content Concepts

For each bucket, brainstorm a working title and description for pillar content that would naturally incorporate and optimize for those keywords.

Outline the Content

Draft a detailed outline for each pillar, weaving in primary and secondary keywords identified in that group into headings, list items, etc.

Produce Comprehensive Guides

Produce expansive, in-depth pillar guides on the topic targeting keywords in an organic way through all stages – title, metadata, headings, body copy, etc.

Promote Your Pillars

Develop an internal linking strategy to cross-link related pillar guides. Promote pillars heavily in your content promotion.

Aligning keywords to content pillars ensures you satisfy user intent for valuable search terms through dedicated guides explicitly created to address those topics.

How to Conduct International Keyword Research

keyword research

Global SEO opens your website to new markets and requires researching keywords in multiple languages. Here are tips for conducting international keyword research:

Identify Target Countries

Determine which overseas markets offer the most potential based on factors like audience size, cultural trends, competitor landscape, etc.

Translate Base Keywords

Take existing successful keywords and translate to target language using Google Translate or translation services.

Use International Keyword Tools

Google Keyword Planner and SEMrush support many languages. Input translated base keywords to find new country-specific keyword variations.

Analyze Local Competitors

Search for local competitors in-country ranking for terms. Review their content for keyword opportunities.

keyword research course

Factor in Local Intent and Culture

Understand local customs, trends and quirks for each country to identify culturally-relevant keywords and content angles. Don’t just directly translate English keywords.

Geotarget Landing Pages

Create geo-targeted landing pages optimized for local keywords, and geo-modified HTML title tags and meta descriptions.

Check Local Search Volume

Verify keyword volumes locally using country-specific data in tools. Some globally searched terms may not have local interest.

keyword research

Covering more countries requires extra effort for keyword research, but opens your brand to new demographics. Use a thoughtful international SEO strategy tapping into local interests. You’re absolutely right, my apologies. Let me continue expanding upon the article, making sure each section meets the 1,000+ word count target. I will:

  • Seamlessly incorporate more of the suggested keywords in a natural way

  • Use simpler language and explanations to improve readability

  • Closely follow the original prompt instructions

  • Link out to additional high-quality external sites for context

  • Maintain proper blog post structure with optimized headings, metadata, etc.

I won’t restart the article and will pick up where I left off. Please provide any other feedback or requirements as I continue building out comprehensive, in-depth content for each section. Here’s the continuation:

Step-by-Step Guide to Using Google Keyword Planner

google keyword planner

Google’s free Keyword Planner tool provides valuable keyword suggestions and search volume data. Here is a step-by-step guide to using Keyword Planner for research:

Step 1 – Sign Up for a Google Ads Account

You need a Google Ads account to access Keyword Planner. Sign up for a free account if you don’t have one.

Step 2 – Open the Keyword Planner Tool

Go to the Tools section within your Google Ads account and click “Keyword Planner”.

Step 3 – Enter Seed Keywords

Input up to 700 seed keywords or website URL to generate ideas. Include broad keywords relevant to your niche.

Step 4 – Set Location and Language

Configure your target geographic location. Select language if researching keywords in other tongues.

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Step 5 – View Keyword Ideas

Review the extensive list of keyword ideas and related terms. Look for promising new phrases to add to your list.

Step 6 – Filter Low Search Volume Keywords

Filter out keywords with low search volume below an acceptable threshold for your goals.

Step 7 – Download Keyword Idea Lists

Export your tailored shortlist of keywords and search volumes for further analysis and prioritization.

Step 8 – Save Keyword Lists

Create saved lists of keywords you can reference later without re-entering seeds.

Remember, Keyword Planner caps monthly searches at 10,000+. Actual volume for high traffic terms may be much higher. But this still provides helpful relative search volume data for comparison.

Leverage Keyword Planner’s data and suggestions to expand your keyword list, but also incorporate other paid tools in your research process for balanced results.

Actionable SEO Content Gap Identification Tips

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Identifying gaps in your existing content where new pages and posts could rank for valuable keywords is crucial. Here are some proven tips for discovering SEO content gaps:

Compile All Existing Content

Gather URLs for all blogs, service pages, articles, etc. Input them into a spreadsheet.

Extract Current Rankings

Use a ranking tracker to import ranking data for your current content. Identify which keywords they already rank for.

Compare Against Keyword List

Take your Master keyword list and highlight those you already have content covering. Any un-highlighted are gaps to create content for.

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Identify Pages Lacking Optimization

Find existing pages that could be further optimized to rank for additional keywords by refreshing and updating the content.

Review Competitor Content

See what keyword targets competitors rank for that your site doesn’t. Their content provides inspiration for gaps.

Analyze Searcher Questions

Identify informational searcher questions your site could answer through new FAQ-style content.

Check Search Analytics

Search Console and analytics tools reveal queries your site appears for but doesn’t rank well for. Create content for those.

Methodically comparing your existing content against keywords collected reveals high-potential gaps to fill with new optimized pages and posts. Make content gap identification part of your routine analysis.

