If you are still using Google Keyword Planner to do your Keyword Research, you should certainly read this guide. Most of the beginner SEOs struggle to choose a good niche and find low competition keywords. When I started doing SEO, it was one of the biggest challenges for me as well.
But what if I tell you that I attribute the majority of success in my IM journey to date due to cutting edge and keyword research?
Table of Contents
- 1 Introduction
- 2 What is Keyword Research?
- 3 Keyword Research: The Backbone of SEO
- 4 Types of Keywords for SEO
- 5 Case Study: 0-30k Organic Traffic in 3 months with 0 Backlinks
- 6 My Favourite 5 Long Tail Keyword Research Techniques
- 7 Other Cool Keyword Hacks
- 8 How to Determine the Keyword Value
- 9 Conclusion
Whether you do local SEO, want to build an empire of affiliate websites or want to grow your online e-commerce business, without proper keyword research, it’s going to take you a while to achieve your goals.
In this guide, I will reveal 5 powerful techniques which I use to find long tail keywords for all my websites and a fresh case study in which I drove 30,000 monthly visitors in just under 4 months using the same strategies and with… 0 BACKLINKS.
So let’s dive right into it.
What is Keyword Research?
SEO is incomplete without keywords. Period.
Keyword Research is a process in which you dig out potential keywords in your website niche by using several tools and techniques. Once you find them, you create useful content around them to eventually grow the organic traffic to your website and generate sales, leads etc.
With the right set of keywords and applying the right on-page SEO tactics, one can rule the Google SERPs all day long.
Keyword Research: The Backbone of SEO
When you start a new website, choosing the right keywords to target is VERY important. It helps you lay a solid foundation at the start. It is also the best way to get an advantage over the tough competitors in your niche. Creating epic content around the low competition keywords can multiply your website’s organic traffic.
I have personally seen a lot of newbies (even today) losing confidence since they jump right into the niche and target highly competitive keywords. If used efficiently, I’d say keyword research is the perfect WEAPON for newbies to stand out from the experienced SEOs. Keywords also help you to understand your audience and niche market by measuring the interaction.
In my opinion, effective keyword research has some SEO benefits as well. The organic traffic it produces does contribute a bit to the overall authority of your website. Though it’s NOT MUCH, it really helps to pace the traffic momentum in the initial months since all you want is wins.
Keyword Research -> Epic Content -> Organic Traffic -> Authority
Check the case study section to see the proof for my above statement if you’re not convinced yet.
Types of Keywords for SEO
Now that you know the basics of KW research, let’s get into some specifics about choosing a keyword. There are basically 3 types of keywords:
- Short Tail (one word): These keywords usually have very high search volume and competition as well. An important thing to note here is that the conversion rate is quite low because of the variable search intent. For example, if the keyword is “Golf”, people might just be looking for the best players, equipment used, videos and so on.
- Middle Tail (2-3 words): The search volumes of these keywords are decent enough and have lesser competition than the short tails. Sure, there is a lot of work to be done in order to rank these, but they can convert quite well if ranked with a proper plan of action. An example keyword would be “Golf equipments”.
- Long Tail (4 or more words): Also known as “Conversion focused keywords” since they are highly specific when it comes to search intent. They usually include 4 or more words and have fewer search volume. Although when multiple long tail keywords relating to the same topic add up, the number is pretty huge. Here’s a great example keyword: “Best GPS Golf Rangefinder”.
If you shoot for the short tails straight away, you are gonna be lost because they are super competitive and it’s not recommended to people with low to intermediate knowledge of SEO. What you should do is optimize your website content for middle tail and long tail keywords as that provides the most value, today.
Once your website is ranking for a decent amount of middle tail keywords and gained authority, you can surely go for the short tails as well. It’s all about patience and consistency when it comes to SEO and you will see hefty payoffs.
Case Study: 0-30k Organic Traffic in 3 months with 0 Backlinks
Towards the end of 2017, I started a new website and grew its traffic from 0-30k unique visits per month within 3 months. That’s right, with ZERO backlinks.
And I am going to share the exact keyword research techniques which I used to do the same with you all today. Just check the below screenshot to get an idea of what you can achieve by executing proper keyword research campaigns.
The site is in the Technology niche (very popular) with information and review based content.
I started by making a list of around 300-400 long tail & low competition keywords. Once I was done, I started creating great pieces of content around each keyword and within a month I started ranking on the first page of Google for my targeted keywords.
It was interesting to see the fact that the site’s authority had also increased by a small number.
My Favourite 5 Long Tail Keyword Research Techniques
Feeling pumped up? If not, this section will surely make you do. If you have paid attention till now, you should know how vital it is to choose then RIGHT keywords while creating content on your website.
In this section, I will share the strategies which I myself use to grow organic traffic to all my websites. There are step by step instructions on how to perform these techniques yourself and get the most out of them. So let’s get started.
Weak Sites like Forums
Tools Needed: Google Search Engine & Ahrefs
Difficulty Level: Advanced
Forums are one of the best resources to find long tail and low competition keywords. I call them weak since there are tons of threads and there are almost negligible backlinks to them in the majority of the cases.
If you are wondering…why? It’s because, in every industry/niche, there are tons of people (depending on the popularity of the niche) seeking answers to their questions which you might not have even thought about.
Step 1: The first step is to find some popular forums where the people in your niche are actively participating. Use this search string in Google search to do so: “keyword” + “forum”. Let’s say our keyword is “dog food”, so it should look as shown in the below image.
Step 2: Now open each forum one by one and start looking at the questions asked in different categories. The more active the community is, the better. Open different threads and you will be able to find some really valuable keywords.
