Your DIY Guide To a Quick and Effective Keyword Research

I keyword research!

No, I really do!

Some of my fellow marketers (I know a few) may feel that keyword research is that tedious, time-consuming, boring (even annoying) step of a digital marketing campaign that HAS TO BE done to move ahead with the campaign.

In my view, any digital marketer who is serious about getting that juicy organic traffic flowing into the website, loves a good keyword research. Why, you ask?

  • It is the very basis of understanding the search behaviour of the target user (remember buyer persona?)
  • It helps you understand the client’s business vertical – the competition, gaps, opportunities – that play a pivotal role in creating the digital marketing strategy
  • It helps you identify those “low hanging fruits” – search terms that are being searched for, but with little competition.
  • It helps you create your content marketing strategy around long-tail question type search queries (how to, why, where, who, etc.)
  • When done correctly, a good keyword analysis can sometimes be solely responsible for driving relevant organic traffic to the website (all other optimization activities remaining the same)

Okay...So much for the importance of keyword research… What about the bottlenecks you might face?

Well? Let’s list them out too:

  • It’s not easy: Let’s face it. Not all of us think alike. It may sometimes be difficult for you to understand the client’s business, or their vertical (It has happened with me. Let’s just say I am not a big fan of semiconductors anymore 😊)
  • It’s got many things going on at the same time: All of you who have done a keyword research (or read about it) know that there are quite a few parameters that need to be looked at, when running the analysis. You have data from various sources coming in, you have new ideas coming up, competitor opportunities brewing on the side. It’s a lot to get hold of at a time.
  • It CAN BE boring: Ya Ya… I said it! Some aspects of a keyword research can actually be repetitive and time consuming, a.k.a boring.

Now, what if I tell you there is a way to bypass these bottlenecks and simply enjoy the benefits?

What if I give you a step-by-step guide on how to do a keyword research in LESS THAN 60 MINUTES?

That’s exactly what I am gonna do. Here are 3 simple steps you can follow to complete a “proper” keyword research in less than an hour. These steps are going to weed out the “boring” out of keyword research, and make you fall in love with keyword research too!

60 Minutes Keyword Research in 3 Simple Steps

Step1: Understand the Client’s Business and Target Market

Estimated time to Spend: 20 mins
Tools Recommended: Screaming Frog (or a similar webpage crawling tool)

  • Ask the right questions to the client. Get a quick and clear understanding of what they do, where they are, what (search terms) they want to be found for, their objectives, etc. This will give you the necessary ammunition for the keyword research. Here’s a helpful list of questions you can ask clients.
  • Go through the client’s website to understand the structure of their business, their vision & mission, services/products, offers, etc. Do the same with the client’s competitors. All this while, keep noting down key services, products/categories, USPs, etc. for the actual research that’s coming up.
  • Run the client website through a web-crawling tool, e.g. screaming frog, to get a list of all the webpages on the site. This also lets you analyse the existing page titles, meta descriptions, headers, etc. on-the-go and get an understanding of the client’s current focus.

Step2: Collect and Collate New Keywords

Estimated time to Spend: 30 mins
Tools Recommended: SEMRush, Moz, Adwords Keyword Planner

  • Categorize the keywords you had noted down earlier, into theme/category based groups. These keywords, and the seed keywords provided by the client form the basis of your research.
  • If the client’s business is location-specific, list down the location(s) they serve. These will act as keyword modifiers to create new keyword opportunities.
  • Pick up a theme (defined by you earlier) and start looking for new keyword opportunities for this theme. Use the base keywords, already listed by you in this category, to look for the new keywords. Here are a few places I usually look for:
    • Google Autocomplete & Suggestions: This is quite a handy tool to find out trending keywords, most searched terms related to your search query. Simply type in your base keyword in the Google search box and a dropdown of suggestions comes up. Pick up suggested keywords that are relevant to the client’s business and target market. Google also suggests a list of similar search terms at the bottom of the SERPs. Feel free to pick and choose! 
    • Google Keyword Planner: Google’s very own (and the most popular) tool to find new keyword ideas – the Keyword Planner will help you find new ideas for the base keyword(s) you are searching for. Check out how to use the Google Keyword Planner.
    • SEMRush: Yet another helpful tool to find new keywords. You can put in your base keywords find a list of new keyword ideas and opportunities to target. Put in your competitor websites to get more refined data (specific to the competitors).

This is quite addictive actually. You can keep putting in new keywords and keep coming up with a bunch of new ideas from each source mentioned above. Once you are happy with your list, STOP. Don’t forget that we finally have a timeline to stick to (in this case, 60 mins).

  • Create new keyword combinations to identify new ideas and opportunities. Add target locations to the services listed by the client to find local-theme keywords to target. Think of pain points of users that the client’s services are going to address. For example, if your client is into pest control, A good search term that captures the pain-point could be how to get rid of bed bugs”.
  • Repeat this for all themes. Once you have a considerable list of keywords in each theme, it’s now time to filter out keywords.
    • Remove all duplicate keywords
    • Remove all keywords that are misspelt
    • Remove all irrelevant keywords

      What you are left with are the keywords which will go into the final phase of the keyword research and selection process. I usually have around 70-100 keywords to play with, at the end of this step.

Step3: Select Effective Keywords

Estimated time to Spend: 10 mins
Tools Recommended: Moz, Adwords Keyword Planner, Postitionly/SEMRush

  • Find out the average monthly search volume for the keywords. Google Keyword Planner tool automates this process so you can get this data almost instantly.
  • Find out the Moz Keyword Difficulty Score for the keywords. Moz also provides this information instantly for all the keywords you put in (max 400 per day).
  • Determine the current ranking of the client’s website for the keywords. For all the ranking keywords, list down the ranking URLs as well. A tool like positionly or SEMRush can provide this information instantly as well, without any wastage of your time.
  • Use the final information collected to choose keywords based on these parameters:
    • Search Volume: It’s the average number of monthly searches by users for the respective keyword. Higher the number, more are the number of people searching for the keywords
    • Moz Difficulty Score: It’s a difficulty index (calculated by SEOmoz research tool) to identify how difficult it would be to rank well for a given keyword. It considers several things, including:
      • competition (how many pages are currently ranking for that particular term)
      • how many people are bidding on the term in paid search
      • how expensive are the clicks and how many people are actually searching for the term online. 
        Higher the Moz Difficulty Score, harder it could be to rank well for that keyword.
    • Current Ranking: It’s the ranking of your website on Google earch results (SERPs), for the respective keyword. Keywords, for which your website is currently already ranking on SERPs, have a better chance of improvement in ranks, compared to keywords which are not ranking in TOP 100.

Voila! You have the final list of keywords to optimize around.

It was that quick! In 60 minutes, we have gone from understanding a website to finalizing the keywords we are going to target in the campaign. Hope this helps my fellow marketers out there with keyword research and saves time to do things we really to do!

Hope this information has proven helpful. If you would like some help with your keyword research, get in touch.

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