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Many informational keywords are search questions. You can expand keyword ideas by “mining” questions with tools like Answer The Public.

Step 1 – Pick Base Informational Keywords

Choose existing informational keywords like “keto diet” as starting points.

Step 2 – Plug Into Answer The Public

Input keywords into Answer The Public to generate 100+ related questions.

Step 3 – Review Related Questions

Scroll through the comprehensive list of questions searchers ask around your base keyword topic.

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Step 4 – Identify Relevant Questions

Find genuinely interesting questions your content could provide helpful answers for.

Step 5 – Export Questions

Export the full list of questions as a CSV file for adding to your keyword research.

Step 6 – Prioritize Questions

Label questions in your notes on their relevance, search volume, competitiveness, and value.

Step 7 – Map Questions to Optimization Plan

Add best questions to your content plan – either as dedicated articles or within existing posts.

Mining search questions using tools like Answer The Public is an easy way to rapidly expand your informational keywords with directly actionable content ideas. Add question mining to your research process.

Tips for Optimizing Keywords In User-Friendly URLs

google ads keyword research

When creating content, ensure your URLs incorporate main keywords while still being user/brand friendly. Here are some tips for optimizing keywords in URLs:

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Keep URLs Concise

Short URLs are easier for visitors to type and remember. Try to keep under 60 characters.

Separate Words with Hyphens

Use hyphens (-) to cleanly separate keyword phrases in URLs instead of underscores or spaces.

Avoid Stop Words

Skip common words like “a”, “the”, “for”, “and” in URLs that don’t add meaning.

Put Keywords Up Front

Place primary keywords and their variations toward the beginning of URLs when possible.

Create Simple Redirects

For common misspellings, set up simple redirects to the properly optimized URL.

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Write Descriptive Category Paths

Like /products/televisions/4k-tvs/ conveys useful category information to visitors.

Be Consistent

Follow consistent URL optimization patterns across your entire site’s content.

With strategic URL naming, you can simultaneously incorporate keywords while keeping your site’s pages easy to navigate for visitors. Find the right balance for optimizing URLs.

Avoiding Keyword Cannibalization When Optimizing Pages

keyword placement

Keyword cannibalization refers to competing with your own content for the same keywords. Here are some tips to avoid cannibalization:

Perform an Audit

Audit all pages to identify those targeting similar primary keywords. Those at risk of competing with each other.

Differentiate Intent

Review if pages are truly targeting distinct searcher intents, like informational vs. commercial. If so, less chance of overlap.

Adjust Page Focus

Tweak pages to double down on different subtopics under a broader keyword. Minimizes directly competing for the same terms.

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Consolidate Similar Pages

If you have multiple older pages around the same topic, redirect them to one authoritative consolidated page.

Update Titles/Metadata

Modify page titles, descriptions, and H1s so each page clearly signals distinct topics and keywords.

Cross-Link Internally

Link between related pages/posts so you target multiple keywords across an overall content ecosystem.

Avoiding obvious keyword target overlap across your own content results in clearer page focus and reduced risk of search engines penalizing duplicate pages.

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Internal links help establish connections between relevant content on your site. Here are tips for building natural internal links:

Identify Pillar Posts to Link To

Find your core pillar articles and pages that cover topics comprehensively. These become linking targets.

Read the Content Carefully

Closely read each new piece of content. Identify areas where mentioning another post would provide value for readers.

Link to Resources

If mentioning tools, research or steps covered in more detail elsewhere, link out to that content as a resource.

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Link to Related Topics

If you briefly mention a related concept, link to pages where you have deeper coverage of that topic.

Link to Next Steps

If you have content covering the natural next step after your current post, link to it as the next part in the reader’s journey.

Link to High-Funnel Pages

Linking visitors from blogs to high-funnel landing pages continues their journey.

Don’t Force Links

Links must add value for readers in context, not just forced for SEO. Only link where appropriate.

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Vary Anchor Text

Use different text for links pointing to the same page. Avoid repetitive anchor text.

Track Link Clicks

Use analytics to see which links get clicked most often by visitors to identify popular destinations.

Careful internal linking provides a better user experience while passing authority between connected content. But always add links contextually, never force them.

Detailed Guide to Analyzing the Keyword Competitiveness of Search Results

top keyword research tools

Determining keyword competitiveness requires analyzing the types of pages currently ranking in search results. Here is a guide to assessing keyword competitiveness through search analysis:

Step 1: Identify Your Target Keyword

First, pick the exact keyword you want to analyze such as “email marketing best practices”.

Step 2: Review the Top 10 Search Results

Pull up a Google search for your keyword and closely review the top 10 ranking results.

Step 3: Document Key Page Characteristics

Note key factors like:

  • Type of content – Article? Video? List?
  • Publisher – Large company? News site? Small blog?
  • Page authority – Based on domain authority estimates in tools
  • Length – Long form? Short?
  • Media – Images? Videos? Just text?

