Last updated on May 2nd, 2018
There is no universal step-to-step guide how to find and structure keywords. Your approach will depend on the number of factors such as:
- Website characteristics (domain and page authority, number of referring pages and backlinks, anchor list)
- Primary goals and priorities (brand awareness, traffic, applications, calls)
- Competitive environment (industry, direct or indirect competitors)
- Marketing team, budget and timing
Step 1. Seed keywords research
Start with analysing your product or service. How can you describe it with your own words? Ask your friends or colleagues how they might search for your business. For example, your are promoting a site with legal services. So you would think first about search queries such as “hire a lawyer”, “legal advice” or “law firm”. That is an easy approach to raising a keyword database for further steps and to boost your website with cornerstone content.
Step 2. Generate relevant keyword ideas
First of all, check what keywords your website is already be ranking in Google. To deal with it, you can use “Search Analytics” report from Google Search Console. Here you can filter the results by countries, devices or dates. The problem is that you are limited to 1000 keywords. The other issue is that report does not show the monthly search volume so you can make an analysis on the base on clicks, impressions and positions.
Then, check what keywords other websites in your niche are ranking for. To find competitors, just type in Google search your seed keywords that you have found after the Step 1. Once you found them, check through Google Search Console which keywords they are ranking for. It can happen that 2-3 competitors can provide you with enough ideas to keep your marketing team busy for a long time. If it still not enough, you can use tools such as Ahrefs to find competing domains and discover a lot of relevant keywords.
Finally, if you fill that websites in your niche still have not cover possible search queries or you make a business with unique products, use keywords research tools with a great database such as Ahrefs, SEMRush or Moz. For example, with Ahrefs Keywords Explorer you can filter keywords by search traffic, clicks, cost per click and even number of words in a phrase.
Also, do not forget about indirect keywords that can serve you as an additional source of traffic. With an example of legal services, you can consider phrases such as “what to do if I’m fined” or “how to check a business partner”.
Step 3. Follow keywords metrics
After first and second steps, you have collected thousands of keywords ideas. Now it is a time to structure them and choose those that work best for your business. Here is the number of metrics you can rely on:
- Search volume. How many times do people put this keyword into Google? You can search for the results considering only countries that you are interested in. Also, remember about seasonable search for keywords (e.g. Christmas gifts)
- Clicks. It is a crucial issue because two similar phrases can have almost search volume, but a different number of clicks. It can happen due to Google search results features such as shopping results, image packs and so on.
- Keywords difficulty. The algorithm is simple: the more relevant backlinks this keyword has, the more difficult it will be for marketers to promote it. However, do not give up with “difficult” words as they can be quite valuable for you business. We recommend always search for a balance between business value and resources needed. To avoid manual work, you can rely on SEO tools such as Google Adwords Planner (totally free) or SEMrush keyword research tool with free 7 days trial. One of our favourites is KWFinder that can check your keyword, analyse its difficulty and suggest alternatives with the lower level of competitiveness. Again, you can target the search to a specific country.
Step 4. Structure your list
We believe you know that one page can be ranked for hundreds of keywords. So there is no need to create one page for one keyword phrase. There is an approach that you can use to structure your list when you think what pages to create. Customer Journey Stages Model:
- Brand awareness
- Problem identification
- Investigate solutions
- Asses satisfaction of needs
- Justify value
- Purchase factors
- Customer success
- Up-selling and cross-selling
- Loyalty and advocacy
So you can map all your keywords through customer journey stages to generate more leads for your business. Also, you can group keywords by other factors. For example, find out which phrases bring your website the highest business value and allocate your resources on this list. On the basis of this list, you can develop high-quality content for your customers and be among the TOP ranked websites in the SERPs.