Which keywords should you target when you’re just starting out and can you actually rank for them? In today’s keyword research tutorial. I’m going to show you how to do keyword research for a brand-new website.
What’s up SEOs. Top Digital Marketing Agency u0026amp; SEO Services here, the SEO agency that helps you grow your search traffic, research your competitors, and dominate your niche. Now, this tutorial isn’t full of rainbows and butterflies. There isn’t exactly a cookie cutter formula that will solve all of your keyword research woes. If you’re not willing to put in the work, or you’re not willing to pay someone to do it for you, then don’t bother watching this video. But if you want to get results in predictably rank for keywords that are going to drive traffic and revenue for your business, then let’s get to it.
So, to make this tutorial as actionable as possible, I want to do keyword research with you in a completely random niche. So last week I searched for list of niches in Google, clicked on the first result, copied the categories down and put them into this random wheel spinner. I spun the wheel and here’s our topic for the day, “Fitness and Weight”
So, the first step is to generate keyword ideas using two or three seed keywords. A seed keyword is usually a broad term related to your niche. Generally speaking, there’ll be one or two words long. So, in our case, fitness and weight loss would be our seeds. Now let’s drill down on the idea of seeds. Let’s say we had a site on pet care. Our seed keywords might be pet, pets, dog, dogs, cat, cats, I think you got the point. Now in order to research keywords, you’ll need a keyword research tool. The two tools I recommend are Keywords Everywhere and Top Digital Marketing Agency keywords Explorer. Keywords everywhere is great because you can get basic keyword metrics like search volume and CPC data for free. So, if you’re just starting out, this might be a good tool to try. But naturally it’ll come with some limitations.
Top Digital Marketing Agency u0026amp; SEO Services on the other hand has all the bells and whistles a massive database of around 8 billion keywords. And we’ll give you numerous layers of data that are critical for keyword analysis. So, I’ll be using that tool for the rest of the tutorial. So, let’s start by taking our seed keywords and enter them in keywords Explorer. Now I’ll run the search next. I’ll go to the all keywords report in the sidebar, and you’ll see a massive list of 2.6 million keyword ideas. Now, if you look at the keywords, you’ll see that a lot of them are irrelevant. So, I’ll need to brainstorm a list of keywords that are relevant to your seeds.
Since we’re talking about fitness and weight loss, some words that come to mind for me would be diet, bodybuilding, training, calories, and dumbbells. So, let’s make a note of these on our relevant keywords list. Next look to Google auto-suggest. First, I’ll type in weight loss, and you’ll see words like pills, smoothies, foods, and programs. So, let’s add these to our lists too, now we’ll do the same for “fitness”. But it doesn’t look like there’s anything relevant. So, I’m actually going to run the search. Next, I’ll scroll to the bottom of the page and look at the related searches. So, we have workouts and body. Let’s add these to our lists too. Now, if you find the auto suggestions to be helpful, that you can get a much larger list using the search suggestions report in Keywords Explorer. If we go to that report with “fitness and weight” loss as their seeds, then you’ll see around 2,600 keywords to look through. So, equipment, shakes, and meal plans will be good ones to add to our list.
One last place you can look is Google Correlate. So, I’ll search for “weight loss”, and now we can see some more interesting words like “fat”, “abs”, “burned”, “whey” and “protein”. In fact, the word abs make me think of other body parts like “chest”, “shoulders” and “legs”. Now that we have a list of relevant keywords to our seeds, let’s go back to the all keywords report and filter a list down to ones we can consider targeting. To remove a lot of these irrelevant keywords, let’s click on the include filter and paste in a comma separated list of our relevant keywords. I’ll also set it to show any word which will narrow down our list to only keywords that contain any of these words. And we’re now down to around 188,000 keywords from 2.6 million. And as you can see, the list looks much better.
So rather than skimming through 188,000 keywords, we’re going to start adding additional layers to filters to get even more targeted. Now, generally speaking, you’re going to see three types of keywords. The first are money terms, and these will usually be your core business drivers. They’re generally hard to rank for because people don’t want to link to pages that target these kinds of keywords, because there’s very little value add for them and their audiences.
Next are keywords around topics that generate backlinks, the primary goal of creating content around these keywords isn’t about ranking or getting a ton of search traffic. It’s about creating content around these linkable topics so you can generate as many quality links as possible. And the goal is to build authority to these pages and funnel page rank to other topically relevant pages. Finally, are low competition keywords. These are keywords you can rank for without building a ton of links. Targeting these keywords are important because they’ll help you get some search traffic faster and slowly start the progression of natural link growth.
