Keyword Research 101 – Finding Keywords Everywhere
You have a topic in mind that you want to write about, what is the next step? From an SEO point of view, doing research on keywords before creating the content for your webpage or blog post is key.
Doing keyword research can be an interesting and fun process. In this article, we will be going over some ways of conducting effective keyword research and finding an interesting topic to write about. You will quickly see that keywords are everywhere and so are potential topics to write about.
What Is a Keyword And Why Is It Important?
Let’s start from the beginning. What is a keyword? If you have read our SEO for Beginners Guide, you’ll already know a bit about keywords.
Basically, a keyword indicates the main topic of your article. It is what makes it possible for people to find your article once they search for the topic on search engines.
Some people out there say – ‘keywords don’t matter, focus on creating high-quality content.’ Keywords might not be the only factor for ranking high, but they are an essential part of a successful SEO. Creating optimized content is part of creating high-quality content, and this means using keywords correctly. It’s about finding keywords that resonate with the type of customers you are looking for, those who will benefit and find value in the information you have to share.
In order to find keywords, you have to understand search intent. Whenever we need information or we are looking for a specific product or service, we have a specific intent that leads us to research online. Having this in mind is the right way to go about keywords. If we are creating pages and articles for a website that sells digital marketing courses, we want to address those who are looking to learn about digital marketing.
How would you search for it online? Maybe by simply typing in “digital marketing courses.” But maybe also “free digital marketing courses,” “best digital marketing courses,” “digital marketing courses in (your city),” “how to learn digital marketing,” “how to become a digital marketing expert.”
These are only a couple of ideas to showcase how keywords work. The keywords you pick should express your potential customers’ and audiences’ search intent.
Keyword research can give you a good insight into what your potential target audience is looking for, what their needs are, and what kind of problems they want to be solved. Keyword research is a great way to come up with topics to write about.
Short and Long-Tail Keywords
Short keywords contain up to three words, such as ‘digital marketing’ or ‘fitness.’ Those keywords benefit from a higher search volume and can generate higher traffic to your website.
Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are more specific: such as ‘How to create a digital marketing strategy’ or ‘How does fitness relate to your health.’
Ideally, you will be working with both types of keywords at some point in your SEO strategy.
A short keyword can bring a high volume of traffic to your website, if you manage to rank it. In other words, if you manage to appear on the first page of results for a short keyword, you’ll most likely have many people accessing your page. On the downside, those keywords are not very specific, so they might not target the people actually interested in your information, product, or service.
Keyword Density and Keyword Stuffing
Keyword density refers to how often your keyword is mentioned throughout your content.
First things first, there is no magic keyword density that will shoot your content to the top of the search results. SEO is an ongoing process and many different factors impact where your page will rank. You can read all about it in our SEO For Beginners Guide.
Usually, SEO experts recommend a keyword density of 0.5%. This means your keyword would appear once in every 200 words you write. It’s a calculation you don’t have to do by yourself, as you can easily use some calculating tools out there.
Keyword density might not be that important for ranking, but keyword stuffing surely is. Keyword stuffing refers to placing your keyword all over your article, which is similar to spamming. Do not feel pressured to put your keyword in many places in your page or article, keep it natural and incorporate your keyword into the flow of your article.
Keyword Volume and Rank Difficulty
We’ve already touched on the topic of keyword volume. It’s essentially a metric that indicates how often people search for a specific keyword.
Besides the search volume, rank difficulty also plays an important role, as it is a metric that points out how the competition for the first place on search is.
There are several tools that will show you those metrics and we will cover them further in this article.
It would be great to rank for a high-volume keyword, but the competition might be bigger. Ranking for a keyword with a high search volume is a lot of work which involves more than just creating a piece of content with the keyword in it. It involves a lot of link-building work and a certain domain authority.
So what should you aim for in terms of keyword volume and rank difficulty?
Well, this depends on a lot of factors, like:
- Resources: How much time and effort you can put into SEO – meaning content creation and link-building, over a longer period of time
- Audience: Are you an established blog already or are you starting out, with little or no audience yet?
- Your Industry/Niche and what kind of topics you cover in general, and can rank for
For those starting out with content creation and SEO, we recommend you look for keywords that are easier to rank for, but have a fairly high search volume. What is a “fairly high search volume,” you may ask? Fairly high search volume refers to those keywords that have a search volume from 800 upwards and at the same time are easy to rank for. 800 might seem like a low number, but it’s a good place to start. We will display this further in the article.
