Do you still use Google's Keyword Planner to research keywords to include in your website’s meta data and on-page content? That's NOT how you do keyword research today! In the world of Google’s Rankbrain, artificial intelligence, machine learning, Knowledge Graph and modern search engine algorithms, traditional forms of keyword research no longer apply. Today’s digital ecosystem is dominated by algorithms and robots built to understand how humans think – from intent to semantics. So, it’s time to rethink your SEO keyword research process to get ahead of the competition and earn Google’s trust for higher ROI.
In order to strategize your website success and build a winning SEO game plan, you owe it to yourself and your business to consider keyword funnels, buyer’s journey, cutting-edge keyword tools, ‘root keyword’ related topics, Google suggest scrapers, and actualizing your own conversion patterns. You can find the Golden Nugget Keywords that indicate high-commercial intent and achieve real, scalable, and tangible results by understanding algorithm changes at the most basic level that lead to actionable content tactics. Let’s Begin!
It’s very important to understand that every keyword has an intention behind it. When we go to Google and enter keywords into the search box, we have clear goals, intentions, wants, and needs or questions we want to have answered.
Out of the total universe of keywords, we can classify them into five different buckets that can be organized by where they appear on the purchase funnel.
Awareness keywords. First, there are generic keywords such as ‘laptop,’ ‘computer,’ ‘digital camera.’ The intention behind these keywords is rather vague. Searchers using awareness-type keywords — which are usually one or two-word keywords — are likely just beginning their journey through the purchase funnel.
The question behind the awareness keywords, such as “laptop,” is likely to be “what is a laptop?” so Google is likely to display a Wikipedia page — or another item from its Knowledge Graph — on top.
The search volume on awareness keywords is generally high because a lot of people search this way. But the conversion rate on these keywords is generally low, because these searchers are probably just browsing around and not ready to buy just yet. However, because awareness keywords generate a lot of traffic, the competition is fierce, so pick your battles wisely.
How-to keywords. These keywords represent a large number of long-tail search queries that are associated with questions and topics, such as “how to” or “what is.” These keywords are great to target for big wins, especially in terms of your blog posts and FAQ pages on your website.
Research/Consideration keywords. In the research bucket, we find keywords that indicate searchers have moved further down the funnel. For example, keywords such as ‘best laptop,’ ‘laptops for work,’ or ‘professional camera’ indicate more purchase intent than simply ‘laptop’ or ‘camera.’ These searchers are narrowing their intent and focusing their searches. Consideration keywords are used by searchers who are no longer just browsing or collecting information; they are actively shopping around. They’re looking at different websites, comparing prices and reading reviews. Examples of consideration-type keywords are ‘laptop deals,’ ‘laptop sale,’ and ‘mac vs. pc.’ Here, the search volume starts trailing off, but the conversion rate begins to increase.
Decision Keywords. At the bottom of the funnel, we have decision-type keywords. These are branded terms, for example ‘dell laptop,’ or any type of product-related keywords, such as ‘HP laptop,’ ’15-inch screen,’ etc. Many of these multi-term keyword phrases are considered to be “long tail” keywords with multiple (often three to six) terms strung together in a phrase. Search volume for decision-type keywords is typically very low, but the conversion rate is sky high, because they indicate a strong intent to interact, engage, and purchase.
Here are some tried-and-proven keyword research tools you should consider adding to your arsenal.
Google’s Keyword Planner allows you to locate keywords based on actual search queries and volume. Use for keyword research and discovery, as well as pricing information.
Google Trends formerly Insights for Search. This tool shows you what is trending online and what people are searching for. Use it for identifying trending keywordsf
KeywordTool.io is free online keyword research instrument that uses Google Autocomplete to generate hundreds of relevant long-tail keywords for any topic. Google Autocomplete is a feature used in Google Search. Its purpose is to speed up the searches performed by users on Google. Keyword Tool helps you employ Google Suggest for keyword research. It extracts Google keyword suggestions and presents it to you in an easy-to-understand interface.
Ubersuggest is a free keyword suggestion tool that makes good use of Google Suggest and other suggest services to generate long lists of keywords for testing.
SEMRush provides you with insights on how competing sites are performing in search. Use it to check how competitors are ranking on keywords.
Keyword Explorer provides accurate monthly search volume, SEO competition metrics, ... and save lists with our premium keyword research tool, Moz Keyword Explorer. It also attempts to measure the SERP competitiveness and featured snipper saturation.
Soovle provides a nice visual way of aggregating keyword data from Google, Amazon, Bing, and Yahoo.
MerchantWords mines Amazon data for searchers and queries. It’s very helpful for identifying e-commerce terms, as well as niche and long-tail keywords.
Quora helps finds questions that are often asked by people interested in your niche.
Answer the Public helps you find out what questions and queries your consumers have by getting a free report of what they're searching for in Google and YouTube.https://www.google.com/trends/correlate>/a###) finds search patterns which correspond with real-world trends.
