People over intellectualize things.
Keyword research can be hard and time-consuming and mind numbingly boring.
It doesn’t have to be, though.
In fact, all you need is about twenty minutes. So less than the time you waste on Twitter.
And I promise you won’t have to open Excel once.
Let’s dive straight in.
Tip #1. Let Google tell you what people are already searching for alreadyWe’ve all been there.
You’re typing something into the Google search bar, pleasantly minding your own business, when Google suddenly feels the need to finish your sentence.
Before you know it, Google’s bombarding you with roughly a billion possible searches via its auto-suggest feature. And this is all before you’ve even hit "Enter."
Irritating? Slightly. Helpful? Extremely.
The good news is that you can reverse engineer this irritating/helpful feature for new keyphrase research ideas.
Let’s take a closer look at how one might go about doing such a thing.
Hypothetically, you decide to create content about CRM tools. You type "best crm" into your search bar…
But before finishing that thought, Google’s already reading your mind.
Not just your mind. But everyones.
Typing in "best CRM" brings up a sneak peek into the most common CRM-related queries people use most often.
Scroll down to the bottom of the SERP, and you’ll also see a "Searches related to" list. These include other contextually related search queries people often use before or after the one you typed in.
Google’s "People also ask" feature works the same way.
Start searching for a big, generic keyword like "keyword research," like so:
And then scroll down towards the bottom.
Right before the "Searches related to" list, you’ll see a few related questions that "People also ask".
Click on one of the questions and a few more will pop up, over and over and over and over again (until you inevitably get bored).
For all those visual learners out there, we’ll demonstrate this by clicking on the question "What is keyword research in SEO?":
And that makes these two follow-up questions appear.
If you think about it, these extra questions are really free tips from Google on how you can address all of a user’s questions about your topic in your content.
Gee, thanks, Google!
You know what those look like to me?
Blog post headlines. Subheads at the very least. And definitely some new keywords.
(Zero number crunching required.)
Tip #2. Use "Answer The Public" for nearly endless ideasYou could call it quits after playing that solid game of 20 questions with Google.
But if you just haven’t had enough keyword research yet, drop by Answer the Public before quitting Google Chrome (or, like, Safari, if you’re into that sort of thing).
Like Google’s Auto Suggest, Answer the Public can be used to brainstorm topic ideas. Many of them would have never even occurred to you otherwise.
And it’s free.
You can get started by pulling up the site and entering a new topic, like "keyword research," into the space provided.
A drop-down menu will ask for your country next to the keyword field.
Select your location and then click "Get Questions" quickly. (That guy with the turtleneck is creeping me out.)
Answer the Public will slowly start revealing new content ideas. (Along with another freaking guy in a turtleneck!)
From here, you can view three types of results.
- Questions results will list ideas in question form such as "which is the best keyword research tool."
- Prepositions results will list ideas with prepositions such as "keyword research for blogging."
- Alphabetical results will list ideas associated with popular letters, such as "keyword research for ecommerce" as an "e" result.
Ahhh, that’s better. Boring table view. You just made a nerdy SEO somewhere super happy.
Now, focus in on some of those who-what-when-where-why queries to get even more specific ideas.
Then you can look over to the "How" results for ready-made content headlines.
With this tool, you’re no longer writing content that scratches the surface.
You’re writing an official (dare I say, Definitive) guide for your topic that addresses across-the-board issues and provides the answers that your visitors themselves didn’t even know they wanted.
Tip #3. Use the Google Keyword Planner…(in this unexpected way)90% of "keyword research" blog posts mention the Google Keyword Planner.
That’s both bad and good.
It’s good because it means you can exit out of that post ASAP and save yourself the wasted time of filling your mind with more garbage. (You already have The Bachelor for that.)
BUT WAIT. Don’t go just yet.
Imma let you finish, but first, let’s use Google Keyword Planner for this one thing trick.
Today, we’re going to borrow ideas from the competition. To be returned at a later date. (Probably never.)
It sounds wrong, but it’s nothing personal.
Stealing your competition’s ideas is a smart way to figure out what’s working well for other people and how you can reverse engineer a similar angle.
So let’s get started.
Pull up the Google’s Keyword Planner and select the first option:
This is where things get interesting.
You’re not going to fill in your product or service or provide the URL to your landing page. Instead, you’re going to provide the URL to your competitor’s landing page.
Under the Ad group ideas tab, you’ll get results that look similar to this:
These are suggestions for your competitor that could, and should, be used by you.
Each suggested ad group will be accompanied by a few other bits of information:
- Keywords within the group (Helpful.)