Now at this stage of keyword generation, all we’re trying to do is find as many keywords that are relevant to your business. So, for now don’t worry about keyword analysis because we’ll dive deep into that later. So, let’s start off by finding low competition keywords. Let’s go back to where we left off in the all-keywords report. Since we still have a pretty large pool of keywords, let’s narrow this down to keywords that have at least 500 monthly searches, much better. Know to find low competition topics. let’s set a keyword difficulty filter to a maximum something lowish like 20. Looking at the keyword list, you’ll see a couple of irrelevant ones at the top related to planet fitness, which are clearly branded queries. So, let’s exclude these from our keyword list by clicking on the exclude filter it’ll type planet and apply the filter. Since our list looks pretty clean, the last thing I’m going to do is sort the list by parent topic. If you’re unfamiliar with parent topic, it determines if you can rank for your target keyword while targeting a more general topic instead. For example, rather than creating a post on what is the best diet for me, and then another one on best diet for me, the parent topic is telling us that we really only need to create one post and we could rank for both keywords as a result.
Now, before you go off and start targeting only parent topics, take note that if the parent topic is different from the query in the keyword column, then you should check its keyword difficulty scores too. For example, the keyword “whey protein for weight loss” has a KD of 13. But if we click on the parent topic, “whey protein”, you’ll see that it has a much higher keyword difficulty score. So, what should you do? That’ll depend on what you see in your keyword analysis, which again, we’ll dive into later. So, for now I’ll quickly sift through this list and rather than analyzing every keyword, I’m just going to add a check mark beside the ones that seem like interesting topics to create content around. After I’ve gone through the first page, I’ll scroll back to the top to create a list. Let’s call this one “weight loss, low competition”, then go through the remaining pages until you’re satisfied with the number of keyword ideas.
Next let’s fill our second bucket of keywords with potentially link bait worthy topics. Again, the purpose of these pages is to get quality backlinks. So, you can build authority to your pages and pass page rank by linking internally to your other pages, this will help you rank your low competition pages, money pages, or both. So, the way we’re going to discover these keywords is by finding pages that have already generated a ton of links, reverse engineer why they might have had such great success and then take that angle, but create better content for some skyscraper style link-building. so, let’s start by entering some seed keywords in keywords Explorer. Next, I’ll go to the phrase match report to find keywords that contain our seed keywords in the order they’re written. Now we’re actually going to do the opposite of what we did for low competition keywords. We’re going to set a minimum keyword difficulty score to something high like 70. And the reason we’re doing this is because the keyword difficult to score is calculated by taking a weighted average of the number of referring domains pointing at the top-ranking pages, meaning the higher the KD score, the more links there are pointing at the top 10 pages.
I’m going to sort this keyword list by parent topic to group our list of potential link bait topics together. Now to remove some of the ultra-long-tail keywords in this list, I’m going to set a filter to only show keywords with at least a hundred monthly searches. Rather than scanning the keyword ideas column, I’m going to scan the parent topic column and that’s because we’re looking for topics to create link worthy pieces on rather than keywords to target. For example, we could create a tool that’s a weight loss calculator, and you’ll see below are a bunch of branded queries that we probably won’t go after. So, I’ll go to the next page. Then we see a couple of topics on losing weight and losing weight fast. Based on the search for this topic, a well-researched guide with a case study might work well to generate links.
Now looking further, we have the parent topic, a fitness tracker, and based on the keyword ideas under this parent topic, I’m guessing this has something to do with fitness tracker reviews and comparisons. Now since most affiliates aren’t actually buying the products, testing them and reporting back. That’s something that I might do to gain a bit of an edge and have plenty of link prospects to reach out to. Now in terms of the SEO strategy that goes along with these link-bait style pages, I’ll link up our video on the middleman method in the description. So, you can carry this out to completion.
Finally, are finding money terms. Now money terms will vary depending on the nature of your business. For example, an e-commerce store might want to rank for keywords that have transactional intent, like buy [product name] and an affiliate site might want to rank for queries that include words like, best, top, comparison, versus, review. So, assuming our fitness and weight loss website monetizes through affiliate commissions, I’ll go to a filter list version of the phrase match report and add those keywords in the include filter. I’ll also want to set the option to any word so I can see all phrases that mentioned any of these words. And just like that, I have a massive list of keywords that will be easy plugs for affiliate products like best fitness tracker, best fitness watch and more.
From here, you can create your own combination of filters to target low competition keywords, keywords with decent search volume or both. Again, sift through the list, add check marks to anything that interests you and create a new list. I’ll call this list, weight loss money keywords. At this point, you should have a ton of keyword ideas, but not all of them will be worth going after. So, let’s move on to the next step, which is to identify search intent for each of the keywords on your list. Search intent basically means the reason behind the searches query and here’s a rule to follow when doing SEO. If you can’t match what searchers want, then don’t go after that keyword. The easiest way to identify search intent is to look at the top 10 ranking pages for your target keyword. Most of the time you’ll notice that all or most pages follow the same content format and type. For example, looking at the top three results for how to lose weight. You can tell just by reading the titles, that all the pages are informational blog posts. If you have a blog and can write a guide on losing weight, then yes, you can fulfill search intent. Whereas a query like fitness equipment shows product and category pages for e-commerce stores.
