7 Essential Steps To Profitable Keyword Research

Alpha Efficiency focuses on having a sound SEO and SEM strategy in place, and its integral part is a quality keyword research service. Keyword research is an activity that predates any kind of SEO optimization or good Google Ads campaign. Keywords have their own competition levels and finding the search engine pages that are within your reach is the highest and best value of your analysts time.

keyword research

Knowing in what content to invest and which keywords to compete on is going to save you thousands of dollars, as well as accelerate your path to SEO results. When keyword research is properly executed, it drives faster results on a micro level, while you’re preparing for the macro, and waiting for your backlinks to trickle back in. Hiring a search agency or an individual to conduct continuous keyword research for your company is a surefire way to stay on top of your organic and paid rankings, without missing out on revenue.

Why Keyword Research Service is Essential for Your Company

When you are planning out your content, having a sound and reasonable strategy is ensuring that you aren’t flushing content dollars down the drain. Additionally, observing this landscape will help you find the low hanging fruit, so it can help you drive visitors and revenue, while you are waiting to rank for big-picture keywords.

Keyword research is complicated to understand, but that’s why this article is here to demystify this essential SEO process. The ultimate result of keyword research is a sound SEO strategy that supports your entire campaign, giving it possibilities that would have been overlooked by the lack of analytics of your goals, and results page landscape.

This is the first critical step that will drive your business towards success, and it deserves much-needed attention. Spending adequate time researching and planning will have positive implications for your business because now all the produced content will have a meaningful impact on your website’s traffic. Your agency or consultant needs to understand the goals and objectives of your business in order to pair them with the proper keywords that will drive results. This type of campaign requires the full attention of either an internal team or hired consultant/agency. Below are some questions you can ask yourself to get the brainstorming process started.

Our internal keyword research process includes the following steps:

1. Semantic Brainstorming for overlooked keywords that include synonyms or close variants
2. Push the keywords through Keyword Planner and other software that helps us find overlooked gems
3. Analyze PPC competition through SEMRush.com, take a deep insight into their search strategies.
4. Create a keyword research spreadsheet where we include all relevant keywords
5. Populate the spreadsheet with Majestic and Ahrefs with Google’s website trust metrics.
6. Develop a report that includes grading by the competition levels.
7. Carefully execute your SEO or SEM Campaign (check our guide to Google Ads micro-campaigns)

This will provide your marketing team with a solid foundation to work off of. Keyword research is the first and most critical step towards your success online and requires a thorough process with enough oversight from experienced marketers. They can take your ideas and transform them into a well-developed action plan. As a business owner, I am positive that you grasp the basic keywords that your audience would use in order to find the solution to the problem you are offering. Often the agency isn’t familiar with the industry jargon and terminology plus the context or psychology behind the keywords. Your team will need to devote time and energy to understand the psychology and behavior patterns of your audience. This is extremely important when running Google Ads and SEO campaigns.

Quick Tip: Try to cut this learning curve in an initial meeting, by giving your agency as much insight as you can. Often times the basic elements will help your agency to save valuable time and resources and will eliminate the guess work.

Let’s get more intimate with every step of the way. This is how we provide the highest level of service. Because keyword research services can be difficult to understand, and their outcome can be uncertain, we have underlined 7 key steps in executing a well-articulated SEO and SEM strategy. Due to keyword campaigns having long term implications it is necessary that an adequate amount of time is spent making decisions that will affect the future of your business on the web.

1. Semantic Brainstorming

Every good keyword research starts with fully understanding the needs of the business first. Our usual MO includes carefully listening to the client’s perception of the keyword landscape, then closely expanding on what they know by observing customers and their behavior. More often than not, a lot of SEOs and PPC experts don’t dive deeper to find often overlooked phrases.

Before attempting to find an agency, you should have a general idea of what keywords you want to rank or advertise for. This should be completed in 20-30 minutes. The focus should be on 4-5 More times than not the list you brainstorm will overlook numerous keywords.

