I have been interested in “keyword research” for a few years now having been inspired by Nick Eubanks and his various blog posts and his course on the subject. I don’t think today it should really be called keyword research but maybe something like “search query analysis” as users input much more than just keywords into the search engines these days such as questions, full sentences and even mathematical calculations.
This post is not here to compete with the amazing content that is already out there on the web regarding how to do keyword research, this post is to highlight some of the great tools that I use that form part of my stack for performing this task.
In the beginning of this process you have to decide the overall purpose of the task, are you looking to research a particular niche before entering it, perhaps for some affiliate revenue project? or are you doing it for an established site as part of the more standard SEO workflows most of us in the business are used to? But let me assume for the purpose of this blog we are looking to do this research for an existing website that has not had much SEO love on it recently. We want to identify high traffic search terms with low competition which are closely aligned to our product or service and hopefully have some useful consumer intent behind them also. Then we could set about optimising the site for these more profitable terms.
So, to start the process you might already have a great set of data that you are not thinking about or using….
– PPC data from Adwords
– Google Analytics data
– Google Search Console (formally Webmasters Tools)
– Bing Webmasters Tools
All of these sources could be virtual treasure troves packed with useful data, so that is where I normally start if these tools have been used at all. I will delve into all these tools and export data on what users are using to get to the site, terms with conversions are interesting as are terms that have low cost attached to them from PPC if they are working well. I normally extract this data and use this to help me understand how users are discovering the site as it exists, this also gives me an idea of the content and subject matter the site has if the site is a bit new to me.
The next part of this for me will be mining for new keywords using various tools that I have collated over the past few years. These are what I would normally use to help me find my seed keywords for the more advanced tools a bit later down the line that will do more of the heavy lifting.
SEO Keyword Suggestion Tool
Local Keyword Research Tool
MerchantWords < This one is great for ecommerce sites, you can see what users are searching for on Amazon!
Once I take my seed list of terms from my own data sources such as Google Analytics and using the tools above to expand the list, I will then move to the tools below and provide them with my seed list of search terms and set the parameters for them to run, they will then scour the web and come up with much larger set of terms, my favourite tools for this are below.
All of these tools will discover some great keywords given a good seed list. Both TermExplorer and Longtail Pro do something extra which is rather impressive, they will analyze the competition also! So what you end up with is a list of many new keywords, sometimes running into the thousands, included with this is are metrics on competition organically but also paid so you have some really great data to start making decisions with.
With this set of data you can set about in Excel to find high traffic, low competition keywords. Once I do this I quite often take one more step and dump the terms into another tool.
Wincher is an affordable way to get rankings for a large set of keyword data, you can rank check literally thousands of keywords to see where your site sits for just a few Euros! This then allows me to look for low hanging fruit (I hate that phrase but we all know what I mean). These fruits might be terms that are between 4 and 14 in the SERPs and with a little work could quickly yield more traffic and conversions. I will also skim over this data to see who is in front of me in terms of competing sites. We will also learn about some new and useful terms that can be then used to start the optimisation process.
There you have it, a list of the great tools I use and a little idea of some of the processes I follow, here are the tools again and also some other great resources on the subject.
Checking Your Positions
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