If you don’t have an e-commerce store, then don’t bother going after this query, because you won’t be able to match search intent. There’s no proven trick around this and it literally takes 10 seconds to do, so do it for all keywords that you’re interested in going after and make a note in search intent. Now, if you set up a list of keywords Explore like I did earlier, then instead of Googling every single keyword, you can just click on the SERP button to see the top 10 ranking pages. And infer search intent from the titles.
This brings us to the next step, which is to assess ranking difficulty. Now, SEO and ranking on Google is like a game, certain levels are easy to beat and others require you to level up before you can beat the bigger bosses. For example, if you couldn’t see the health bar for your opponents, then you’d have no idea what it would take to win. In the same way, you know who you’re up against. So, you’ll know what it takes to outrank them. And for that reason, you need SEO metrics to create some sort of predictability and ranking. The way we assess ranking difficulty is by analyzing the SEO metrics of the top 10 ranking pages. Now, there are three things you need to look at. First are the number of referring domains, which are unique websites linking to the page. Second is the authority of the ranking domains. And third is topical relevance of the top-ranking pages and websites.
Let’s run through some examples here. If we look at the search for “weight loss workout for men”, you’ll see that there aren’t a whole lot of unique websites linking to the pages. In fact, this one here has zero links yet ranks pretty high, not bad on that front. Next is to look at the authority of the ranking domains. And we can do this by using the DR or domain rating metric, which represents the overall strength of a website’s backlink profile. Looking through the results. You’ll see these two with lowish domain ratings at 34, which have managed to rank pretty high in the organic search results. And with a little bit of link-building, they can probably be outright.
Finally, we’ll look at the relevance of the top-ranking pages, as well as their domains as a whole. Just by looking at the domain names, you can tell that all of them are related to health and fitness. So overall the top pages come from relevant domains. Now, when you’re looking at topical relevance of the page, we’re focusing on a bit of the on-page SEO part, and oftentimes the title will give us enough context on whether they’ve optimized for your target keyword. Generally speaking, people tend to use their primary keyword in the title or a modified version of it. And it looks like only results number three and four are doing that, which also happened to be from the lower authority domain. So as a new or developing website, this might be an opportunity to leverage specificity and generate more clicks by speaking to the target audience. So, in my opinion, it wouldn’t be too difficult to rank in the top five for this keyword. If A you have a topically relevant domain, B you can get some quality backlinks to your page from different websites and C your page has targeted specifically at men.
The last thing we want to look at here is the traffic column. Looking at the top of the irrelevant pages for our target keyword. You’ll see that this page gets around 2000 monthly search visits from the US alone. Use these numbers to make informed decisions on whether ranking your page will be worth your time, money, and effort. In my opinion, this one is worth the perceived effort. Now, if we were to do this for another one of our so-called low competition topics like “weight loss workouts for women”, then we’ll come up with a slightly different analysis. For the most part, they seem to have double-digit referring domains. They all come from highly authoritative websites, and topical relevance of the pages are quite high.
For example, you’ll see that the first two results from self.com and shaped.com don’t have mentions of women. But these two websites create content that’s mostly targeted at women. And these two articles are no different. The next result from Life Strong is clearly about workouts for women than the one from bodybuilding.com, doesn’t appear to be targeted at a specific time gender. But when you look at the content, you’ll see the writer wrote it for women, by saying, “but for some reason, when we women decide it’s time to lose fat”. So, all things considered this may not be as easy of a keyword to rank for considering the current competition in the top 10, but looking at the global traffic potential, you might think that getting somewhere in the ballpark range of 10,000 monthly search visits will be well worth the work.
This is why it’s important you analyze every single topic before you start creating content. If you’re going to spend hours writing a new piece or spend hundreds or thousands of dollars for production, then it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into. Now, after you’ve qualified your target keywords, and you’re ready to start writing there’s one last piece to keyword research that I highly recommend. And that’s to extract subtopics based on the keyword rankings from the top five relevant pages. By looking at the keyword rankings for the top pages, you can essentially get clues of related subtopics you should include in your post. So, using the example of weight loss workouts for women, I’ll click through on the keywords number to see the pages, organic rankings. To keep things relevant, I’ll set a filter to only show keywords that rank in positions one through five.
Now it’s important to note that this step isn’t about stuffing keywords in your post. Instead use it to form an angle for your post and extract subtopics that you should cover throughout your content. For example, you’ll see that people searching for this are likely beginners. They want a routine for the gym. And an interesting angle to take might be to create it as a one-week workout plan. Take all of these points, create an outline, and you’ll have a data-driven way to create your content. As you can see keyword research, isn’t rocket science, but it’s a process and there’s a ton of different ways to do it. So, I highly recommend digging through some of our other keyword research tutorials on topics like long tail keywords and mapping keywords to your sales funnel.