Process For Keyword Research To Discover New Keywords and Write Content For SEO

In this episode we answer a question submitted by Clint Sanchez of Blaksheep Creative.  Clint wanted to know our process for doing keyword research, our workflow, and how we used the information to create website content.  We outline a simple but rigorous keyword research method that anyone can do, and how to turn that information into targeted content for your website!

Don’t miss an episode – listen on iTunes, Google Podcasts, SpotifyStitcher, Android Apps, or RSS!

What You’ll Learn

  • Where to begin when doing keyword research
  • Take a look at competitor pages to see what they are targeting
  • Utilize the information on the Google search results page to find related keywords
  • Don’t forget about Bing
  • Discover which keywords are most popular
  • Create keyword targeted website content

Here is the Transcript for Episode 68 How To Do Keyword Research For SEO Content Writing; 

Jesse Dolan:                      Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I’m your host, Jesse Dolan. Here with you on this episode, we’re going to be talking about keyword research. We’ve got a question from Clint Sanchez at BlakSheep Creative, sent this question in, not an audio recording question, but it is an email question that he sent in and we’re going to talk about keyword research. He had a pretty good question, and I think it’s something that everybody’s probably a little bit curious about, or at least you’ve done it yourself. So we’ll kind of walk through what our best practice is and how we approach it and hopefully, that helps you out.

Before we get into that, I want to talk as always about our free instant SEO audit, go on onto localseotactics.com. If you haven’t checked it out yet top right corner, there’s a yellow button, free instant SEO audit. You plug in your webpage, you plug in the keyword you want to audit it against, and it’s going to tell you how well optimized your page is or not for that keyword. And it’s going to give you a list of recommendations on what you should do to kind of optimize it. So pretty handy, totally free. Check that out. And as always use it as many times as you want on as many pages as you want for as many keywords as you want. Use it over and over. So check that out.

Let’s get into Clint’s question here. Let me read it verbatim. So Clint sent this in a number of months ago, and we’ve got a number of other ones here for those of you that I’ve traded emails with, or that have left a recording, know that we’re going to start chipping away at these. So hopefully everybody’s received their t-shirt by now.

And for those of you who do have a question, if you want to get in on this too, go to localseotactics.com, go down to the bottom, you can submit a question if you want to just fill out the form and send it over that way. Or we’d love it if you record it, right, got a call in and leave the recording with your question and then we can use the audio on the show as well. Either way, if you send in a question and we use it, we’re going to send you a free t-shirt. So if you are watching on video, you can see it’s just one of these Intrycks t-shirts, the one I’m wearing, the one you always see in the video. And I will send one of those off to you if you chime in. And so check that out, localseotactics.com.

So Clint, who did that, shares with us here. He says, “Man, I love the show and I’m learning Boku from it. I’d love to see/hear your workflow on keyword research from start to writing content. I’d also love to learn why Google hasn’t used my same schema to get my Facebook reviews on my GMB.” So that last part, Clint, we’re not going to cover that as far as the schema and the reviews and your GMB. Whole different topic, but we are going to key in here on the keyword research, basically from scratch up until writing the content for those keywords. Great question and something that everybody, if you’re doing SEO, this should be relevant. And you probably have a process, it may be very similar to what I’m going to outline here, but you should have a process, right?

So where do we start? Well, you have to have a starting point. Depending on, in Clint’s case, being that he’s working at an agency, maybe you’re doing this for clients. Maybe you’re doing this for some friends or family if you’re helping them with their website, or if this is for your business, same starting point really for everybody here. What you’re going to have to establish is a starting point, a keyword, right? And this part shouldn’t require a ton of effort, you’re just going to have to start by making a list. So whether it’s a word document, a paper list, a note pad, whatever it is, first things first, have a spot you’re going to start recording this stuff, right, because we’re going to make some notes.

So go to your current website, again, whether that’s yours or the one you’re working on, and try to determine what are the primary services and what are the primary products that that website is representing. Usually, you can just go up to the top menu, go through the main service pages, the main product pages, and get a pretty good idea of what this website is about. Your homepage should also have some kind of content, whether it’s the title of the page or pages, the H ones, the headlines, things that are in bullet-point lists, things like that. And look for what’s important on the page and being that you’re listening to this podcast, you have some kind of knowledge about SEO. You’re aware of what SEO is and kind of the context of it.

So when you look at these pages, try to reverse engineer and figure out what’s this page about, what are the keywords, and just review that existing content. You don’t have to go through every page, just the main chunks here, and try to develop an idea for what this website is about. So after you go through the existing content, you should have a list of… It could be just a couple, it could be a couple of dozen keywords. Try to use your logic and your context to distill that down to what are the main keywords, what’s the main focus here? It doesn’t have to mean the most popular, right? Main meaning what you’re wanting to be targeting, what you’re going after. Have some sense of that and kind of prioritize the list accordingly.

