How to find keywords that push your article to the top of SERPs
If you clicked on this article, you're probably looking to answer questions like “how to do keyword research?” or “how to find a keyword that competitors are ranking for?”
Both questions are popular — searching for the first one nets you over 432 million Google results alone!
Keyword research, that is, the process of searching for and finding common search terms related to your webpage or article's topic, is vital for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) success.
When you do your research well, you can target popular keywords that put your articles at the top of search results. This is where you want to be: 28.5% of Google users click result #1, 15.7% click result #2, and 11.0% click result #3.
So, the better you rank, the more traffic you get.
Of course, there's an art to keyword research. Let's dive into it with this blog post…
Get to know different types of keywords
If you've engaged with any podcasts, articles, or social media posts about content marketing, you've probably heard terms like “LSI keyword” and “primary keyword” thrown around.
So, before we dive into the art of finding keywords, let's quickly cover the different types of keywords.
An article's most important keyword is called the “primary keyword” (think: “social media marketing”). The keywords that are related to the primary keyword are the “secondary keywords” (think: “Facebook marketing” and “Instagram marketing”).
Terms like “media,” “post,” and “comment” are Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords — these help search engines like Google understand your web page's context.
There are several different types of keywords to watch out for. These include:
- Short (seed) keywords. These are one to two words long and tend to be the most competitive (think: “social media”).
- Mid-tail keywords. These are two-plus words long and slightly less competitive (think: “keyword SEO analysis”).
- Long-tail keywords. These are three-plus words long, much less competitive, and very specific (think: “leggings for women Michigan”).
Primary/secondary refers to the keyword's importance in your article. The keyword's type refers to its characteristics. So, a single keyword can be both your primary and long-tail.
How to come up with keyword ideas
You might assume that the hard part is optimizing your article for your keywords, but I I don't see it this way. Tools like MarketMuse, Clearscope, Frase, and SurferSEO can make SEO optimization a piece of cake. The really tough thing is finding a golden opportunity keyword.
You've heard tips like “copy your competitor's keywords” or “use keyword planner tools.” So, we'll skip those for now. Instead, here are three tips you may not have tried:
#1. Analyze your website niches
Every website — from dinosaur blogs to B2B marketing sites — fits into a niche. And within each niche, there are certain terms people are more likely to search for.
This first tip is to analyze your niche and pin down that list.
To start, create a list of subtopics within your niche. If your niche was surfing, for example, surfing gear, surfing tricks, surfing events, and surfing stories might be four sub-topics.
Put your brainstorming cap on and try to come up with 10+ keywords for each sub-topic. Try to cover the sub-topic in detail — include keywords on anything someone might want to know!
Tip! Use your niche's Wikipedia article as inspiration. Here's some of what the “surfing” Wikipedia page covers:
Then, take these keywords and plug them into a keyword research tool. This will help you rank them from the most valuable to the least valuable (we'll cover this in more detail in “What to consider when choosing keywords”).
#2. Use “search related to”
The next tip is a super-fast one, so it's good for brainstorming on the go!
Type your niche into Google and scroll down to the bottom. Here, you'll notice a line with some related searches. Here are the related searches for “keyword analysis SEO,” for example:
I recommend you write these keywords down. Then, search for each one, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and add any new keywords to your list.
Once you repeat these steps with five or more keywords, you'll have a decent list of keywords.
Note: If you're specifically after long-tail keywords, you can use a variation of this tip. Type your niche or a common keyword into Google, then note down the pre-filled searches Google recommends. For example, here are the results you get for “keyword analysis:”
#3. Find keywords on Reddit and Quora
If your niche falls under the B2C umbrella, this final tip is for you.
Go to Reddit and search for your industry. You should be able to find at least one subreddit related to your niche. Click on the subreddit and have a look around. You should be able to get some keyword inspiration from the posts.
Tip: If you want to see the most popular threads on the subreddit, click “top” and then select “all time.”
Another great way to get keywords from Reddit is by using Higher Visilibty's Keyworddit tool. You simply type in a subreddit's name, and it will show you the most common keywords. For example, here's what you get for Photography.
Source: Higher Visibility
Quora is also great for keywords. Like with Reddit, type in your niche, and scroll through the top threads to find keywords people use.
MediaBerry's favorite keyword tools
MediaBerry has experimented with many SEO keyword research tools over the past few years, and we've definitely got our favorites.
Here's a short list:
Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is part of Google Ads, and it's not designed specifically for SEO, but it's still well worth using.
To use Google Keyword Planner, you simply type a keyword or topic in. Then, the tool will show you related keywords plus their average monthly searches and competition.
You can also see the cost of running an ad for each keyword and sort your keywords into categories.
Google Trends is a standalone tool that can help you track a keyword's popularity since the early days of the internet.
To use it, fill in a keyword and press enter. You can filter your search by location and time period. You can also compare two or more keywords to each other.
Note: If Google Trends isn't for you, explodingtopics.com is a fantastic alternative.
Ahrefs is a link-building and SEO tool with a fantastic feature for keyword research — Keyword Explorer.
To use it, you type in your keyword, select your location, choose your search engine, and search. Keyword Explorer can show you a keyword's search volume, clicks, Keyword Difficulty (KD), and more.
