Non-Boring Keyword Mastery for Content and SEO

Maybe it’s me, but just hearing ‘keywords’ and ‘SEO’ tends to put me straight to sleep.

I see some poor slob searching desperately for the keywords that will bring him traffic and riches. I see him there at his desk late at night with his little keyword list, pounding out content for each of the keywords like his livelihood depended on it.

Night after night he cranks out content based on these keywords. This isn’t necessarily what he wants to write about. It’s not even what his customers want to read. But it’s what he thinks Google will love.

Every day he searches for his words on Google, hoping to see his content there. But he never does.

No wonder why ‘keywords’ and ‘SEO’ sound so terrible. It harks back to a time when marketers really did write for the search engines, stuffing keywords into their content like stuffing into a Thanksgiving turkey.

But Google has grown up. It’s gotten wise. And these days it’s looking for the same quality of content that your readers want.

That’s why we’re going to dive into keyword research today. Keywords are more than just a means to free traffic; they’re also a way to find out what your potential customers are interested in.

And yes, if you create the right content for the right keyword, you can show up on page one of the search engine results. Of course there’s more to SEO than keywords, but keyword research is the first step and it’s what we’ll cover now.

By the time we finish, you’ll know more about researching keywords than 99% of marketers out there.

You’ll know how to quickly find a dozen ideas for your next blogpost, all with the strong possibility of getting ranked.

You’ll never run out of content ideas. You’ll have key insights into customer behavior. You’ll get more product ideas.

You might even see your niche in a whole new light.

And if you choose to learn more about SEO, you’ll already have the first step down.

Let’s get started…

“Wait just a gosh darn minute! I’m still not sold on keyword research. Why are we doing this?”

Here are a few reasons why keyword research is vital to your business…

  • Helps to identify your target audience by identifying the specific words and phrases people use to search for products or services like yours.
  • Helps you identify the topics and themes that are most relevant to your audience, thereby creating more engagement, which creates more leads.
  • Increases your website traffic.
  • Helps you create better/different/relevant content.
  • Gives you the language and terminology that your customers use to describe their problems and challenges.
  • Improves your PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns.
  • Helps you identify new niches, markets, and opportunities.
  • Gives you insight into what your competitors are doing.
  • Gives you new ways to differentiate yourself.
  • Gives you the ability to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
  • Provides you with new product ideas.

Now that we’ve agreed that learning keyword research is a good idea, let’s discover an easy 3 step process for doing keyword research.

Keyword Research Made Easy

Keyword research isn’t difficult when you know how to do it, and I promise I will make this as painless as possible.

Here are the steps I take when I’m doing keyword research for content creation, product ideas and SEO.

You can easily adapt this little three step system for other research purposes, too.

First you need to know that…

There are three types of keywords.

First tier keywords – These are a single word or acronym like ‘homes’ and generally these are the worst types of keywords to target because the intent isn’t clear. If someone is searching for the word ‘home,’ what do they mean?

It could be they’re looking to buy a home, get home repairs, find the value of homes, get home insurance and so forth. If they are looking to buy a home, what type of home are they looking for and what area of the world do they want that home to be? It’s simply too general of a term.

The quality of traffic you get for a term like this is going to be poor at best because most people won’t be looking for what you offer. Conversions will be terrible because this isn’t a targeted word, and competition will be fierce because of the millions of other sites trying to rank for this word.

And finally, if you do somehow manage to get on page 1 of the search engines, you likely won’t be there long because of extreme SERP volatility with Google having a difficult time knowing what the searcher is looking for, causing Google to constantly shuffle the results to find what produces the highest organic click through rate.

Bottom line, there is almost never a good reason to target head keywords.

Second tier keywords – These are more specific than head keywords. For example, with ‘home repair’ the intent is becoming clearer. However, it’s still going to be an extremely competitive keyword, but at least you have a better idea of what the searcher wants.

Most body keywords are two to three words max and they’re often still hugely competitive because they’re easy to find and most competitors will invest heavily in getting them ranked. That’s why you’re going to want to focus on the third type of keyword.

Long tail keywords – These are long tail keyword phrases that have four or more words such as, ‘home repair Sacramento California.’ As you can see the intent of the searcher is now much clearer and it’s also far less competitive.

While a top rank for ‘homes’ could get you many thousands of visitors and ‘home repair Sacramento California’ will get you less than a thousand visitors a month, the second option will give you far better leads and convert dramatically higher.