Now, what you’re going to want to do is go out to Google and do some searches with that keyword. And we’re going to be looking for competitors and not just any competitors, but kind of who seems dominant. If you’ve got three or four keywords that are kind of related to a certain product or service, and if you’re finding the same people kind of popping up, those people are dominant, right? They’ve already done some of this research, so you’re going to want to look at their website the same way that you looked at your website you’re starting with. What are their main service pages, what are their product pages, what kind of keywords are they using in their titles, in their headlines, in their texts? What kind of photos, things like that, what are they calling their photos with the alt tags or file names?

Do some reverse engineering just like you did on your site to those primary competitors and add to your list. Now, hopefully, you’re going to find some that are in common, right? But hopefully, you’re going to find some that you weren’t aware of or some variations that you didn’t think of and add to your list. And as we go through this, we’re going to keep adding to the list. That’s kind of the intent here. So keep a running tab on this and you can take this stuff as far as you want. If you want to do a quick light version, check out a competitor or two. If you’re really taking a deep dive and you’ve got a dozen competitors, how much time you spend on this is completely up to you of course, right?

So either way though, add to that list. And then what is the next step, if I can look at my notes properly here. At this point, we usually run that kind of first draft of the list through some kind of a keyword tool. You can do a quick Google search and find there’s lots of keyword tools. I should say, when I say keyword tool, I don’t mean like a keyword research tool. We’re doing the research manually in this tutorial, this walkthrough. There are tools out there that can do some of this for you, that can give you related keywords, that can kind of give you suggestions.

Just for the purpose of this question and answer here that we’re doing, we’re walking through something that should be basically free or extremely low cost. I’m not leveraging any tools, just kind of going through a actual practice of logic and applying it. If you do a Google search and you find some tools that do some of this, great, more power to you. There’s some great, useful utilities and tools out there that’ll do that, but we’re going manual here on this, right?

So when I say keyword tool, I should clarify and say, I mean, run your list through a keyword volume tool. And the one that I use is super light and easy, it’s a plugin for Chrome, but it’s called Keywords Everywhere. And I don’t think it’s free anymore, so you can check out the pricing for yourself, just go on onto keywordseverywhere.com and click on the pricing tab and you’ll see you basically buy credits, right, is the way this works. They have modules or packages, I should say. Year, what is it, late October and the year 2020, just for future reference, $10 gets you 100,000 credits. And basically, if you have a list of, let’s say 100 keywords that you want to analyze and get the volumes on, that’d be 100 credits. Each keyword search to get the volume is one credit. So for $10 you can research 100,000 keywords, right? So yeah, there’s some costs there, but really pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things. And for $10, if you’re just working on one website, you’re probably never going to burn through that $10, right?

So that’s what I use. There are some other products out there that’ll give you the same information and I’m sure there’s more that’ll give you more in-depth information. But for this process, we’re just talking about, take your list that you’ve curated so far, go out to Keywords Everywhere or something else, drop them in, and get your volumes.

Now, search and we’ll take a pause right there, the search volumes, just so you know, every tool is going to have their own methodology in how they’re going to calculate or estimate even what that search volume is. This is not information that’s coming straight from Google. Years ago, you could get this information from Google, but that’s changed. They just don’t provide that anymore for a lot of security and privacy reasons it’s not accessible. So these tools, they all have their different methodologies in how they’re going to collect that.

Keywords Everywhere is known as being decent. None of these are gospel, and they’re all going to have some kind of conflicting numbers. And really when I look at it, I don’t so much trust the actual number of searches. Really all I’m looking for is kind of a relative ranking, right? Which ones are more popular and which ones are less popular. Not getting hung up on, “This was 1200 searches a month and this was, 900 searches a month.” and analyzing that, more just ranking them in order of popularity. Because really at the end of the day, you’re probably going after multiple keywords and you’re going to get to most of these on your list for the content you’re going to create or how you’re going to incorporate them. So we don’t really need to know too much of those details, in my opinion, on the exact quantity. It’s just kind of the relativity of what’s important and what’s popular and what’s not.

Okay. So that disclaimer aside, run your list through a tool and determine the ranking. Once you have that ranking there, you can decide on… you don’t have to go off it verbatim, but just starting at the top on the keywords that you really want to explore further, do a Google search for that keyword. And just like we did on the front side for the keywords that you identified as kind of your primary targets, we’re going to be looking at the results in Google. In some cases, explore some competitors. If you notice some new competitors or the same competitors, maybe new pages, whatever it is of these keywords, definitely, if you find some competitive pages that are dominant and must have something going on right, reverse engineer those. Go to those pages, pick keywords, add to your list.