We use SEMrush to find out what keywords competitors are ranking well for. To use SEMrush, you simply type in the domain you want to compete against, select your location, and press “start now.”
SEMrush breaks down the domain's keywords and their position, Cost Per Click (CPC), and traffic.
Ubersuggest is a Google scraper that can suggest keyword ideas based on Google's search suggestions.
To use it, type in either a domain or keyword and press “search.” Ubersuggest will give you a list of suggested keywords and their search volume, CPC, and difficulty.
SurferSEO is an SEO tool that can help you compare your article to a competitor's. It's particularly good for ranking highly in very competitive niches.
To use SurferSEO's Content Editor, you type in your primary keyword. Then, it will display a list of articles you can compete against. You select a handful (preferably 10+), and it starts scanning your text. SurferSEO will award you points based on keywords, your article length, images, and other factors.
Ideally, you want to score 70+ with SurferSEO.
What to consider when choosing keywords
So far, our tips will have helped you generate a list of potential keywords to use. But how do you determine the value/usefulness of each keyword?
Here are five factors you need to look at:
A keyword's search volume is the number of people who search for a keyword in a given period (usually monthly).
A higher volume figure indicates that many people are searching for a keyword, while a lower volume figure means fewer people are searching for a keyword.
Now, that doesn't mean that higher equals better. Terms with a higher search volume tend to have more competition. So sometimes, you'll get better results by targeting a less popular keyword with little competition.
Note: You can't compare search volumes between industries, as they vary wayyy too much. When deciding what high/low search volume is, compare the keyword within your niche only.
This factor isn't a metric per se but a subjective evaluation of how tough the competition is for a keyword.
Keywords with tough competition tend to have many dedicated articles with high-quality content from websites with a high Domain Ranking (DR) or Domain Authority (DA) score. For example, here are the results for “keyword ideas:”
Keywords with easy competition tend to have forum posts or social media posts at the top of their Search Engine Page Results (SERPs).
This metric tells you how difficult it will be to rank well against a keyword's current competitors. A higher score means ranking will be more difficult, and a lower score will be less difficult.
If you are just starting your website, don't have a high DA/DR, or don't have many backlinks, target mostly keywords with a low difficulty rating. Then, once you have built more of a reputation for your website, you can start targeting harder keywords.
Estimated Organic Click-Through-Rate (CTR)
An article's organic Click-Through Rate (CTR) is the percentage of people who see it in search results and click on it.
When analyzing keywords, you want to look for keywords that have a higher estimated CTR. You can never know 100% what the CTR will be in advance, but you can get a general idea based on how tough the competition is and whether the keyword has a featured snippet (featured snippets will snap up traffic!).
To help you, here's the average CTR of the first ten Google results.
Search intent is the goal people are trying to accomplish when searching for a specific term.
For example, the intention of people searching for “keyword researcher tool” is to find tools that enhance the keyword research process. Articles describing how to use these tools, reviewing them, and sharing tips meet the users' intention, while articles about SEO tools don't.
Advanced tips to rank against competitors
Hopefully, we've already helped you to identify, research, and analyze the best keywords for SEO in your niche. Let's finish with three advanced tips for keyword research.
#1. Leverage Ahrefs Content Gap
Content Gap is a feature available on Ahrefs. It can show you any keywords that your competitors rank highly for that you don't.
Here's how to use it:
- Go to Ahref and click “Content Gap.”
- Type the domain of at least two competing websites into the “Show keywords that any of the below targets rank for” section.
- Tick “At least one of the targets should rank in top 10.”
- Make sure your website domain is in the “But the following target doesn't rank for” section.
- Click “Show keywords.”
This will produce a list of keywords you don't rank for from the highest to lowest search volume.
#2. Use Google Search Console to find keyword opportunities
Google Search Console helps you analyze your website's traffic and performance. You can use it for many things — including finding keywords that get a lot of impressions but few clicks.
Here's how to find these keywords:
- Go to Google Search Console and click “Performance Report.”
- Sort your list by “impressions.”
Once you've found keywords with a low CTR but high impressions, create an extremely high-quality article that will rank well. Articles that are high quality have great visuals, use good sources, present fresh information, and cover the nuances of a topic.
#3. Sneak on Google Ads
Sometimes, you can't compete against your competitors in organic search results. That's okay — and it doesn't mean you have to give up. Google Ads allows you to target set keywords, so you can promote your article with Google Ads and outrank your competitors!
Note: If you're interested in other SEO or content marketing strategies, read “How to Create a Content SEO Strategy to Grow Your Startup.”
The secret to finding keywords for SEO
Keyword research is the practice of finding and analyzing potential keywords so you can give your content marketing a boost. Good keyword research will help you rank highly in SERPs, winning you more organic traffic and the attention of leads.
The secret to finding the best keywords for SEO is to use keyword research tools (we recommend Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, Ahrefs, SEMrush, Ubersuggest, and SurferSEO) and analyze each keyword carefully. You can value your keywords by looking at:
- Search volume
- Keyword difficulty
- Organic CTR
- Search intent
So, what are you waiting for? Try the strategies in this article and see how far they take you!
If you're interested in pushing your content marketing to the next level, connect with MediaBerry today.