This article provides a useful keyword planner, to help you understand and the principles of keyword research and start you finding great keywords for your blog.
So, by now you have your site up and running, but before you head off at full steam writing blog posts and articles, there is one key step to think about first… How are you going to attract visitors to your site?
I’m no SEO expert, but have spent the past few weeks learning all about keyword research for my site, so this post is a summary of what I have learnt so far. Feel free to feedback and comment, but I’m, hoping this post will serve as a great keyword planner to help you do perform your own keyword research, find some useful keyword planning tools and give you a few SEO hints and tips along the way.
- What is Keyword Research?
- Why is Keyword Research Important?
- Martinos Keyword Planner
- Step 1 – Choose your ‘Seed’ Keywords
- Step 2 – Create a short list of commercially valuable keywords
- Step 3 – Evaluate the Keyword Competition
What is Keyword Research?
Lets face it, most users are going to get to your website via a Google search. They’ll type in a phrase, keyword or even a set of keywords into the Google search box and a heap of search results will be returned to them.
You want your site to be as near to the top of that list as possible to attract the biggest number of visitors to your site. There are a number of factors that help you get to the top of this list such as the number of links to your site, the age of your site, the quality of your content, but we’ll save that for another day.
Keyword research is simply the art of choosing relevant keywords that you think your potential users would type into Google to come to your site.
Think of it a bit like fishing…. your keywords are the bait that you’re going to use to hook your users, and the closer to the top of the list you are, the more likely you are to reel them in!
Why is Keyword Research Important?
If you’re serious about running a blog or website, then you’re going to be spending many hours in front of a computer creating content for your potential visitors. But unless, you just like ranting at the wind, you want to make sure that your efforts are not in vain and that you have a captive audience willing to listen to you.
Remember that the more visitors you get to your site, the more potential you have to convert those visitors into money in your back pocket.
Before you go any further you need to do your keyword research to learn the size of your potential market and to target specific segments of that market to increase the potential amount of visitors to your site.
Martinos Keyword Planner
Let me start by saying that getting your head around this topic is not going to be easy, and you will no doubt be swearing at your computer like I have for a while, but it is a necessary pain, and your efforts will bare fruit later.
To ease your pain, I have but together a keyword planner with a series of steps that I went through over the last couple of weeks to help me understand better which keywords I should target for my blog and websites.
Martinos Keyword Planner Step 1 – Choose your ‘Seed’ Keywords
Start by having a brainstorm session and write down 5- 10 keywords that you would use to describe your blog or site. I would recommend keeping these to 1-2 words rather than long keyword strings.
I’m going to use my sample site www.martinosrecords.com as an example for this exercise. I’m passionate about reggae music have always wanted to create a site related to this, but have never been quite sure which angle to take, so I wrote down the following keywords:
These are called ‘seed’ keywords, which we will take to help us find other keywords that may be useful for our site.
Martinos Keyword Planner Step 2 – Create a short list of commercially valuable keywords
Now we’re going to use a bit of magic and turn these 5 keywords into a much bigger list, which we will then be able to review and find which are the most valuable keywords with the help of something called Google Keyword Planner.
This is a free tool for you to use, and all you need is a Google account to get started.
Set up Google Keyword Planner and enter your keyword search criteria:
- Goto: https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner
- Login with your google account
- IMPORTANT : Make sure you click the ‘skip the guided set up’, otherwise you won’t be able to access this tool without putting your credit card details in (this took me a few hours to get right!!!)
- Goto the tools menu and select ‘keyword planner’
- Fill out the following fields in the dialogue box that opens:
- Your product or service
- Your product category (you can fill this out but I prefer to leave it empty as it may give me some ideas that I hadn’t thought of before)
- Targeting – Select United Kingdom
- Keyword filter – Add ‘500’ for ‘average monthly searches’ and £0.50 for suggested bid. This tells you how many people did a search with this keyword each month and how much advertisers would pay if someone clicked on an ad on your site from this keyword.
- Click on ‘Get Ideas’
Analyse the suggested keyword results
You’ll now be presented with a list of keywords that Google has generated for you, which were related to your original ‘seed’ keyword. You’re also provided some really useful information about these keywords, which will help you decide, which keywords you should target.
