The Definitive Guide to Keyword Research – PART 2
In PART 1 of this guide, we discussed the basics of keyword research and gave instructions for how to begin a keyword research project for your business. This process took you from basic brainstorming through analyzing the competition and finally to getting keyword lists from Google AdWords.
While AdWords can give you some great ideas, it doesn’t allow you a real comprehensive view of the competition. In this PART 2, we’ll dive in a little deeper using more detailed tools and find those phrases that have high search volume and low competition. These are the phrases that really stand to drive great traffic to your site.
Beyond AdWords: Market Samurai
The competition figures from AdWords do not provide a complete account of a keyword’s opportunity because Google only provides data related to paid search. To remedy this situation, we take our AdWords results and our seed words lists to the Market Samurai tool to gather more comprehensive information for these phrases.
Rather than using data based on what people are willing to PAY Google for in Adwords, Market Samurai brings organic metrics from Google, Bing Keyword Planner, and the Majestic SEO Index together under one roof. This allows us to paint our own, more accurate, picture of how many other websites are competing for certain keywords.
In Market Samurai, we look at data for the number of sites that are currently using the exact phrases – in their content, in their tags, and in both – as well as monthly search volume numbers. Once we’ve gathered this info, we calculate our own competition index from the number of sites directly competing for the phrase and the monthly search numbers.
We call this calculated metric “True Blue.” It is a measure of search volume divided by REAL competition. A high True Blue means that many people are searching and that very few businesses have TRULY optimized their sites to capture this desirable traffic. The opportunity here is often staggering.
While the first, AdWords-based, phase of research gives us a great idea of how people search for something, this next level of research whittles down our list, and highlights new, more niche keyword phrases. The specific, highly relevant, and low competition keywords we find here are the diamonds we’ve been looking for.
Cross-Checking Our Lists
Now that we’re equipped with comprehensive data, its always good to make sure that the data checks out with other sources. We always want to cross check our numbers against the competition and opportunity numbers offered in other tools like those of SEMRush and MOZ’s “Keyword Explorer” tool. These indexes, cross-referenced with the Market Samurai data, often highlight the most niche, most opportunistic phrases from within our lists and allow us to be sure that the data we’ve found is reliable.
Sharpening the Diamond in the Rough: Keyword Selections
From the wide picture of the searcher’s intent that we’ve compiled, we now look at the specific intent of each phrase. Are there active buying signals amongst the phrases we’ve discovered for our clients?
Some questions on our minds when making keyword selections:
- What is the intent behind this keyword phrase? What need does it express?
- What is on the searcher’s mind?
- Does this search phrase identify a problem that the site can solve? Does this phrase identify buying intent?
- Is the search more academic, as in, the searcher is looking for information but not looking to buy a product?
- Can our site provide that information?
- Does this phrase represent a potentially new market?
- Is there more than one meaning behind the phrase?
- If so, which one is likely the more active?
- Is the phrase positive (we like to keep things positive)?
- Is the language of the phrase relevant to the region where it will be most useful?
Site Mapping from Keyword Research
Asking these questions as we comb through our long keyword lists allows us to pull out the most relevant and the ‘lowest hanging fruit’ phrases. It also allows us to begin categorizing and organizing our keyword phrases. Looking at the data, we can start to build a web site map that compliments what we’ve found in the research process. We might begin to use different words to describe the business because we’ve identified the language that people are using when looking for these products or services.
Buffalo or Bison Meat?
As an example, we once had a client who sold organic, free-range bison meat. We found, though, that more people were searching for buffalo meat. Even though the correct name for the animal was “bison” most of the searching public was unaware of this and simply thought the animals were called buffalos. (There is a long, fascinating history concerning this misnomer.) With the insights we gained from keyword research, we could use language on the site to capture the buffalo traffic and bring it to the bison meat website. This way everyone got what they were looking for: delicious, low fat meat.
Good Keyword Research is Really Good Market Research
Good keyword research is good market research, and this market research can impact a client’s very business model. Maybe people are not really searching for what we offer, but are searching in droves for a very similar, related product. We might encourage the client to offer that product. Or we might tailor our site to explain to potential customers that our product will meet the same need. Language is useful that way, and, at base, keyword research is a way of tailoring and honing our business language.
Turning Great Keyword Phrases into a Great Site
Now you’ve got a list of keyword phrases with high traffic numbers and low competition numbers. You’ve started to sort them, categorize them and you’ve begun to map out your site based on these phrases. The only thing left to do is to write great copy using these phrases.
Copywriting is outside the scope of this article, but suffice it to say that keyword research is only half of a great, selling website. The other half is a visually compelling site with great content on it!
Blue Skies Marketing can be your business’ website companion at any stage of the process: we can help with keyword research, site mapping, SEO copywriting, site analysis and even digital marketing counsel. Get in touch with us to take your website to the next level – up into the blue skies! (970) 689 3000.