Digital marketing campaigns are successful when you use the right keywords in the right ways. They can make your website rank higher by search engines and generate more leads for your business.
Getting to know your target audience better by creating Buyer Personas is the first step to getting into the mind of a shopper. Once you have a rock solid persona, then you can begin to research your Keywords.
Let’s talk about your keywords. Your keywords are words and phrases that your target audience uses to search for your products or services online.
There are two types of keywords that are of importance:
- Root, Head, or Short-tail keywords are usually 1 or 2 words. Short-tail keywords can bring a lot of traffic to your site. But the decision to use them can mean using the same keywords that your competitors are using.
They have a high search volume so the payout is great but the competition is pretty high because everyone is trying to rank for them. An example of a short-tail keyword is ‘pizza’.
- Long-tail keywords are usually 3 words or more and are more targeted towards your specific audience. Long-tail keywords don’t bring in a high volume of traffic but the ones that do, bring with them a higher intent on converting. Using long-tails over short-tails will give you a higher conversion rate, which can lead to higher revenue. I usually recommend at least 4 to 5 word phrases.
Now that you have a basic understanding of what keywords are and how they can help a website, lets get dirty and talk about keyword selection.
Discovering the right keywords to use is a process. Just sprinkling some words into a document and trying to rank for them in the SERPS is not going to bring you the leads you need
So I’ve listed a few interesting tools below that can help you in your search.
Finding the right keywords
Keywords discovery starts by making a list of the keywords that may be relevant to your site. Maybe you have a pet food website and are looking for keywords.
Make a list of words that you find relevant like ‘hamster food’ or ‘ferret nutrition’. Then take those words and plug them into a tool like KeywordTool.io.
KeywordTool.io takes a short-tail keyword and uses it in Google search autocomplete to generate up to 750 long-tail search terms on any topic for free.
After presenting you with a bunch of new suggestions, it gives you the option to either copy them to a text file, export them to a csv or export them to an Excel file. Nice!
The pro version unlocks a few added features such as ‘Search Volume’, ‘CPC’, and ‘AdWords Competition’. Some of which you can get by importing them into Google’s Keyword Planner.
Using Q&A Sites like Quora
Quora is the mother of all question and answer sites and has tons of user-generated content which people comment on using real-world language. It’s content is indexed by search engines so it generates a lot of traffic.
Just ask the Quora community a question and get back answers with a ton of suggestions under related questions on the sidebar for you to use as topics for articles.
Search for LSI Keywords
LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords are keywords that are related to the keywords that you’re searching for. Think of them as the synonyms and their friends.
In a nutshell, they’re based on user search patterns and behavior, which Google uses to show the relationship between different keywords such as ‘Apple’ the software giant and ‘Apple’ the fruit.
So say you’re writing about ‘Apple’. The supporting words in the article such as ‘tree’ and ‘green’ let Google know that this article is probably about the fruit.
Many of the search engines like Google use them to decide the relevancy of the users search query and they use it to rank your page so make sure you use them.
One of the best LSI keyword generator tools is LSIGraph.com.
Another excellent keyword research tool is UberSuggest. This tool scrapes Google suggest and ads a letter from A toZ to give you dozens of results for each letter.
Cool right! It gives you the option to view the results as text so you can copy and past them into an excel spreadsheet or you can download them as a csv file.
Another tool to help narrow down your keyword research is Wordtracker. This tool allows you to enter a specific phrase, choose a time period, and location or territory and gives you back some really valuable data.
It gives you keyword suggestions to add to your original string and supplies you with additional ideas for your search.
The tool also gives you the search volume, competition, and cpc scores, which can help to filter out more valuable keywords so you can narrow down which ones to actually use.
Have you ever wanted to get into the mind of a consumer as they were doing a search? If you have then the tool you want to use is called Answer The Public. Answer The Public is a data query visualization tool that gives you more than just keyword ideas.
What questions are searchers they really asking? Well Answer The Public can give you a glimpse into some of that and a neat little graph too.
Let’s take a simple keyword such as ‘Track Shoes” and plug it into the search bar. (BTW, this guy is hilarious!)
This brings back not only additional keywords, but question variations that contain your keywords.
By clicking on a question it takes me to a Google search page with search results for your question. Get it?
It also returns questions that include different prepositions creating new questions such as with or without and for, to, and near.
At the bottom it gives you an alphabetical list of additional keyword suggestions straight from the search engines.
These results can be exported to a csv file and imported into other tools such as Google sheets for further sorting.
Is My Competitor Using This Keyword Too?
When using some of these tools, a metric that comes up fairly often is Competition.
Competition shows you how difficult it would be to rank for a particular keyword because a lot of your competitors are try to rank for it too.
But keep in mind that there’s also another metric that you need to look out for and can influence your decision to go for a keyword, Search Volume.
Search volume shows an estimate of how many searches where performed for the phrase during a period of time.
Words that have a high competition value often generate a low search volume.
We try and find a balance between the two to get an idea of how difficult it would be to rank for a particular word or phrase.
What about intent?
So now that you’ve seen a few tools you can use to find new keyword variations and phrases, can we briefly talk about the buyer’s journey and buyer intent?
The Buyer’s Journey is the process a buyer goes through leading up to a purchase. Knowing where your visitors are in the journey can help you to develop content that gives them what they’re looking for.
If they’re in the beginning of their journey they may only be searching for information on a topic. You may choose to write an article that includes keywords that they may be searching for.
Buyer Intent includes keywords and phrases that include the indication of a sale. Adding keywords at the beginning like ‘Sale’ or ‘Lowest Prices’ means that searchers are searching those types of keywords with the intention of buying.
For ecommerce websites, look for keywords that are more transactional in nature instead of conversational.
Keywords with buyer intent usually have much lower search volume then general words, but have a much higher conversion rate which makes them valuable sources of traffic.
So to wrap up this section, keyword research and selection is difficult but very important for a successful digital campaign. But the most important research that needs to be done even before keyword research is developing your Buyer Personas.
Knowing your visitors and where they are in the marketing funnel is essential to provide them with content that they’ll enjoy and relate to.
This article was in no way a comprehensive guide, so I know that there are a lot of other techniques out there for keyword research. If you have a few recommendations or some old research war stories to tell, share them with us in the comments. Happy researching!