I keep hearing it from people who work in online marketing: keywords don’t matter anymore.
This saddens me. Not because I’m in love with keywords or because I miss the old spammy early aughts. It saddens me because they are missing out on so much marketing potential.
Of course, keywords aren’t top priority anymore. And, that’s ok. Because the internet is actually getting better in many ways for many people.
But keywords are not obsolete. Any experiment with keywords and data results pulled on the back end will tell you this is true.
So, you’re convinced enough. You need to sprinkle your content with keywords. But, how are you going to know which keywords to use?
Keyword discovery isn’t just for ranking. It does more things than you know.
1. Keyword Discovery Through Competitor Newsletters
People in your industry are already using keywords. That’s true whether they know it or not. And your competitors aren’t keeping it a secret. (Because it’s internet marketing. Duh.)
And a little bit of espionage is kind of exciting anyway, right? So do a search, find all the newsletters and then, pull the newsletters at random.
(I would recommend having a separate email address for this. Your inbox will get full fast.)
Google Alerts are another incredible way to fill up your inbox and gather useful information on popular industry keywords. Google will essentially give you news and blogs in a list tailored to your keyword every day.
This is a great way to see what’s trending in your industry.
2. Key The Long-Tail
Long-tail keywords are not just long keywords (although, they can be). Keyword discovery also includes long-tail.
And you may not think long-tail is worthwhile, but it should actually be fifty percent of your search engine optimization with keywords.
Long-tail keywords are only called “long-tail” because on a graph of all Google searches they are the low traffic keywords that make up a visual long-tail compared to the high traffic keywords.
Google Keyword Planner is a great place to start when looking for long-tail keywords.
You can take the results and keep running them until you get the combinations you need.
Remember: you are looking for intent. What is the intent behind the keywords? And you want something that zeros in on what you are selling, that’s in your niche.
3. Manual Research Is Handy
Scratch that. Let’s actually not do this keyword discovery manually. Let’s use a program.
If you have a little bit of cash to put into your research you’ll have a much easier time with this as there are some paid tools that will give you almost too much information.
You need to qualify the keywords you’ve chosen. Some things to check are a domain authority of at least 100 and the rankings for sites with thin content that don’t give searchers what they want.
Here’s how you search for thin content in possible competitor slots. Click.
Take one of the keywords you’ve chosen. Place it in the search engine and click on the top links. Use your judgment to find out which keywords lead to top ranking sites with thin content.
Use this to your advantage. If you have excellent content that gives readers what they want, your page will get more traffic than any ranking competitor.
Another place to find keywords is the Google search bar itself. Google now uses syntax to predict what you really wanted to search for. You can check out what Google suggests when you input certain keywords.
Another way Google helps searchers is at the bottom of the page. You’ll notice a couple columns of keywords at the bottom of the search page. And the heading reads “searches related to (your keyword).”
4. Divide It Into Categories
Now, imagine keyword discovery like a target. The closer to the center of the target, the closer to your brand or product a searcher is.
You want to cover the gamut of keywords. But you should focus your efforts on the center of the target. That’s where you will find the most conversions.
These are the keywords most associated with your product or brand. If you are selling cars, this would be your car dealership name coupled with the car name. “Harrison Ford F-150” Or “Macalister Honda Accord.”
These are the things you sell divorced from your brand name. And it’s any variation thereof. This, of course, bleeds into the previous category.
These are the terms connected to your competitor’s name.
Sometimes people want to compare products. So, using your competitor’s name or product in a keyword is reasonable.
Substitute Product Terms
These terms are things that are close to your product but not your product. If you sell butter, a substitute product might be “spread” or “margarine.”
Complementary Product Terms
These are the terms that actually complement your product. If you sell butter, things like “bread,” “muffin,” or even “baking” might be terms you would consider.
These are the outer crust of the target. These are pretty much tangential terms.
Think of who might be buying your product. What kinds of people might they be?
Who uses butter? How do you market your butter? Is it natural? Non-GMO? Healthy?
Make these keywords about the people who will buy your product.
As stated above, focus on the center of the target. Most of your effort should be spent on those who already know about your product.
This is where your conversions will happen. With the people who have already done the research. Those who want to buy now.
When you are in the thick of keyword discovery don’t forget to pop your head up and look around you. Don’t get too bogged down in the details that you forget about your actual content.
And don’t be afraid that you aren’t a good enough writer. Sure, you want to have great content to match great keywords.
But worrying that you’re “top crust” or “better than everybody else out there” will only distract you. Write the best content you can from those keywords.
Do you have questions about keyword discovery? Let us know. We’re always here for you.