These keywords often reveal how consumers are referring to the product, and even our clients tend to overlook these variations. Also in this phase, Alpha Efficiency focuses on researching the common language, and relevant keywords that do not belong to the same keyword family, yet spark interest and curiosity of your prospective consumers. Other agencies and PPC specialists don’t dive as deep into these keywords, creating cheap click and ranking opportunities that drive better ROI.

When we get a new vertical into consideration, we often include questions such as:

* What products and services does the client offer?
* How prospects observe the problem that they are trying to resolve
* How would we describe our clients business, to someone who never had this need
* What are the most frequently asked questions in your vertical?

Usually brainstorming won’t provide a final keyword list, but will give us a pretty solid foundation for us to work with.

2. How To Execute Keyword Research with Keyword Planner and related planning tools?

Once you have brainstormed a thorough enough keyword list to lay the foundation to your campaign, it is time to expand on your ideas. A great way to expand on your brainstormed list of keywords is to utilize the Google Keyword Planner. The keyword planner offers the ability to research key terms that are relevant to your service, product, website, or landing page. This is essential for planning out a campaign. You can zoom into details like how many times a keyword has been searched on a monthly basis, its’ organic impression share, competition, and more.

The keyword planner has another feature that we value, the visualization tool. It allows us to view search trends by volume and location. This helps us gather information on the keywords we plan to use for the campaign. This, in result, drives us to make educated decisions within our SEO campaign. The more we know about the behavior of searches related to our product, the better we can gauge which keywords will drive maximum results.

The issue in using Google’s Keyword Planner is that it shows the data form the last month available within their data. Our searches will never drive positive SEO results due to Google Search Partners, and the way they affect the results from the Google Keyword Planner. We recommend using more precise SEO tools to gather research. One great option is SEMRush.com.

3. How To Analyze Keywords for PPC and SEO Competitors with SEMRush.com or SpyFu.com?

SemRush is perhaps one of the most groundbreaking marketing tools of the last decade. It tracks so many things. Some of which include: the organic position of a domain or landing page on Google’s SERPs (search engine results pages), copies of AdWords ads and their positions, CPC ads, competitor analysis and much more.

The competitor analysis is a unique feature within SEMRush, it will help you to create effective spreadsheets (mentioned below). Once you have analyzed and perfected your own SEO strategy it is useful to look at what your competitors are doing. Once you have found what keywords your competitors are getting value from, it is time to incorporate them into your own keyword strategy.

Your keyword strategy should be the underlying foundation to your content marketing campaign. How your customers will find you is through keyword searches. Therefore having a competitive advantage via tools like this is vital to driving the most search traffic. SEMrush gives you an immense amount of SEO intelligence that helps you with your optimization process. The result of your analysis should consist of two very important topics:

How people express their desires and interests on the web
How many people search for the particular

This will give you a pretty extensive and thorough view of your marketplace. You create an entry point where you can easily assess who your competitors are, as they are most likely bidding on the same keywords. Your most successful competitors usually have taken time to understand your shared customer needs and done most of the market research for you. Pick apart their strategy in pieces with Keyword Planner, SEMRush, and Market Samurai.

When defining competition answer some of the following questions:

  • Who are your competitors?
  • What are their keyword lists & why do they target them?
  • How good are they? (technologically savvy, CMS they use, their sales funnels)
  • How do they sell? (value proposition, understanding their customers)
  • You can learn about your competitors’ wins and failures by looking at their keyword list, positioning, and ad copy. When you are viewing their campaigns, you can gain insights and ideas on the keywords that you may have overlooked in the past, adding numerous prefixes and or suffixes to already existing keyword groups.

You will get bonus points (aka ROI) if you compare their keyword list against yours, and see where you will be successfully competing against them.

4. How to create a keyword research spreadsheet where you can include all keywords relevant for your business?

The best place to compile all your keywords is in Google Spreadsheets. This way, you and your agency can collaborate on the same document in real-time. When we evaluate the keywords, we tend to stick to the most important metrics related to Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. The two particular tools most used at Alpha Efficiency are Google Ads Keyword Planner and SEMRush. These lay the foundation for our work. There are a plethora of other great tools that you can use, but we found ourselves using these the most. Also, be sure to check out keyword researching tools articles, and see what other services provide for more in-depth analysis.