Now that you know the 3 different types of keywords and which ones are the best to rank for, here are three awesome ways to find keyword opportunities.

3 Step Keyword Research System

For these I’m going to be using the keyword tool at Semrush but you can use any tool you like from the list of free keyword tools below.

1: Your Existing Keyword Profile – The first place to find keyword inspiration is from what you’re already ranking for. These keywords are great because Google is already signaling that you’re doing something right to show up with these keywords in the SERPS.

Enter your domain name at Semrush and go to ‘organic research.’ Click on ‘positions.’ Now you’ll have access to all the keywords your website is ranking for within the top 100.

You might categorize these existing keywords into three categories:

Low hanging fruit – keywords ranking from positions 2 to 12. Click on ‘positions,’ drop down and go to the custom range, enter 2 and 12. These are the keywords to attack right away. If you want to go a step further, filter the words by KD percentage and start with the very easy range to find the lowest competition opportunities.

Remember to prioritize your keywords based on intent and relevance as well. If you sell vinyl siding for homes and you happen to be ranking for evergreen foundational shrubbery, this keyword isn’t likely to get you more vinyl siding customers.

Keywords ranking from position 13 to 30 are also good targets but they should be second on the priority list after low hanging fruits.

Finally, those keywords that are 31 and above likely aren’t targeted enough. You might want to create dedicated pages for these particular keyword phrases to get them to rank higher.

Google’s goal is to deliver the most relevant results possible and that’s what you want to give Google to get the free traffic.

2: Find New Keywords – If you’re using Semrush then go to their keyword ‘magic tool’ in the keyword research section.

There’s no right or wrong way to begin your search but the key is to leverage the filters. You can start with a first-tier keyword as a seed to find better opportunities and then use filters to get more ideas. Begin with the lowest kd and then work your way up, eliminating irrelevant keywords by setting the language filter to show the target language and the exclude filter to eliminate more irrelevant keywords. You’ll have to play with it to get the results you’re looking for.

Once you’ve tapped out all keywords specific to the broad topic, you might go to Wikipedia and look for relevant subtopics within the larger vertical.

You can stop here because you have more than enough to build a large keyword database. However, if you want to take it to the next level then you’ll like the next step.

3: Using Google’s People Also Ask – is an incredible tool for finding all phrases from Google’s People Also Ask section. These long tail keyword phrases are a powerful way to build topical relevance and find dynamite keywords no one else is paying attention to.

Most of these phrases won’t have search volume in the traditional keyword research tools but they’re still relevant because Google wouldn’t show them as options unless real people were searching for them. This is real-time keyword validation, and most marketers are not doing this.

Just enter your keyword and see what happens. For example, when I enter ‘affiliate marketing’ there are 4 first tier ideas and a multitude of second tier ideas. The first tier are competitive terms such as, ‘What does an affiliate marketer do?’ and ‘How do I start affiliate marketing?’ But the next tier includes gems such as, ‘How do I become an affiliate marketer UK?’ and ‘How to start affiliate marketing with no money?’

Click on any of these second-tier results and an entirely new page will come up with two more tiers of long tail keywords just for that one term.

Now that you know my 3-step process for finding a bevy of awesome keywords, where do you go to conduct keyword research? Here are 21 free tools to get you started.

21 Free Keyword Research Tools

Ahrefs Keyword Generator: This tool provides keyword suggestions and search volume data for each keyword.

AnswerThePublic: This tool generates common questions and phrases related to a particular keyword.

Bulk Keyword Generator: This tool generates a large number of keyword ideas based on a list of seed keywords.

Google Autocomplete: This tool provides autocomplete suggestions as you type in a search query.

Google Correlate: This tool lets you find search patterns related to a particular keyword.

Google Keyword Planner: This is a free keyword research tool from Google that allows you to find keywords and see their search volume and competition.

Google Search Console: This tool provides data on the keywords that are driving traffic to your website.

Google Trends: This tool lets you see the popularity of a keyword over time and in different regions.

Keyword Sheeter: This tool generates a large number of keyword ideas from a seed keyword.

Keyword Surfer: This tool displays search volume and related keywords directly in Google search results.

Keyword Tool: This tool generates a list of long-tail keywords related to your search query.

Keyworddit: This tool extracts keywords from Reddit threads related to your search query.

Keywords Everywhere: This browser extension displays search volume, competition, and CPC data for keywords in various search engines.