Now that you understand some basic concepts of keyword research, it’s time to start looking into how you can actually do keyword research and where you can find those keywords with less ranking difficulties.
We will be covering three ways to do keyword research. None of them involve expensive tools, so that you can start off with your SEO strategy.
Keyword Research with Google
An easy way to do keyword research is by asking yourself how you would search for a certain topic on Google. Let’s try this; go to Google and type in exactly what you would search for, if you were someone looking for information on the topic you want to write about.
This seems too easy, but I promise you, it will give you much-needed insight and ideas regarding the topic you want to write about.
Let’s say your topic is content marketing in general. Just go over to Google and type exactly: content marketing – don’t press enter yet. You’ll see a list of the most searched terms.
From the result, you can get an idea of how to further narrow your topic, but keep it as something that interests the audience. I like content marketing strategy. So lets click on that.
Now, you have some interesting additional information. You’ll see the “People also ask” box. This gives you an idea of what people’s needs or difficulties are regarding this specific topic. I could pick one of these questions and write a more detailed article about it.
But that’s not all you’ll find on this page. If you scroll to the bottom, you’ll see “Related Searches.” Here, you will find some great ideas on how to further narrow your topics and find the best keyword. Related searches are essentially searches that have the same or a very similar search intent as the one you Googled. People’s search intent might be the same, but they don’t necessarily search for topics the same way. They might use slightly different variations of the same keyword. This is why it’s interesting to work with variations of the same keyword, in order to really ensure that people who are looking for a certain topic, find you.
Here, I can see some content marketing templates and a content marketing framework. Both seem interesting and are something I can build on.
This is just one part of keyword research. It’s free and informative and it’s also very helpful in understanding what people are actually looking for.
Always keep your audience in mind. Are they beginners or are they more advanced on the topic? Keeping this in mind will influence the keywords and topics that are interesting for you to work on.
Finding Keywords with the “Keywords Everywhere” Tool
Keywords Everywhere is a great extension for your browser that you can use to find keywords. It shows you the search volume of the researched keyword, as well as related keywords people search for.
Let’s have a look at how it works. After installing the extension, you can access Google and go on to do the search, the way you did in the previous step.
Now let’s use the same keyword we used before: digital marketing strategy. As you type this in and receive a list of results, you will also see a box on the right, as seen in the image below.
This tool gives you more information than a simple Google search. First, you can see the search interest over a specific period of time. Like this, you can see when people have been searching for this topic and how high the interest and, consequently, the search volume was. Getting an overview of when particular searches are the highest, can be interesting information to have, especially if you have a business that follows seasonality. Some keywords are more researched during certain periods of the year.
Keywords Everywhere is a free tool to use, but some functions require payment. Nonetheless, the free version is enough to work with.
At the bottom of the page, you’ll see three different boxes that are also immensely helpful: related keywords, people also search for, and long-tail-keywords. Each of these boxes can help you to further narrow your search and find a topic you want to write about. If you want to check the search volume, you’ll have to pay.
When writing articles, remember that your objective is to provide certain information on a specific topic to the readers. This is why it’s good to narrow your keyword and not use very broad keywords, such as “digital marketing.” First, because it’s a highly competitive keyword, it will be more difficult to rank for, and second, it’s a very broad topic that you can’t possibly cover in one short article. Instead, use keyword research to understand possible ways of writing about a specific topic.
Another great advantage of using Keywords Everywhere is that you can analyze top-ranked pages for their content length, keywords, and keyword density. While other factors influence your ranking on search engines, you can use this to get an overview of how you should structure your content. To analyze a page, access it, right-click anywhere and choose “analyze this page.”
This is an almost free tool that literally lets you find keywords everywhere. If you want to see the different search volumes, you will have to pay. It’s fairly cheap though.
Keyword research with Ubersuggest
Both options shown before were free, and while they do provide you with interesting information about possible keywords to use, they do not show you their search volume or ranking difficulty. This is something you will need a paid program for. There are many different options out there when it comes to SEO and keyword research. Choosing the right tool to work with depends on a lot of different factors, such as your marketing mix and strategy, as well as your resources.
Ubersuggest offers a range of tools for keyword research, such as keyword overview and keyword ideas.
In this illustration, we will start with the same keyword: “digital marketing.”