This whole time, the purpose is we’re still adding to our list. We’re developing a larger list of keywords here. So look for the competitors that are showing up. And then there’s also two other main things we’re going to be looking for on the search results page when we’re searching for these keywords based on priority, of the popularity, I should say, not priority.

What we’re going to be looking for is the… Let’s see, if you go kind of midway down the page on most searches, you’re going to trigger the People also ask, a little box that’s going to show up. And sometimes if you don’t see that in your first search, maybe you click on a result and then click back one button to the search results page again, and then you’ll see that. So if you don’t see that right away, just do that little trick and that’ll usually trigger it for you. But those questions where it says, People also ask, is going to be related. That’s Google saying, “Hey, I understand your search query and what you’re searching for here. Here’s some other options. Here’s some different ways people search for something similar.” And you kind of get to peek inside of the Google algorithm a little bit there for how it’s showing you related content or related questions and trying to figure out your intent.

That little box right there, for People also ask, is highly valuable. And we’re going to circle back to that in a second when we talk about writing content for these keywords. So for the People also ask for, record what you think is relevant for the search terms or phrases that you see in there, add them to your list. And we’re also going to do a Google search for those phrases as well, and repeat this exact same process. So that’s kind of in midway down the page, you’ll see the People also ask for.

Further down the page, usually at the bottom. So especially if you’re on desktop, if you do a search and then go to the bottom of the page, it’s going to have multiple pages of results. So you can go to page two, page three, etc. Right down in that area, there’s going to be usually another little box of search terms that Google provides. And what does it say, Searches related to. Just like the People also ask for, there’s going to be some great little nuggets down in there for some keywords that you want to take a look at. And the same thing, record those keywords and then leverage those keywords to do another search. And on that search again, look for the People also ask for, look for the questions, things like that.

And you’re trying to find that information and kind of follow Google’s little nuggets that it’s given you to record more keywords and then search those keywords and keep repeating that process. Again, depending on how extensive you want your list to be and how much time you want to invest into this, follow those rabbit trails as deep as you want and keeping exploring that. That’s really up to you, your tolerance on how big this list is going to get, and how much research you’re going to do.

So at this point, we’ve done those searches for those keywords. We’ve added more keywords and we’re looking for those two suggestions from Google, the People also search… I’m sorry, People also ask, and Searches related to. We’re stealing information out of those. You’re also going to find, depending on the search, you’re going to trigger some various results page features from Google. Maybe a knowledge panel pops up with more information, maybe some like FAQ’s pop-up. Pay attention to those. Look for keywords that jump out that you feel that are related and capture those, add them to the list, and keep repeating the process.

Also, look as you’re scrolling through the results, look at the titles in the meta descriptions of those competitors that are showing up on search. If you find a phrase in a title or in a description there, same thing, steal it from there, add it to your list. If you want to click on any of those pages and explore that competitor site, follow that trail as well. Again, the amount of time you put into this is really up to your tolerance.

At the end of the day, you’re going to come up with an extensive list now. And then what we do is we run that back through the keyword tool to get the volumes re-rank that list, and at that point, you can decide you’re done, or you can kind of do another round. And we usually find when you kind of step back, close all your tabs, because you probably have a ton of tabs that have opened up and all kinds of things you’re following, just to kind of do another round, not as extensively all the way through, but maybe starting with those top 10 or 20 keywords, you might find a few more that you missed.

Another thing here is Bing. Bing has a similar structure when you do the search. It’s going to have similar recommendations on the side panel and down the page. Although we’re looking to really optimize in Google here, the main part is keyword research. And check out Bing. It’s a different search engine on a different algorithm. You’re going to find some stuff similar, but it’s worth a check just to see if anything else triggers and pops up. Look at the results page. Look at those Bing provided suggestions, just like you would on Google. And don’t skip that. Bing is definitely not the same level as Google for total number of users, but it’s second place, right? So definitely worth a look.

So now you’ve got your list. You’ve recompiled it, probably have it in priority. And we kind of do three things here at the end of that list. Highlight your top keywords, the cash cow keywords, right? If you could only pick five or 10 or 15 keywords to provide traffic to your website that you’re working on, which keywords would it be? Yeah, we want everything on the list, right? That’s why you’ve curated the list. But it’s important to identify your top priorities. Also, if maybe you’re doing this as a one-person shop, you don’t have to do this necessarily, but if you’re going to be working with somebody else, maybe a client, maybe a business partner, or other people on your team, you’re also going to want to review this to cross off any keywords that you’re wrong about, right?