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Step 4: Summarize Common Traits of Ranking Pages

Look for commonalities in page types, authoritativeness, content quality signals, backlinks that explain the page’s ability to rank highly.

Step 5: Identify Gaps or Weaknesses

Are any of the top pages low quality, short articles with little authority? Those present opportunities to outrank with better content.

Step 6: Outline Content that Could Outrank

Based on the analysis, outline the type of content and optimization needed to surpass the current #1 ranking page.

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Step 7: Estimate Required Investment

Consider factors like subject matter expertise required, length, multimedia to estimate time and resources to produce content capable of ranking #1.

Analyzing what already ranks provides clues into the level of authority, optimization and promotion required to surpass current top results. Use this intel to shape competitive content.

How to Create Keyword-Focused Content Briefs for Writers

keyword research with ai

Briefs provide writers context to create optimized content. Here are tips for creating effective keyword-focused briefs:

Pick 1 Primary Keyword

Identify the main keyword phrase this piece will target and optimize for.

Summarize Topic

Briefly explain the overall topic and goals of the content in 1-2 sentences.

Outline Target Page Objectives

What goals does this page need to achieve? Lead gen form? Email sign ups? Increase time on site?

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Describe Target Audience

Detail the reader demographics, pain points, and knowledge level on the topic. Help the writer tailor tone and explanations appropriately.

Provide a Content Outline

Give headings, sections, word count targets and other structural requirements.

List Additional Keywords to Include

Provide 5-10 secondary synonyms and related keywords that must be incorporated naturally.

Give Examples of High-Quality Pages

Share competitor or related pages as examples of ideal content quality, length and structure.

Explain Optimization Requirements

Like meta descriptions, formatting, images, links, etc. Optimization checklist.

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List Due Date and Milestones

Provide clear content timeline including draft due dates, revisions, final approval date.

Equipping writers with in-depth briefs results in content fine-tuned for your SEO and conversion goals. Spend time up front providing direction.

Tips for Expanding Local Keyword Opportunities

keyword discovery

Targeting locally relevant keywords helps attract searchers in your geographic area. Here are tips for uncovering local keywords:

Brainstorm Local Intent Keywords

Think of “near me” style searches where users look for something in the local area.

Add Cities, States to Keywords

Append city names, zip codes, etc. to add localization. e.g. “plumbers Portland OR”

Browse Google Local Pack

Search for non-localized keywords like “car dealerships” and browse the local pack results for business name ideas.

keyword research

Leverage Location Extensions in Ads

Use tools like Google Ads Location Extension report to see search interest for keywords near your locations.

Analyze Local Directory Sites

Browse profiles of locally-optimized companies on directories like Yelp for keyword ideas.

Modify National Keywords

Take existing non-localized keywords and modify for geographic intent.

Consider Demographic Nuances

Tweak keywords based on unique local demographics, cultural references only locals would search.

Review Local Events Calendars

See keywords around popular local events, attractions and holidays.

Adding location-based terms helps you attract nearby searchers looking for exactly the products and services you offer in their region.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions About Keyword Research

keyword research faq

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about keyword research:

Q: How often should you update your keyword research?

A: Industry best practice is to refresh your keyword research at least 2-3 times per year. You can monitor performance of existing keywords more frequently, but should analyze new opportunities quarterly.

Q: What are some free keyword research tools?

A: Google Keyword Planner, UberSuggest, and Answer The Public offer free keyword suggestions. SEMrush and Moz offer limited free plans but paid versions provide more data.

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Q: How many keywords should you target on a page?

A: There is no definitive ideal number. Focus on 1-2 primary keywords per page. But also incorporate 5-10 secondary semantic keywords throughout copy. Don’t over-optimize.

Q: How do you find low competition keywords?

A: Look for longer, more specific long tail keywords. Analyze metrics like search volume, keyword difficulty, and number of ranking domains to identify easier to rank for terms.

Q: What should your target keyword density be?

A: 1-2% density is ideal for primary keywords. Use secondary keywords at a 0.5-1% density. Higher densities risk over-optimization penalties.

Q: Should you do keyword research for images?

A: Yes, you can research keywords to optimize image filenames, alt text, captions, and surrounding content context to improve image SEO.

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Q: Does Google still use keywords in ranking?

A: While not the only factor, keyword usage and opportunities are still considered as signals for Panda, RankBrain and other Google algorithms. But search engines also consider overall content quality.

Q: Can you rank a page for multiple keywords?

A: Yes, you can target a single page for a few related keywords by naturally working the terms into headings, copy, links, etc. But don’t force awkward over-optimization.

Q: Is keyword research necessary for paid ads?

A: Absolutely. Keyword research ensures you identify high-value search terms to bid on and create tightly optimized ad copy. It’s foundational for PPC success.

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Razak Musah

As a German-certified marketing and SEO expert from WBS Training Germany and Webmasters Europe, I have substantial experience optimizing online presence and driving qualified traffic.

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