Effective visualization of your data is a quintessential component of all successful campaigns. A good way to achieve this is to create an organized list of keywords. Once we have gathered enough intelligent SEO research on variables in keywords, our next step is to organize them by traffic potential, relevance, and semantics.

The pie chart below shows all the important things to consider when components to refer to when organizing a campaign strategy.

It is best to group words together semantically according to meaning and naming convention. Then you can categorize further for their potential to perform by using the insight you gathered through your various SEO tools ( Mentioned above). The way you organize your keyword list can make or break a campaign. Experience plays a big role in successfully organizing your list. Observing the data without experience in semantics and competitor SEO analytics can lead to overall ineffective strategies.

5. How to populate the spreadsheet with the data from free SEO Tools?

The goal is to determine what keywords are bringing your competition the most results, and from there, to direct your content towards the same keywords. Staying on top of search trends and competitor analytics will help you populate your keyword spreadsheet. Every keyword should represent a campaign within your marketing strategy. Start practicing researching keyword trends daily, either by doing this yourself or by hiring someone with the skill level and experience for the task. This will decrease the profit loss potential from making rookie mistakes.

Search Engine Optimisation competition metrics that are a part of our SEO spreadsheet are:

  • Citation Flow
  • Trust Flow
  • Index Count (how many pages are indexed by Google or Bing)
  • Referring Domains (true count of backlinks)
  • Domains RDD
  • Page RDP
  • Page Backlinks
  • Domain Backlinks BLD
  • Edu/Gov Backlinks BLEG
  • Keyword Title
  • Keyword In Description
  • Keyword in the head section
  • Domain Age (to evaluate the age of the backlinks not so much the strength of the domain itself)
  • Page Rank (outdated and not used anymore, but sometimes gives a cue)

We assess the competitiveness of the page with SEMRush.Without tools like it, analyzing the SEO competition will be too expensive. Without thorough SEO competition analysis, SEO keyword research is completely futile.

6. How to produce a competition level SEO report?

Upon completion of every good keyword research report, there needs to be a good actionable document that will allow to you, the business owner, to take a realistic look at your business position and understand with clarity, the steps to take towards your business goals.

An actionable report doesn’t consist only of previously mentioned keyword research spreadsheet but also contains insights that can help your creative team to develop a more articulate content strategy, with regards to short term as well as long term future.

It is important to monitor what others are doing well and what others are doing poorly. See where you stand in comparison to your main competition. By utilizing tools like SEMRush and your keyword list, you can gauge your own progress in relation to the success of other companies like yours. Maintain this report on a bimonthly or weekly basis to ensure you are on top of relevant trends happening within your sector. Be sure to utilize graphs, charts, and other data visualization tools (like Inzata – Data Analysis Tools) to better illustrate keyword trends. All this will help you stay with the curve on your journey to marketing success.

7. How to create an editorial calendar used for SEO Execution (or spreadsheet for your Ad Copies)?

Establishing a timeline for your campaign strategy is the last important component of a successful SEO campaign. Determining how long you want to run keywords and which keywords to run at particular times also takes experience. Ranking them by traffic drive potential can help you decide which keywords to run when and for how long. This, of course, should be a flexible plan. In the event that a keyword is performing exceptionally well, or the contrary, you need to be adaptive. Change your calendar to reflect ongoing analytics of your keywords. Keeping up good scheduling practices will drive better results, especially with some time on your belt.

The difference that exceptional keyword research makes

Experience and practice will play a major role in your keyword research effort. And something that will pay big dividends in the long run. Observing the data without prior experience can lead to costly mistakes in deciding what content to create and what keywords to bid on. Allowing an experienced agency can cut down the costs of time and accuracy of the work required. That’s where we come into play.

Next Steps

Need a detailed SEO or SEM strategy for your business? Do not hesitate to schedule a call with Alpha Efficiency experts. We will listen to your needs & create a proposal most suited for your business goals.

Brian Djordjevic
About The Author

Brian Dordevic

Brian is Marketing Strategic Planner with a passion for all things digital. Feel free to follow him on Twitter or schedule a consultation call with him.

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