LSIGraph: This tool generates a list of related keywords and phrases based on a seed keyword.

Moz Keyword Explorer: This tool provides a comprehensive analysis of a keyword’s difficulty, search volume, and related keywords.

Semrush Keyword Magic Tool: This tool generates keyword ideas and provides data on search volume and competition.

SEO Book Keyword Suggestion Tool: This tool provides a list of related keywords and their search volume.

Serpstat Keyword Research: This tool provides keyword suggestions, search volume, and competition data.

Soovle: This tool shows autocomplete suggestions from various search engines and platforms, including Google, Bing, Amazon, and more.

Ubersuggest: This tool provides you with a list of related keywords and their search volume.

Wordtracker Scout: This tool generates keyword ideas and provides data on search volume and competition.

How to Use Keyword Research for Product Creation

No matter what kind of content you’re creating, you want it to appeal to your target audience, and the way to make sure this happens is to use keyword research.

First, brainstorm your topics. Grab a notebook and think of the terms that come to mind when thinking of your niche. If you’re in the internet marketing niche, you might write down terms like free traffic, paid traffic, social media marketing, influencer marketing, affiliate marketing and product creation.

Next, plug your topics into your keyword research tool and click on matching terms. Filter the keywords to find the ones with low Keyword Difficulty (KD) scores because these will be easier to rank for.

From the new list of keywords, find the promising topics for content and add them to your keyword list. Keep doing this until you have maybe 50 potential content ideas.

Note that most people in your niche will begin with the same first tier keywords and thus end up with similar lists. By getting more creative with the keywords you enter, you will get more ideas with lower KD scores.

Interesting, Strange and Useful Keyword Facts

  • The first recorded use of the term “keyword” was in a 1961 article by H. P. Luhn titled, “A Business Intelligence System”. Luhn used the term to refer to words or phrases that represent the main topics or themes of a document.
  • The process of keyword research can be traced back to the early days of the internet when search engines like AltaVista and Yahoo! were popular. At that time, website owners would stuff their pages with popular keywords to rank higher in search results.
  • “Keyword cannibalization” is a term used to describe the situation when multiple pages on the same website target the same keyword, potentially harming each other’s search rankings.
  • The Google AdWords Keyword Planner, a popular tool for keyword research, has historically provided more accurate search volume data for paid search than for organic search.
  • Keyword research can reveal surprising insights into human behavior: By analyzing search data, keyword researchers can gain valuable insights into what people are searching for online and why. For example, keyword research can reveal unexpected trends, such as an increased interest in veganism or a surge in searches for eco-friendly products.
  • It’s not just about search volume: While search volume is an important metric for keyword research, it’s not the only one that matters. Other factors, such as keyword difficulty and the intent behind a search query, can be just as important in determining which keywords are worth targeting.
  • Keywords can have different meanings in different contexts: The same keyword can have different meanings depending on the context in which it’s used. For example, the keyword “apple” could refer to the fruit, the tech company, or a record label, among other things. Keyword researchers need to be aware of these nuances when analyzing search data.
  • The language used in keyword research can reveal cultural biases: The language used in search queries can reveal cultural biases and stereotypes. For example, keyword research might reveal that certain racial or ethnic groups are more likely to be associated with certain types of products or services.
  • According to a study by Ahrefs, 90.63% of all pages in their database get no traffic from Google search. This highlights the importance of conducting thorough keyword research to find less competitive and more profitable keywords.
  • The popularity of certain keywords can change over time, and it’s important to regularly update your keyword research to stay current.
  • Keyword research can also help you identify gaps in the market, and uncover new opportunities for content creation or product development.
  • Keyword research is not just about finding the most popular keywords. It’s also important to consider the intent behind the keyword, and whether it aligns with your business goals.
  • Keyword research can be a time-consuming process, but it’s an important investment in the success of your digital marketing strategy.

Finally, it’s worth noting that keyword research is not a one-time task. It’s an ongoing process that requires regular monitoring and adjustment as the search landscape and consumer behavior evolve over time.

One Last Thing…

Why did the keyword researcher cross the road?

She wanted to get hit with traffic.

What kind of fruit do keyword researchers like?

Low hanging.

Why do keyword researchers like monkeys?

Long tail.

A keyword researcher walks into a bar, bars, beer garden, hangout, lounge, night club, mini bar, tavern, pub, beer, wine, whiskey…


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