Right at the top of the results for this specific keyword, you will be able to see its search volume, SEO difficulty, paid difficulty and cost per click.
For this specific keyword, the search volume is very high – 60.500 and the SEO difficulty is 60, which is considered medium. This means that it’s fairly difficult to rank for those keywords in the top listings, especially if you are only starting out. A program such as Ubersuggest enables you to choose your keyword based on the difficulty level. If you are only starting out with your SEO efforts, you can look for easier keywords to rank for.
Tools like Ubersuggest work with colors to indicate the difficulty of a certain keyword. If you are working diligently on your SEO efforts, you could assume the following:
- A keyword difficulty from 0 – 49 is considered easy. With continuous and correct work and optimization, you would be able to be somewhere at the top in about 6 months.
- A keyword difficulty from 50 – 79 is considered medium. In this case, you would be able to reach the top in about a year.
- Lastly, a keyword difficulty between 80 – 100 is high.
The information above is an outline of the time and effort that needs to go into your work to be able to reach the top page. It shows that SEO optimization is a continuous process. If you read our SEO for beginners guide, you would see that there are many aspects that play into your ranking. We personally think keywords are the easiest part to begin your SEO journey, especially if your main responsibility is creating content for a blog or website.
On the same page, under keyword ideas, you can see a list of keywords under the one you searched for, and their respective search volumes and difficulty levels. You can also filter on the top right corner by related questions, prepositions and comparisons. The questions tabis especially helpful to find long-tail-keywords. In this example, we can see long-tail-keywords that might be interesting to write about, such as: “what is digital marketing”. It’s a great way to further narrow your topic and find new topics and keywords for the future.
Another valuable piece of information you can get with Ubersuggest is about the top-ranking pages on Google. Everyone wants to learn from the best, so having a look at those ranking on top can be a good way to compare to where you’re at at the moment. You can do this by simply clicking on the arrow next to the keyword you are interested in. In our case: “digital marketing.”
You can see their link structure, the number of backlinks they have, the domain authority, how many visitors they get by ranking, where they rank and the number of social shares. We won’t go into detail here, as it goes beyond the scope of keyword research, but there are two things you can keep in mind here.
First, the number of site visitors you get by ranking on top. This obviously shows the potential of this specific keyword, but you can also get some ideas on what topic is working in this specific field of digital marketing, and get ideas on how to further narrow your blog article. You can do this by clicking on the small arrow next to the links and it will open the respective site. Here, you can see the scope of the article, the main topic and question it answers. In other words, the benefits it provides to the readers. This gives you an idea of what people are interested in or are looking for in terms of content. It’s a good indicator of which direction you could follow with your article.
Second, the number of social shares is an indicator of how people engage with this specific content and how interested they are. People share things that are somehow interesting to them. This can be taken as an indicator, since other factors like the site’s authority and popularity on social media also play an important role here. Authority, generally speaking, is an important aspect when it comes to SEO in general.
Lastly, by going to the different pages, you can also use Keyword Everywhere to see the keyword density and the keywords that a specific page is ranking for.
Creating a keyword list
Creating a list of keywords is a great way to store ideas and save time, so you don’t have to do keyword research every time you are going to write an article. Make sure you don’t create a list and keep it the same way for a long time. Things change, and so it is in marketing. So it’s important to update your list from time to time.
With Ubersuggest, you can create your list on the program itself, but you can also work with an Excel sheet. We recommend listing keywords, their search volume, and rank difficulty. Next to the keywords, you can also come up with first topic ideas for each one. If your keyword is “digital marketing,” your topic could be, for instance – “Is digital marketing the future?”, “How to become a digital marketing expert,” “The importance of digital marketing for small businesses” and so on.
Ranking for multiple keywords
Research suggests that pages that rank higher on Google use multiple keywords on one page or article. This means more work, as you will have to optimize your article for multiple keywords. But as we said before, people’s search intent can be the same, and they will use different keywords to look up the same topic.
As you have seen, you can find keywords everywhere. Start looking for keywords and get inspired. But don’t get too fixated on keywords alone. It is important to provide content that will somehow benefit the people you are targeting. Otherwise, even if you manage to rank higher, they might only click on your page and find out that it’s not what they are looking for and bounce off again. This signals that your content is not so relevant.
If you work with WordPress, be sure to check out our 10 hacks that can make your SEO better.