Sometimes you attract the kind of clients for your business based on what you’re putting out there to be found with. Maybe there are some keywords that are just like tire kickers or people that are looking for freebies. If you don’t want to attract that, cross those keywords off your list and purge them, right? You don’t want to put content out for those. You don’t want to be found for those. So that’s the second thing.

And then the third thing is, as you’re going through this, anything else comes to mind, right, run it past your team, run it through different associates. Sometimes the phraseology is something that you’re just not aware of, tomato, tomato, potato, potato, whatever it is. People say things in different ways. Don’t just rely on what you know, and what the search engines have told you, ask other people as well. There’s lots of different ways to say things, right? And that’s especially true if there’s some geographic relevance here, be it slang or the way people say things. I think we’ve used the example before on the show talking about pop or soda pop, right? I’m up here in Minnesota. We can say pop. That’s how we refer to it. Other places in the country, it’s soda. We mean the same thing. We’re looking for the same beverage, but say it different ways. So take that into account as well and run it past the appropriate people if that part matters to you.

Okay. So now hopefully we ended up in a spot where we’ve got a list of keywords. And now for Clint’s question, now, how do you take that to writing content? So first things first, you should have some kind of a baseline for what kind of content you’re going to put out, right? If you’re looking at a keyword, your business is going to sell a product, sell a service, or have some kind of an onboarding funnel related to that keyword. So you should have some direction for the content you’d want to create.

Now, some important things that you’re going to want to have on there are… If you remember when we looked at that People also ask for, when you’re doing the searches, asking and answering those questions within your content is going to be very valuable. That’s kind of showing you Google thinks this is related, thinks the intent is similar. So if you’re looking to be found for keyword number one, if you can ask and answer those questions and kind of have that kind of content within your page for that People also ask for, Google is seeing that your content is related to that as well and it becomes more powerful.

Additionally, when you’re doing that research, when you’re finding these competitors are showing up, like there’s a certain theme to their page, we’re looking for what is Google favoring? If you’re seeing some trends and some similarities in your results, it’s not just because everybody’s writing about the same thing. It’s because Google is choosing that information, that format, that kind of content to answer when people are searching for something, right? So take that into account and kind of be aware of that and kind of cross-check that again if you need to and make sure your page… Don’t copy it, you don’t want to be an also-run, but you do have to understand what it is Google is looking for and what they’re favoring for these searches.

Be unique, don’t plagiarize, don’t copy-paste, that’s going to get you in huge trouble. Not necessarily from a copyright and legal standpoint, which is true, but with Google, yeah, they’re looking for things that may be similar, but they’re only looking for one person on this particular topic to be an authority. If two different companies have the exact same information on their web pages, only one is going to win. Google is not going to provide duplicate content right on the SERPs. You may bump into that occasionally, but as a rule, they’re not going to do that. So you want to be similar, but you want to have your own vibe, your own angle, your own story, your own presentation, which does make sense because as a business, you should be unique from your competitors. So make sure you leverage all that for what’s unique and make sure it’s separate and not an also-ran.

Let’s see here.

And also with that definitely pay attention to the type of content on the page. If most of the pages that you’re bumping into in your research have videos embedded, maybe they’re very graphically intense, maybe they’re very long, just look for things that kind of correlate again to the type of page provided. Not just the content and what they’re talking about, but what types of things are on the page and take note on that. And then you’re going to be in pretty good shape.

Now, how to write the content, how to wordsmith it. That’s a whole nother deal there, but I definitely would say kind of the end of the process is to write your content and then run it through some kind of a tool. Something that we use is called PageOptimizer Pro. And in some future episodes here, we’re going to be talking more about PageOptimizer Pro, answering a question about it, and doing a kind of a pseudo tutorial like we are right here.

But what PageOptimizer Pro does is, now, if you have a finished page, it’ll take that page and it will analyze it against those competitor pages and it’ll return you the results of what seems to be different. If 10 competitors have some certain things that they’re doing on the page in common and yours does not have that thing happen on a page, PageOptimizer Pro or POP is going to show that to you. It’ll say, “These 10 sites are doing this, and you’re not. We recommend that you do this thing.” Or inversely, if you’re over-optimized, if you’ve used your keyword 75 times on the page but the sites that are showing up in ranking are only using it five times, it’ll tell you to de-tune your site, right, like you’re overusing this keyword.

