Keyword Research is one of the most important activities if you are a blogger and you want to increase the visibility of your website on Google.
Usually, you should do the keyword research before you launch the website because it can help you to understand the user’s needs and decide:
- the website structure
- the content strategy
- how much money you should invest in the project
In the following paragraphs, I’ll show you how I do the keyword research, in this case for a website about hoverboards.
Collect the first ideas
I check the SERPs, and I identify the leading competitors, this is helpful because you can identify the main keywords of the niche.
Once I’ve done this, I open the Google Keyword Planner, and I enter all the main keywords, I also add these keywords in the negative keywords section because I only want to see synonyms and correlated topics.
As you can see below, users are also using the words “self-balancing scooter” and “mini segway” when they are searching hoverboards. That’s not always true, that’s why I usually check all the correlated topics manually (Google Images and websites on the first page).
Longtail & Questions Research
If your website is in a competitive niche, you’ll first focus on the longtail keywords and searches with high commercial intent, to detect these keywords, I use two different tools: Keyword Shitter v2 and AnswerThePublic.
With the first tool, you can easily export Google Suggest results (otherwise you can also use keywordtool.io) and also generate a massive list of longtail keywords (3+ words).
I prefer the v2 of the tool because there are advanced filters and you can define which letters/words I want to use as prefixes and suffixes.
After 15-20 minutes you’ll have a list with thousands of keywords. Of course, not all of them have an interesting search volume. But I’ll show you later how can you filter out keywords with no search volume.
AnswerThePublic helps you to detect the problems of the users and informative queries. You only have to enter a word, and the tool will show you all the questions correlated to the topic. Otherwise, you can also use the search operators. e.g. site:quora.com “hoverboard” AND “how” OR “why”.
How to check the search volume of the keywords
After the first part of the research, you’ll have a massive list of keywords but without search volume data. To do that you can use all the most famous SEO tools or you can use the plugin SEO tools for Excel. You need monthly search volume and CPCs suggestion.
Data analysis and content prioritization
Now we have our first keyword database, to evaluate the size of the investments I usually check the size of the niche, if there is a lot of seasonality and with Google Trends I check if the popularity of the niche is growing or not.
As you can see below, I have some “custom columns” in my keyword database:
- Sum – yearly search volume
- #Combinations – I check if other cells contain that keyword (e.g. “hoverboard” appear in 4 other rows “hoverboard affordable”, “hoverboard cheap” and “hoverboard online”)
- Avg. – Average Monthly search volume
- Max – Maximum monthly search volume
- Month Max – Month with the highest Search Volume
When you have a vast keyword database, you can use the Suggested Bid to quickly differentiate between informational and commercial keywords.
As you probably know, a lot of things changed with Google Hummingbird; nowadays it’s important to combine keywords and correlated topics inside the same article to provide the best content to the user.
That’s why you should cluster the keywords and topics. I use MindMeister to visualise the website structure and write the guidelines for the copywriters and plan the internal linking strategy.
That’s what I usually do when I start a new website, sometimes it can be boring and take a lot of time, but it’s a fundamental activity, and it will save you some time in the future.