There are 3 key columns that you need to focus on:
- Average monthly searches – Does what it says on the tin and says how many visitors search for that keyword each month
- Competition – This is a metric that Google creates to show you how much competition there is amongst advertisers to promote their product/site with this keyword
- Suggested Bid – This metric gives an indication of how much advertisers would need to pay, every time someone clicked on one of the ads (on your potential site)
For each of these metrics you want the score to be as high as possible, as that shows that both visitors and advertisers are interested in this keyword, which means it’s in demand.
Don’t forget to check out the ‘Ad group ideas’ tab as well as sometimes that has gems of suggestions for new keywords for you.
TOP TIP: What I usually do is go through the above steps with each ‘seed’ keyword and then download a csv file from Google Keyword Planner and combine all of the results into one master spreadsheet. This will help you to filter through the results more quickly so that you can arrive at your first set of keyword options.
Remember that this exercise is helping you to pick high volume, high value keywords that you can tailor your content around and will help you to shape your site. This is a great exercise for finding new angles to your business. For example through doing this exercise I notice that ‘record players’ or ‘record exchange’ receive a high volume of traffic, so it would probably be worth my while creating a section on the best record players for vinyl records or a forum to exchange records.
Martinos Keyword Planner Step 3 – Evaluate the Keyword Competition
We should now have a list of 5 – 10 keywords, which are both high in search traffic and are commercially valuable search terms.
That’s great, but you now need to understand whether there is an icecube’s chance in hell of ranking on the first page of Google for these keywords, otherwise you will be wasting a lot of time and effort creating content that will sit on the lower pages of Google and no one will ever review.
A listing on the first page of Google’s search results accounts for nearly 90% of all the click-throughs and the following numbers show how important it is for you to rank well up the charts for your chosen keywords:
- Position 1 – 31.2%
- Position 2 – 14.04%
- Position 3 – 9.85%
- Position 4 – 6.97%
- Position 5 – 5.5%
- Position 6 – 10 – 3.73%
- All of the results on the second page total only 3.99%
- The third page only 1.6%
- and the rest is barely worth talking about
Now just by doing a simple search for your keyword in Google you will get a feel for whether the results page is full of big brands and top ranking site like the BBC, but luckily there are couple of other tools that can help us with our decision making.
ACTION: You’ll need to now enable 2 browser extensions:
- SEO Quake – http://www.seoquake.com – (Chrome, Firefox, Opera or Safari)
- Mozbar – https://moz.com/tools/seo-toolbar (Chrome and Firefox only)
Then type a search keyword into Google eg ‘record player’ and you will have a standard results page returned from Google with 2 helpful toolbars giving you great information about the results:
From these 2 toolbars you need to focus on the following:
- Page Authority (PA) – This is Moz’s metric to measure the predictive ranking strength of a single page ie how likely is it that the page will show up in search engines
- Domain Authority (DA) – This measures how important Moz ranks the domain. Sites like Twitter or BBC will always have a score of 100
- Page Rank (PR) – This is a metric developed by Larry Page for Google, which measures the importance of web pages
- Backlinks – Both toolbars also feature a count of the number of links to the page and to the domain in general
From what I have read the 2 most important factors are the Page Rank and Page Authority, so you want these to be as low as possible.
TOP TIP: Make sure that in the top 10 results there are sites with a PA of less than 30, which gives you a chance of pushing them off of the first page, if you play your cards right.
For each keyword I would recommend you make a list of:
- Local Search volume
- Advertiser Competition
- Pages with exact match keyword
- Pages with PA below 30
- Pages with less than 30 juice links
- Pages with site less than 1 year
Knowing your audience is extremely important if you are starting a new blog or website, however, understanding how to get your audience to your site is even more important.
- Think carefully about the keywords that you are going to target
- Check that the keywords are commercially valuable if you are planning to use your site as a revenue stream
- Evaluate the competition and make sure that you are confident you can find yourself nudging up to the top of those search results pages
You can always go back and re-optimise your content later on, but my advice would be to think about this and try to head in the right direction to start with. It can be pretty frustrating as you are chomping at the bit, to get writing, but it can save you a lot of time in the long run.