How to Do Keyword Research?

There are many ways to perform keyword research and a variety of tools to use to gather the data you need.

In Google Keyword Planner you can filter the keywords by monthly searches. You can also see search volume is trending with a visual graph. It also depends on how specific the search query is in your industry. Google Ads has a column in the keyword planner called Competition and is ranked High, Medium, or Low. Competition is particularly useful for PPC data, but you can check this out for SEO to see how competitive your area of business is in general, so this can drive overall strategy. If you are a smaller business, aim for medium and low-competition keywords.

You may use other research tools like Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest or from the same guy where you can find what people are looking for and low-competition keywords. There are also bigger tools i.e., although the latter either gives out false metrics (i.e. backlinks spikes) or too much info and is suited for advanced users.

What is Keyword Difficulty?

Keyword Difficulty is a metric that shows how much competition a keyword has. The quantitative signal is relative to the niche state, and you can find it in various SEO research tools, like Ahrefs or Ubersuggest. To note that modern SEO works with topics and not exact keywords like in the old days, still, a lot of professionals use it, and clients wrap their minds around it so I will say a couple of words. If you accept the logic of the metric system, you can expect that elevated keyword difficulty makes the keyword more competitive and harder to rank for. For a domain with no strong background in SEO, professionals tend to start with medium to low-competition keywords, or even long-tail to exploit hidden opportunities. My approach is different. I like targeting topics that will bring the most traffic and not just keywords. So, I write about a theme and provide as much information I can about it; not the other way around, taking a keyword and trying to make the text around it make sense.

Do I Need Long-Tail Keywords?

LTK is a group of three or four words making a phrase, very targeted to the user/buyer intent. We used to call them transactional because they are on the spot of the buyer intent, used by searchers who know what they’re looking for and are ready to make a transaction. Generally, they are low-competition keywords and pretty easy to rank for. Mind you, the search volume that the tools show is not accurate; usually, it is below the actual hits you get in the visits stats. The tools often research and come up with a list of long-tail keywords. You can also look at the footer of the search results page in Google, a small list of suggested long-tail keys shows up there. Additionally, you can look up threads in communities like Quora, Reddit, and the search function of YouTube.

A fundamental part of your SEO strategy should be around long-tail keywords. Don’t mind the low search volume that different tools give you. The benefit of incorporating long-tail keywords into your landing pages is that they target prospects who know what they’re looking for and are ready to buy; these keywords are transactional. Another benefit is that only a few competitors will ever optimize for long-tail, and most of them will do it the wrong way too! You need more targeted traffic and respond to people’s answers even in complex searches as people don’t use simple phrases only when they run a search.

What is Keyword Cannibalization?

It happens when more than one landing page targets the same keyword or topic. Once a client had the urge to build one page for every keyword phrase with a decent volume pulled from the Google Keyword Planner (Adwords). The result was 2,000+ pages cannibalizing the one page I was working on. Do you want the best part? He didn’t care enough to share it with me. Not all those 2,000+ pages were competing with my page, but they were impeding its success. I have also seen cases where the keyword cannibalization is live on Google. Two or more pages were competing for the same query if you run repeated queries. The best practice before getting into damage control is professional keyword mapping. If you’re in between the mess then the keyword map can serve as a guide to which pages you need to eliminate, merge, and redirect, so you end up with a solid plan that breaks into topics and not keywords (that’s old school SEO today highly problematic).


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