Step 3: If you want to go deeper and get INSANE value, you can plug the forum and forum category URLs into Ahrefs individually and click on “Organic Keywords”. I guarantee that you will find lots of golden keywords with low competition.
Step 4: Pick the keywords with decent search volumes and that you think can provide value to your readers. Create really useful content around the different keywords and you will rank quickly in the top positions on Google.
Rob your Neighbours
Tools Needed: Google Search Engine & Ahrefs
Difficulty Level: Advanced
Wait..I do not mean literally. I am pointing at the competitors in your niche who have already done the hard work of finding some real gem of keywords by themselves and are sitting on the top of page 1 on Google with not so helpful content.
This method requires a little bit of research before starting the process. Since we need to find out as many potential competitors in our niche as possible to make the most out of this method.
Step 1: In order to find the blogs/websites in your niche to rob from, you need to search Google for certain middle tail or long tail keywords (which you are ranking for or want to rank for).
Step 2: Make a list of websites ranking in Google up to 2-3 pages and put them all one by one in
Step 3: Check “Organic Keywords” for each site as we did in Method 1 and you will again find some fantastic keywords. Choose the ones with lower KD and you are good to go.
Step 4: Now the crucial part here is to create content which is WAY BETTER than theirs. This will give you an edge over them and hence Google will rank your page higher.
Google Auto Suggestions + UberSuggest
Tools Needed: Google Search Engine & Keyword Everywhere Google Chrome extension
Difficulty Level: Easy
Some manual work can really do wonders if you use this technique to find keywords. If you hit the right spot, you will find some golden nuggets to grow your website’s organic traffic.
UberSuggest is a free online tool that scrapes all the information from Google auto-suggestions. It takes your seed keyword and adds every alphabet after one space to generate hundreds of suggested keywords.
However, it doesn’t suggest keywords that would be generated by adding alphabets in “between” the words of your seed keyword and that’s where manual work plays a huge role. (Check Step 2)
Step 1: Go to Ubersuggest and type in your seed keyword and click on “LOOK UP”. It will list hundreds of keywords with their search volumes, CPC, and competition. You can even export them all to a CSV file for further analysis.
Step 2: Go to Google.com and type in your middle tail keyword “Best Golf Rangefinder” and then add a space between and at the end of different words to get suggestions.
Step 3: Play around in the same way with different middle tail keywords and you will find some really good low competition long tail keywords.
4. Google Trends
Tools Needed: Google Trends
Difficulty Level: Easy
Google Trends is a great tool which you can leverage to find some amazing keywords which are not known by everyone yet. You can also check the trend of a specific keyword over time using Google Trends.
Step 1: Enter the main keyword in Google Trends for which you want to get related keywords. Let’s say for example the keyword is “Nintendo Switch”.
Step 2: Scroll down to “Related queries” box and choose “Rising” from the drop-down menu.
Step 3: Play around with the time range feature and you will find some untapped keywords with great potential since they are trending already!
Other Cool Keyword Hacks
Google Webmaster Tools
Using the Google Webmaster Tools or Google Search Console has some great benefits. There will be a lot of pages on your website which are ranking on 2nd to the 5th page of Google.
If you go to Search Console, you will be able to find a lot of long tail keywords along with your main keyword for which your pages are ranking. Optimising your pages for those long tails can add a lot of SEO value and help it rank higher in the SERPs.
Just follow the below steps in order to take advantage of these pages:
- Go to Google Webmaster Tools or Search Console
- Click on “Search Traffic” >> “Search Analytics”
- Make sure the “Position” field is ticked as shown in the below image
- Expand the number of rows by scrolling down to the bottom
- Check the keyword falling in positions between 10-20
- Click on each keyword you think have good potential and check the page ranking for that by clicking on the “Pages” filter
Optimise that page with the keyword you found and you are done!
Similar to the forums, Quora is a Q&A platform where people seek answers in different niches. So naturally, you will be able to find ideas and topics related to your niche if you search for your targeted keywords. The good part is that these ideas will be super unique and can give you new content topics which you may not have even thought about.
How to Determine the Keyword Value
Determining the keyword value is vital since they need to align with your website goals. The equation is really simple,
If the ratio of Profit vs Amount of Work Done is higher, then you should go for it. There are basically 4 factors on which the value of a keyword depends.
- Type of Website: Depending on if your website is an e-commerce store, a local website, an affiliate website or just an information site, the keyword value changes. Example: For a local website even a keyword with 30 MS could get nice leads while it’s not so profitable for affiliate websites with low-value products.
- Monthly Search Volume: The monthly searches of a particular keyword matters a lot. It will help you get an idea of how much estimate traffic that keyword will drive if you rank for it. It varies from niche to niche and the type of website obviously.
- Competition: You should ALWAYS do a proper competition analysis for every keyword you want to rank. Since choosing a highly competitive keyword at the start will land you nowhere.
- Search Intent: Why is the keyword being searched? What does the user want? This is important to make sure you know what exactly to offer while creating an engaging piece of content around that keyword. It also tells you how much work you should put in to get maximum value.
As everything else, Keyword research is an SEO art which can be mastered with practice. Do you need to keep going deeper if you want to find gold, right?
I gave you the tools and techniques that WORK on a silver platter and it’s time to dig now. Get your game face on and start grinding. If you have any kind of questions or suggestions for methods to find golden keywords, feel free to comment below. Since SEO is all about learning and evolving daily.
The SEO Institute Newsletter
Get Email List Exclusives Such As Our Latest Updates From Our Expert Powered Blog, Q&As And SEO Tips Direct To Your Inbox.