Keyword research: a step by step guide

Keyword research is not all about search volume or even about traffic either. It is all about choosing topics that potential customers are searching for, solving their needs, and eventually converting them into customers. In this article, I will teach you how to do keyword research that would help you increase traffic and revenue.

There are several keyword research tools out there that can help you grow your traffic, research your competitors and dominate your niche. Some are paid for, and there are also free ones so get the ones you can afford and will need.

You may have come across some articles or other content on how to do proper keyword research and they have always talked about low competitive keywords. They are not bad, but in this article, I will not go the same direction as they did, instead, I will open your eyes to how to find and map keywords that will actually drive revenue for your business.

Whether you are creating a new website or you are reviving an old one, the processes I will be teaching here will surely help.

Let’s start with a little example “take it that am starting a new kitchen utensils store, selling all sorts of kitchen utensils, I will need to have a product page, category page, and a blog.

On the mission of keyword research to get potential customers, here are the steps

  1. GENERATE KEYWORD IDEAS
  2. ANALYZE GOOGLES TOP 10 SEARCH RESULTS
  3. ASSESS HOW HARD IT WILL BE TO RANK ON GOOGLE FOR YOUR KEYWORD
  4. ANALYZE TOPICAL RELEVANCE
  5. REVERSE ENGINEER TOPICS DRIVING TRAFFIC TO YOUR COMPETITORS’ WEBSITES
photo credit: pexels.com
  • Generate keyword ideas

To do this I will start by typing in a few broadly related keywords to my online store, e.g. Ovenware, Bakeware, and Cookware.

Next, I will go to the having same term option which shows all the keyword ideas that contain the target keywords as a broad match. Remember the point of this exercise is not to find as many random keywords as possible, but to filter them down and group them by search intent. As you already know, search intent simply means the reason behind a searcher’s query.

This can be categorized into four groups namely.

  1. Informational keywords: here the searcher wants to gain general knowledge on a topic, e.g. what is Ovenware.
  2. Navigational keywords: here the searcher has a destination in mind e.g. Newegg Ovenware
  3. Commercial investigation queries: here the searcher wants to get information on something to buy later e.g. Best Ovenware
  4. Transactional keywords: this shows that the person is ready to make a purchase e.g. Buy Ovenware.

If you are familiar with the sales conversion cycle, (attention, interest, desire, and action) you will see that each of the groups falls into one of the stages mentioned above.

You may be asking why not go just for transactional keywords since these other ones are not going to generate direct revenue. But no the reasons are

  1. You will limit your reach.

Generally speaking, such domains will be the lowest for transactional keywords. So if you are ignoring things like informational queries you will be messing around opportunities to squeeze yourself into your target audience’s conversion journey.

Informational contents can also help you build trust and authority so that when someone comes to the point of commercial investigation, they may recognize your name or when they get to the transactional stage, having previous exposure can be the difference between choosing you over a competitor.

  • You can accelerate people’s buying journey.

This can be achieved in the following ways

  1. Internal linking
  2. Retargeting

For example, if my store has a blog post on what to do with your old pots, and the post mentioned a buyback program, we do, then it could lead to a conversion quickly.

Now how can you determine search intent for a keyword phrase? With some of them you can from the keyword alone, but a good chunk of them can be found using keyword modifiers. A modifier is an add-on to a base keyword e.g. best ovenware or top 5 ovenware’s in 2021.

Here is a shortlist to get you started

Informational Navigational Commercial

Investigation

Transactional
How Brand names Best Buy
What Name of a product Top Coupon
Who Name of a service Pricing Order
Where   Review Type of store
Why   Attribute of a product Purchase
Guide   Comparison Cheap
Tutorial     Pricing
Resource      
Help      
Ideas      
Tips      
Learn      
Examples      

Since we are focusing on keyword research that drives revenue, we have to focus on the business potential of the keyword.

The easy way to determine the business value is to ask yourself this question “can I plug my products or services into these posts naturally?” Or ask yourself “Would someone searching for this query be interested in purchasing my products or services?

If your answer is no then you should probably move on. Choose keywords with the most search volume as long as it provides value to your business.

  • Analyse Google’s top 10 search results

This is a super important step in keyword research because the top ten ranking pages are going to give you information on things like

  1. Content format

  2. Ranking difficulty

This will help you understand how hard it’s going to be to rank on Google for your target keyword. The things to analyse in these pages are the titles of the top ten ranking pages, i.e. If they are blog posts or not, do they give a step by step guide (how to) or they define them.

With these information’s you will know if to stick with the content format rather than trying to rank for the same topic with a product page.

  • ASSESS HOW HARD IT WILL BE TO RANK ON GOOGLE FOR YOUR KEYWORD

The things to look out for here are the number of unique websites linking to these pages popularly known as referring domains and the website’s domain rate, which represents the overall strength of the website’s backlink profile.

This will help you understand how powerful the sites you are competing with are. In general, you want to play in the same Domain rating ballpark region or be prepared to build more links than the top-ranking pages.

  • ANALYZE TOPICAL RELEVANCE

Let’s say you are writing about cooking pots, since they are all under the category of kitchen utensils, you will check if the top-ranking pages are companies for kitchen utensils.

This will tell if it would be harder to penetrate or not, but mind you nothing is impossible. So with these things considered you will know if it is worth putting your time and resources into the ranking.

  • REVERSE ENGINEER TOPICS DRIVING TRAFFIC TO YOUR COMPETITORS’ WEBSITES

Using the keyword research tool or SEO tool you have, you can type in your competitors’ domain name and go to the top pages report or in any other form your case may be. Now it’s just a matter of going through the traffic columns and the top keyword columns and if you are looking for low competitive topics, then look at the referring domains column to get a basic understanding of ranking difficulty.

Once you have found a topic that you want to target, then go through the same process of

  1. Categorizing by search intent

  2. Assigning a business value

  3. Analysing ranking difficulty

Getting traffic from keyword research is great in all but as you go through this process, you want to make sure that the keyword you are targeting is serving your potential customers and that is why it is so important to map keywords to problems they face.

You have the opportunity to showcase how your products and services will make their life easier and guide them towards your end goal of conversion.

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