Ahh, keywords. My favorite and least favorite aspect of internet marketing. If you read my Jaaxy review you already know that I love keyword research. Finding strong keywords is one of my favorite tasks in online marketing. It’s like a scavanger hunt, and who doesn’t love a fun scavanger hunt with a great reward at the end? In this guide I am going to teach you how to find good keywords for SEO.
Act Natural, They’re All Looking…
The single most important tip I can give you for finding good keywords is to be natural with your phrasing. Often times when scanning keyword research results you’ll see some keywords with high search volume, but that don’t make an ounce of sense. If you can’t think of a way to naturally say a keyword, avoid it.
Google will see write through you. Choosing a keyword that doesn’t make sense only because it has a high search volume is an example of writing for the search engines, and not for your readers. This is something you’ll see mentioned a lot throughout the site- just don’t do this.
More often than not, when you see those awkward keywords they are the result of a concatenated meta description for a page that is ranking. Google will often shorten your meta descriptions if they are too long and will display a result that isn’t exactly how it was written – resulting in awkard phrases being used in a high number of random searches.
Understanding Long Tail Keywords
What could be better than ranking well for one keyword with a single piece of content? Well, ranking for several keywords with a single piece of content of course! This is what you will accomplish through the use of what are known as long-tail keywords.
Long tail keywords are more conversational, have less competition and generally convert better.
Let’s start with long tail keywords being more conversational.
Say you walked up to someone and just said “Hey, guitar lessons?”
They’d probably look at you like you just spat out an unfinished thought and threw an upward inflection at the end and respond “Yes, what about them?”.
However if you walked up to someone and said “Hey, do you know where the best place to get guitar lessons in Los Angeles is?” you would get a much better response and kick off a much stronger dialog.
In that one question I count 4 possible keyword combinations and my content around that questions is going to be much more targeted than just “guitar lessons” and probably more likely to attract the readers that I’m hoping to attract.
Since you are using a more specific approach you are also widdling away at your competition.
A quick scan using my keyword research tool shows 301 quoted results for “guitar lessons”.
How about for “best guitar lessons in Los Angeles”?
You will have 27 other pages to compete with as opposed to 301.
How about “guitar lessons in Los Angeles”? Since you’d be optimized for that keyword as well if you are already optimized for “best guitar lessons in Los Angeles”.
See where I’m going with this?
By choosing a long-tail keyword you are optimized your content for multiple, lower competition keywords by coming up with 1 more targeted keyword.
What Are LSI Keywords, Anyway?
Latent Semantic Indexing, or LSI, is a method used by some SEOs that essentially involves using variations of your keyword throughout a piece of content in order to get ranked for synonyms and have a greater overall keyword density.
Personally, I don’t believe in going after LSI keywords. Google is smart enough at this point to know what your content is about wether you optimize it for “best fingerstyle guitar lessons” or “greatest fingerstyle guitar lessons” or “best fingerpicking guitar lessons”.
In my experience I have not seen any great rankings or traffic increases from working on LSI keywords. However there are SEO professionals far more seasoned than I am who swear by them… And many who don’t.
At the end of the day it is up to you. I don’t think they will hurt you in the end, I just think you’re time is better spent focusing on the quality of your content than the amount of synonyms you use.
If you are interested in learning more about LSI Keywords, check out this Quora discussion.
Find Your Keyword’s Search Volume
The second most important aspect to consider when choosing what keyword to write your article around is the search volume. To do this you will have to use a tool to find your keywords search volume, I highly recommend checking out Jaaxy for this.
However, if you decide to use a tool other than Jaaxy, there are a few items to look into:
- What search engines does your tool pull data from?
- How recent is that data?
One reason I love Jaaxy is because it pulls realtime data from all 3 search engines. Jaaxy then takes that data and develops monthly average search volume as well as a traffic estimate if you were to rank for those keywords on the first page.
Once you’ve found your keyword’s search volume you have to decide if it is too competitive for your website at this time.
For newer websites I recommend tagrteing any relevant keyword with over 10 search volume and under 200. The goal should really be around 100 search volume for the keyword, however it is more important to produce helpful content and lots of it when your website is new – so focus on building keyword lists of low volume, low competition keywords and write your content around multiple keywords. Again – make sure the keywords are all relevant and make sense to your content.
For keeping your keyword lists saved in a program like microsoft excel, or you can find a keyword research tool that allows you to save keyword lists.
Determine the Keyword’s Competition
Now that you’ve found your keyword’s search volume and traffic potential, the next step is to determine the amount of competition there is for that keyword. There are a number of ways you can do this, however my favorite is to check the Quoted Search Results, or QSR of the keyword.
To find your keyword’s QSR simply wrap your keyword in quotation marks in google, like this:
You will notice that you get a significant amount of [inflated] results:
This is because Google is displaying multiple results for a given domain. However the next step will show you how to widdle that down to the exact number of pages you’ll be competing with.
Scroll down to the bottom of the search results page (SERP).
Click on the last possible page number Google gives you. For me it was 3 pages:
With that, you have your QSR and now know exactly how many pages you will be competing against for that given keyword.
Rinse and Repeat For 5 Related Keywords
If you truly want to produce quality content that will rank well for several related keywords, you need to take everything discussed in this lesson and repeat it for a few more keywords. Take that long tail keyword from the beginning and take it just one step further.
For example, let’s say your content is on the best guitar lessons in Los Angeles.
A few complimenting keywords could be:
- Finding the Right Guitar Teacher
- The Best Rock Guitar Lessons in Los Angeles
- How Much Are Guitar Lessons
- Best beginner Guitar Lessons
Those are just a few off the top of my head. The key here is to find sub-topics within your topic to help support your content. By doing this you will be able to expand your content length without adding fluff and increase the overall quality of your content exponentially.
Additional Recommended Reading
There are many techniques out there used by SEO professionals to find the best keywords. This list covers the most common ones you’ll hear. While I hope you found this guide helpful, please let me know if you have any questions, comments or concerns and I’ll be happy to answer them as soon as possible.
As always, thanks for reading.