Keyword Research Guide .pdf
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Head-term keywords: keywords containing just one or two words. (i.e. Classic Movies)
Long-tail keywords: keywords with three or more phrases. (i.e. Classic Quentin Tarantino
Navigational keywords: Keywords used to locate a particular brand or website. Examples
would be searching: asos, facebook, twitter etc… You know where you want to go, but want
to get the right URL. (Not really helpful unless brand name is well-searched or popular.)
Sites can try and rank high on competitors names, but this is usually a waste of money.
Informational keywords: keywords used to discover on a particular topic. These keywords
often start with “how to” or “when should” etc…
Transactional keyword: keywords into Google by customers wanting to complete a
commercial action (i.e. ‘buy jackets online’). The search term is usually much more specific
to product as well.
Long-tail, informational, and transactional keywords are good keywords for most SEO
projects. They will lead to more customers.
Step-by-step Keyword Research:
Tip before starting: Ensure your keywords are relevant. Don’t just look for keywords with
loads of traffic on Google, ensure they are relevant to your target audience, and the actions
you want them to make.
1. Steal keywords from competitors
Let your competitors get the ball rolling for you.
A free tool for this is the SEOBook Keyword Analyzer. Simply submit a page into this tool
and within seconds it will pull together a list of the keywords your competitor has optimised in
their page. You can use this to bulk up your keyword list.
SEMrush is a more powerful tool, but at a cost. This accurate tool estimates the keywords
most effective at driving traffic to your competitor’s website.
2. Brainstorm your own master list
Just presuming your consumers keywords are up to scratch isn’t enough.
Create a grid of words your target customer might use. Then think of different prefixes and
suffixes/phrases your customers may use. Combine all of these words and phrases in the
free merge words tool. This strategy should compile a massive list of relevant keywords.
3. Find keywords that will send traffic to your site
Firstly, sign up to a free Google Adwords account. Once in, access the keyword planner tool.
Once on the keyword planner, click on ‘get search volume data and trends’ and paste the
keyword list into the box. Select country, and then click the blue ‘Get search volume’ button.
Once finished, the exact amount of times each keyword was searched for in Google, within
the selected region, will be displayed.
4. Keywords for easy rankings
Now we’ve found the keywords that are most popular, we need to find out how competitive
the desired keywords are. Understanding how competitive your desired keywords are, to see
whether you will realistically challenge in the search rankings.
A startup is unlikely to beat off competition for popular search terms from large competition.
An independent football shirt seller is unlikely to rank higher than Sports Direct for the search
term ‘Football shirts”.
However, there may be a hidden gem of a search term in your list that may not have the
largest search volume, but competitors have yet to target. This allows for less competition for
Need to find a balance in your list of overly competitive keywords and the keywords
competitors have not thought of yet. Here are some techniques:
a. Manually go through your list, looking at the rankings, and check if low quality pages
are ranking high. This is OK for a quick glance at the competition, although unreliable
and should be supplemented with real data.
b. How many search engine results are generated? The amount of results is shown just
below the search box. This is unreliable, because the vast amount of pages doesn’t
represent the quality of pages listed.
c. Using competition score from Google Adwords Keyword Research tool. This is
helpful for seeing how competitive a paid search keyword is, but not necessarily
relevant for SEO. The logic suggests that if there is high competition in a keyword, it
must be a popular search term, however it’s best to trust real data rather than
d. Use a competitive analysis tool. An example is Moz’s keyword difficulty tool. This is
the clearest way of gaining a realistic idea of your chances of ranking high for a
particular keyword. It gives you a great understanding of the strength of the top-10
pages. With Moz’s tool, you can enter the keyword and click “check difficulty”, and
then click “view serp analysis reports” to show vital stats for pages appearing in the
Moz’s Keyword Difficulty tool
With Moz’s tool, you can enter the keyword and click “check difficulty”, and then click “view
serp analysis reports” to show vital stats for pages appearing in the top 10.
The most important of the stats that appear are:
# root domains linking to the page - How many unique sites are pointing to the
specific page ranking
# root domains linking to the root domain - How many unique sites are linking to
anywhere to the site in general.
You can also enter your own website into Moz’s Open Site Explorer tool, you can see these
same stats for your own site. This way you know how many links it will take to see off
Moz is a paid for service with a 30-day free trial. Market samarai and Moz’s keyword tools
are the only two keyword tools out there that offer a decent level of accuracy.