If you’re performing a modern keyword research for your site, here are 5 effective steps for you.
1. Use Your Brain before Tools
Tools like ‘Google Keyword Planner’ are no doubt pretty useful to research your target keywords, but don’t forget these are tools, not human brains, so they won’t tell you the exact keywords you should target. For modern-day search marketers it’s recommended to use their brains to study the search habits of searchers.
You have to admit the fact that human searchers go through lots of different word combinations in their mind while searching something from the search engines. They sometimes enter certain words that are not at all related to the keywords, you think, are much more competitive and highly targeted. So, apply your brain to make sure you don’t lose any profitable keywords. Tools help, but those are not the only weapon you should rely on.
2. Find Ideas from Competitors’ Sites
It’s a trick every search marketing professional should implement. Check your competitors to see if they are targeting certain keyword phrases you hadn’t at all thought about. This helps find some useful ideas for a much more practicable keyword research.
So, from now on keep looking at the META tags of some high-ranked sites in your niche. Sources like Google Auto-complete, Yahoo Search Assist, Word Mixer, SEMRush and SEO PowerSuite’s Rank Tracker etc. could come in handy in generating powerful ideas for a better keyword research. To become a language-savvy it’s also recommended you be familiar with Wikipedia topics and your dictionary/thesaurus.
3. Make Your First List of Keywords
After the above 2 steps you should actually be ready with your first list of keywords. Now it’s time to pick some and discard the rest. How to do this? Same – apply your brain. Evaluate the list as per the relevancy of the keywords. If I had to perform the evaluation, I would put more stress on longer and relatively less popular keyword phrases than highly popular and competitive search terms for 2 reasons:
- Since long and less popular phrases are less competitive, it’s easier to get my site optimized and ranked for those terms. Less competitive means more targeted, so the conversion rate would probably be better.
- Long phrases would still contain short-tail competitive words, so I would be optimizing my site for those short-tail keywords anyway if I’m optimizing it for the longer keyword phrases.
4. Analyze the Effectiveness
Now, it’s time to do the final analysis. Analyze the effectiveness of all the keywords individually. Use Keyword Effective Index (KEI) and Keyword Difficulty Score (KDS) to know the difficulty level in optimizing for a particular keyword. Previously, they were solely depending on search volume to evaluate the effectiveness of keywords, but modern keyword research makes use of KEI and KDS for a much more accurate result.
Analyzing the effectiveness of the keywords does not mean that you would be removing certain keywords from the list that were found less effective, but you should at least be able to prioritize them.
5. Shortlist Your Target Keywords
Time to shortlist your final set of keywords you would be working on. This, actually, is the first step to your organic SEO where you would have to check the top-ranking sites in your niche for the following few things:
- Content: Google counts high-quality content, so see the quality of the content your competitors have on their pages. This helps have an idea on how to create valuable content using the keywords. This ultimately helps determine the quality and relevancy of the keywords, so we add this step to the modern keyword research.
- On-page SEO: Scan the titles, descriptions, anchor text etc. of your competing pages to know how effectively they’ve distributed their keywords. Include what you noticed in your keyword strategy.
- Backlinks: Your top-ranking competitors’ pages have tons of backlinks for a keyword means you would have to sweat for that particular keyword. See if you can outrank your competitor by surpassing the number of backlinks their search landing page has (for the keyword). If you can’t, ignore that keyword.
- Domain Authority (DA): DA helps know the age of a page’s domain. Check the DA, Alexa Rank (AR) and Social Media popularity of the competing pages to know if it’s easy for you to outrank them for the given keywords.
Apart from this, ignore the search terms that have the worst KEI. Choose the ones having the best KEI and low competition in your niche.
These 5 steps would come in handy for modern keyword researchers who have at least got some experience in this. For a newbie, Rank Tracker would probably be the best resource to use.