KeyHole is a tool that can help you find trending hashtags in your niche.
Keywords Everywhere Plugin is a free browser addon that will get you FREE search volume, CPC & competition data for almost all the keyword research tools out there!
The next two tools are more advanced and have paid subscription models:
Keyword Eye Keyword Eye is a suite of affordable, fast, no-nonsense visual keyword and competitor research tools to help with your PPC and SEO campaigns.
Keyword Discovery This tool provides you with insights and ideas for keywords that helps you to improve SEO content, PPC campaign growth, and performance..
Here is a more advanced keyword research tool to consider (for the geeky):
Scrapebox Keyword Harvester is an extensive keyword harvester, to produce thousands of long-tail keywords from a single base keyword.
Now that you know how to find the right keywords, let’s learn how to optimize your website for them. You’ll learn how to do this next. But first, remember that list of dry terms we mentioned earlier (SEO Title Tags, URL Structure, etc.)? You’ll be hearing from them again in the next section. Why? Because they play leading roles in the drama of plugging your Golden Nugget keywords into your site so that they draw valuable traffic.
How to map keywords to your content
Once you’ve identified the keywords that best describe your business, you need to assign them to each of the buckets identified above.Doing this will provide a blueprint for the structure of your site. The way you build your site should reflect the types of keywords you will pursue, because your website visitors will represent various stages of the funnel. Serving them content they are looking for is the best way to do well in Google.
You must align the content on your site with your keyword funnel.
For awareness-type searches, which are highly competitive, the only place where you stand a chance to rank will be your home page and your key category pages listed in the top NAV (navigation) bar.
For how-to keywords, you want to utilize your blog, guides, articles and FAQ pages on your website.
For research-type keywords, blog posts may work very well, for example, a blog post that discusses the “10 best laptops for work” or “the best professional cameras of 2016” may do well. Blog posts, in-depth guides, eBooks, and other content where you discuss such products in great detail may also rank well. For consideration-type keywords, you need to have reviews, comparison pages, specific sales-oriented landing pages, and other similar content to rank well on these searchers.
Finally, for decision-type keywords – the bottom of the funnel – you’ll need product pages with detailed content, photos, user-generated content, videos, and other pages designed specifically to rank well for such terms.
Have an existing website? You can easily populate the data for your site using the Screaming Frog tool, which gives you a clear picture of your current state of keyword mapping.
If you’re starting from scratch, document the addition of every new webpage using this template, which will make sure you:
- Map a unique keyword to each web page
- Use the keyword in the key SEO tags on your site, such as Title, Description and URL of a web page
- Aren’t missing any SEO tags -- or have duplicate tags -- on your site
Keyword Rank Tracking Tools
After you selected your targeted keywords and mapped them to the web pages on your website, use these tools to track rankings of your website on these keywords to track improvement.
SEMRush - “For digital marketing professionals.” Track yours and your competitors’ use of keywords, find keywords with less competition, and keep track of all of your campaigns (plus much, much more.)
KeywordSpy - The goal here is actually to learn from the keyword success of your competitors to apply to your own marketing campaigns. Big brands like Toyota and American Express use the Keyword Spy to gain a competitive advantage online.
Advanced Web Ranking - Reports gathered avoiding local search biases so you can serve your clients no matter where you are. Get accurate rankings and efficiently manage complex SEO projects. Expert tool.
Authority Labs - This tool is for use of anyone from the everyday designer or the advanced site builder. It makes monitoring and understanding keyword rankings quick and easy. You can sign up for a free trial and get daily data on the sites you want to track.
Rank Ranger - Rank Ranger puts your focus on the future. Analyze your rank metrics and improve your SEO through keyword research and competitive insights for a more informed future.
Matthew Capala is a Polish immigrant who started out on the construction sites of Manhattan. A self-made man who took nothing for granted, he has lived many lives, including a scaffold operator, digital agency executive, NYU adj. professor, professional speaker, successful entrepreneur, and author. Leveraging content marketing and SEO, he's created growth opportunities he would not have had otherwise. Today, he uses the same techniques to build online businesses, as well as consult and train some of the most successful companies in the world. With a mission to make SEO and Internet marketing more accessible, he teaches and inspires entrepreneurs to leverage free online tools to turn their passion into profit and create the life they want. He is the founder of Alphametic, a boutique digital marketing agency with a portfolio of clients including L'Oreal, Novartis, Hoval, Shopkeep, and Mohegan Sun; SEO trainer and workshop facilitator at Search Decoder; author of award-winning International bestseller "SEO Like I’m 5"; and contributor to The Next Web. His work and ideas have been featured on eMarketer, Chicago Tribune, Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Mashable, Problogger, and Inc. He has spoken on main stages at Internet Summit, Social Media Week, TECHMunch, Search Marketing Day, ePharma, AMA, and Digital Summit. He’s been invited to deliver his signature SEO workshops to some of the world’s largest brands and events in destinations ranging from a luxury retreat in Trinidad to a corporate summit in the Swiss Alps.