How to do Keyword Research For Better Ranking ?
When I started blogging, I simply wrote a lot of articles without caring so much about the keywords I was targeting. Keyword Research
I just wrote and hoped for the best.
As I quickly found out, this approach led to no visits to my blog because my posts only ranked for keywords with very low volume, if at all.
But as I got more and more proficient in SEO, I discovered a blueprint that keeps putting my site at the top of Google every time.
This blueprint, combined with some solid keyword research is all you need to also rank at the top.
In today’s post, I will show you how you can easily find keywords to target and how to include those in your posts effortlessly to increase your traffic and rankings.
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I will also explain what keywords are, how to use them, what not to do (very important!), and the one deep, dark secret to getting Google’s attention.
In the Beginning… The Start of Keyword Research
When the internet started there was no good way to find the information or websites you wanted. In fact, everyone had to keep a list of the web address that they liked.
Then search engines came along to fix this problem.
The very first search engine was called Archie. It was created in 1990 by Alan Emtage at McGill University in Montreal. It was, in essence, a database of file names that one could search to find what they were looking for.
In 1991, Tim Berners-Lee invented the concept of the World Wide Web. It was a system whereby information could be transferred easily and quickly.
Related: Read about the history of blogging
It didn’t take long for a bunch of search engines to show up. Each of them, including Google, are based on some simple principles.
A spider goes out and looks for web pages. Those pages are scanned and cataloged.
How does the spider understand what the page is all about?
It uses Keyword Research and keyword density to figure out the main topic of the page. With this information, the spider tags the page and clusters it in a category such as “health care” for example.
What are Keyword Research?
Keywords and their use on websites is really not an unfathomable idea. In fact, when you step back from it a bit, they are quite simple.
Dictionary.com defines a keyword as, “a word or concept of great significance.” It goes on to say, “an informative word used in an information retrieval system to indicate the content of a document.”
Keywords are words in any document that tell you what the document is about. In fact, it’s not that hard to demonstrate, particularly when you’re looking at non-fiction items.
Let’s consider the following passage, scanning only the keywords highlighted:
“Michael Jordan (born February 17, 1963) is a professional American basketball player, Olympic athlete, businessperson and actor. Considered one of the best basketball players ever, Michael Jordan dominated the sport from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s. He led the Chicago Bulls to six National Basketball Association championships and earned the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award five times. With five regular-season MVPs and three All-Star MVPs, Jordan became the most decorated player in NBA history.” – (From Biography.com) Keyword Research
Here is a list of potential keywords: Michael Jordan, basketball, basketball players, championships, NBA.
With these keywords the spider might make the following associations (as explained in my RankBrain article):
Michael Jordan <-> basketball, basketball player <-> NBA <-> championships
By simply scanning for keywords Google can clearly understand what that passage is all about and start ranking that site for keywords like “who is michael jordan?” or “michael jordan championships”Keyword Research
So in short, keywords give us the main topic of an article.
So now that you know what keywords are and what they look like, how do you decide what keywords to use on your website? How can you maintain great keyword usage throughout the site?
How to find the right keywords
Here are 3 simple ways to find good keywords for your site
- Write a list of what your website is about
- Look at what Google and other tools say about those words
- Steal keywords from your competitors Keyword Research
I will go in depth about each of them now.
Step One: Make a list
I’m going to use a single example throughout the rest of the article to make it easy to track the progress of a single website.
The business: Frank’s Plumbing and Heating
Location: Iowa City, Iowa
The first thing that Frank needs to do is a make a list of words that are relevant to what he does. It’s simply a list of nouns and verbs that relate to his business.
- Emergency service
Those are all words that relate to Frank’s plumbing business. That’s not everything, but it’s a great start. Armed with his list, Frank is going to see what search engines have to say about what he does.
Use Ubersuggest for More Keywords
One thing that you can do now is to take your list to Ubersuggest. It’s a free tool that will take your main keywords and expand on them.
All you have to do is enter a keyword and Ubersuggest will show you a list of related keywords that you can try.
The Ubersuggest list can also be used to estimate how good your initial list was in terms of volume, CPC and competition. (Related: here are the highest paying Adsense keywords)
This list can be compared to the tool that’s next, Google’s Keyword Tool.
Step 2: Use Google Keyword Search and other Keyword Research tools
Since Google is the big dog, I will speak about Google most of the time. Everything you do for Google will work well for Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, and every other search engine. Google is used for nearly 68% of all internet searches.
Another important note is that only 15% of all searches are unique. That means that 85% of all searches are repeated. That’s why keywords work well, but at the same time exact-match keywords are not as useful as they used to be.
Google offers a great and free keyword search tool: its Keyword Planner.
If you are new to Adwords, you will need to open an account to use it.
Follow their instructions to set up an account. Don’t worry, you don’t have to spend money. You only need to promise to think about it.
After you’re in, you’ll see this page:
You will want to search using a phrase, for now.
Frank is just going to type “Plumbing” into the search box:
There is a box at the bottom that he can use to focus on Iowa City. Since he doesn’t have a national business, he will put the city name in there. Frank doesn’t speak Spanish, so he is going to use English words.
Now we have a list of keywords:
By clicking on the “Avg. Monthly Searches”, you can arrange the keywords that Google supplies you in order of the most searched.
Note that the first result, “plumbing supply,” isn’t useful to a plumber, so Frank eliminates it from his list. The next few words, though, are perfect Frank’s needs.
Here are other tools you can use to do keyword research (and more, like backlink building).
Step 3: Stealing keywords
The next thing to do is to ‘steal’ keywords from your best competitors.
Frank will Google, “plumbers near me.” The first three or four listing, as long as they are actual competitors will work great.
We’re going to use a new and somewhat simpler tool: https://www.semrush.com/features/domain-vs-domain/
Another tool that you can use is Ahrefs. For more tools for keyword research tools click here.
Both of these companies offer a very low introductory price, so you can get started with this and also check out the massive suite of SEO tools that each offers.
The first plumber on Frank’s list came up as: https://hawkeyesewer.com/.
Simply put the website URL and hit enter.
The page will give you results of the keyword density on the Hawkeye Sewer website.
Here you can see what Hawkeye Sewer is doing right. Do that with two or three more websites, and you have a great keyword list to work from.
Using Google Search to Find Suggested Keywords
At the bottom of the first page of Google searches there is always a list of related search terms that you can look at.
When Frank types in “plumber Iowa City”, we can see that Google makes suggestions of other searches that you can use.