So do your research, just to kind of reset everything, do your research, look at the competitors, try to parse out what Google is looking for, and see what kind of pages are being created. Take your best shot, put out your piece of content, the better the content, the more user-friendly it is, the higher chance that you’re going to have of winning. And then once you have your page done, either run it through a tool like PageOptimizer Pro or do that same thing yourself. You know what I mean? Just really take a look at it side by side. You don’t want to just push the button, set it and forget it, and then hope that it ranks. You really when you’re done, kind of give it that final edit, that final proofread, and see if you do think you’re going to stand a good chance.

If you are interested in PageOptimizer Pro, you can go to localseotactics.com, go to our resources page and you’ll see a link to it there. We do have it in our affiliate section, which means if you subscribe to PageOptimizer Pro, we do get a few bucks for it. It doesn’t cost you any more to go through that, right? So if you’re a fan of the show and you’re interested in PageOptimizer Pro, we’d appreciate if you go through that link just to kind of give us a little something for the effort, so to speak. But either way, you can Google it and find it, it doesn’t matter. If it intrigues you check it out, it’s a stellar product and can really help you understand, again, what Google’s looking for. And repeat that on a page by page basis on a topic by topic basis, really at the end of the day.

And then the last step, Clint really didn’t ask this part, that kind of answers, I hope, Clint, your question on how we would approach keyword research and then bring that to writing content. Then the last part though is to make sure you’re tracking that keyword and seeing if that page is ranking. Whether you give it a couple of weeks or a couple of months, you should definitely reevaluate that page and see if it is ranking. If it’s not, run it through a tool like PageOptimizer Pro again, and see what changed in the market. Maybe your competitors have one-upped and you lost some ranking. Things like that can definitely happen. But if it’s not ranking, don’t be afraid to go in and tweak that content. Maybe your title tags need to be adjusted. Maybe your ranking down lower on the page, but you just don’t look very attractive so you’re not getting clicks. If you start to get more clicks, you’re going to become more relevant and Google will favor you and maybe your rankings bump up, right?

So don’t set it and forget it and make sure you have some kind of a system to follow-up in the end, attract that ranking, and then modify that page if necessary. And that would kind of round it out, in my opinion. So hopefully that helps everybody out. Again, that’s kind of how we approach it. There are some other paid solutions you can do there for some of the research or to automate some of this, but really at the end of the day, if you sit down and go through a model like that and have some thought into it and follow that process, I think you’re going to be in a pretty good position. Probably discover some new keywords you weren’t aware of and put you on a good spot for what kind of content to produce for your website.

All right. So let’s get into our five-star review of the week. Like I say, pretty much all the time, probably a broken record for any of you who have listened to multiple episodes, but we love reading these five-star reviews. You don’t pay to listen to the show, it’s completely free, right? So the only feedback that we get really is through the reviews. Is this working for you guys? Are you liking this? Is it valuable? What do you like? What don’t you like? And we’ve been blessed to get a bunch of great five star reviews and we read one on every episode here, right?

So if you haven’t left us a review yet we’d love to hear from you. You can go onto localseotactics.com, you can find all the links to, again, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, wherever it is, however you listen to our podcast. We’d love to get a review from you to help share your experience and then it helps give more visibility to the show, and last but not least, it lets us know that we’re connecting with you. And if you leave it, eventually we’re going to get to it and we’re going to read it on the show here.

So this week we got a good five-star review from Shannon Pilcher. I hope I’m saying that last name right. Shannon says, “A must-hear resource for your online marketing needs. This podcast came right when I needed it. I had just launched my website and podcast and found myself needing to gain traction with my customers. Listening to Jesse and Bob helped me begin to demystify the whole SEO process and broaden my toward other online marketing strategies. Have a listen, you’ll be glad you did.”

Thanks for the glowing review, Shannon, and yeah, glad we could help you out. Whether you’re putting together a podcast or a website, really SEO in general kind of applies to content marketing, right? If you’re in a spot where people are looking for things, like in a podcast, if you’re searching for a topic or a search engine, SEO really does play into all that. So hopefully you’re having success with your podcast as well and I’ll have to check that out.

So thanks again for everybody for checking in. Hopefully, this was a good episode for you. If you do have a question, again, go on out to localseotactics.com, submit a question. We’d love to hear from you. And if you have a question, I’m sure other people do as well, so it’s going to help everybody else, not just you. And we’d love to get a review from you, maybe I’ll read that on the show. Until next time, catch you later.

To share your thoughts:

  • Send us a comment or question in the section below.
  • Share this show on Facebook.

To help out the show:

Your ratings and reviews really help and we read each one.

LINKS

MP3 Audio DOWNLOAD THE MP3 AUDIO FILE

Listen to the episode however you like with the audio file.