- The average monthly searches for said ad group (Kinda helpful.)
- The competition for this ad group expressed as Low, Medium, or High (Not helpful at all.)
You want to use an idea that thousands of people are searching for every month.
The long-tail stuff works well for organic search. But it typically won’t have enough search volume or existing demand to move the needle for you on the paid front.
Tip #4. Pull up Wikipedia for these hidden gemsIt was banned from being used as a source in your high school papers. Ridiculed for being unreliable and insufficient.
But you’re out of high school now.
Let’s see how Wikipedia can also help you hack keyword research.
Run along to everyone’s favorite free encyclopedia and type a broad word related to your content into their search bar.
Now, it’s time to take a cue or two from the table of contents on that page.
These aren’t just headers on the Wikipedia page. These are topics you could address in your content about SEO.
Thanks to Wikipedia, you now detailed SEO information, like indexing, crawling, white hat versus black hat techniques.
This can help expose you to new ideas that never would have occurred to you. (Canonicalization, anyone?!)
Best of all, you have very credible info right here to help you get started on the content that you’ll eventually use to pull in more search traffic.
Tip #5. Look at what people are already searching for on your siteThis time, all you need is your own site.
Chances are, you started this site to provide resources and information to the confused people who need it most (and then turn their problems into profits).
Said confused people are likely going to search for answers within your site when they can’t find what everything they need.
The good news is that you can use your visitors’ unanswered searches to build better content on your site (then turn around and promote those pages).
How you ask?
In a twist, we need Google to help us keep our customers from going back to Google to look for another website.
Irony at its finest.
So let’s get started.
Go to Google Analytics and set up Site Search. On the left, you’ll see the "Behavior" tab. Click that, then "Site Search," then "Search Terms," and then you see this:
This list view is helpful. To a point.
What would be even more helpful is if you could see what page people searched for each of these queries on.
That would help give you an idea of how to change, modify, or update each page to improve topic targeting.
You could then also expand keyword ideas and campaigns with these new-and-improved pages.
Interested? Follow these steps.
Under "Behavior" and "Site Search," then click on "Overview."
Next, you’ll want to select "Start Page" for your primary dimension. This will list the pages people are searching from.
Now, your secondary dimension, select "Search Term." This will tell you what your customers have been searching for on those specific pages.
Here’s what that looks like:
In this example, we can see what people are searching when on the "style" tag page of our hypothetical website.
Congrats! You’ve hacked Google Analytics. Try this with multiple start pages to amass the ultimate list of your next keyword list to test.
Tip #6. Put keywords in context with this free keyword tool (that doesn’t suck)The first few tips should have dumped dozens of worthy ideas into your lap.
But now you’ve got a new problem.
Which topic do you start with? How do you prioritize several good ideas?
Well, do I have news for you!
The WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool has undergone some updates to help you figure this out.
New features allow you to tailor your results to provide possible keyword suggestions that apply best to your target demographic.
But wait, there’s more!
The tool also provides a proprietary Opportunity Score that boils down all of the other various keyword metrics (like demand, competition, and cost) to the bare essentials: Priority.
Let’s fire this thing up to see how it works.
Access the tool and type your keyword into the designated box. Next to that, you’ll see a drop-down menu allowing you to select from a variety of industries.
When searching for "click-through rate" keywords, for example, you may be writing for business owners. That means you want to prioritize keywords that business owners are likely to include in their CTR search.
After selecting your industry, click "Search" and browse the extensive list of suggestions.
You can also switch up the industry if you’d like to appear in the SERPs for multiple audiences.
You could search for computer & electronics-tailored CTR keywords, for example, and the results will update:
You don’t just want the most popular keywords, after all.
You want the right ones. You want the ones that are going to appeal directly to a specific audience so that they’ll convert after hitting your page.
You can also get information on the competition level, CPC, and opportunity score of your keyword options by connecting to your AdWords account.
So it will work hand-in-hand with your account, minimizing the time-consuming back-and-forth that often bogs you down.
Here’s an example now of how that would look when your results are sorted not by volume, but the shiny new Opportunity Score.
However, this is only the first step.
There’s one final filtering method to help you prioritize hundreds of brand new keywords you’ve now found.
Tip #7. Segment keyword data by funnel stageSo now you’ve got a boatload of ideas. You’ve even got some keyword metrics to help sort them.
But which topic do you start with? How do you prioritize several good ideas?
You could jump straight into volume and competition and potential and opportunity and blah blah blah.
Let’s take a step back, first, though.
What kinds of visitors do you want? Who do you need?
And how should you prioritize if all else is equal?
Keyword research can be like the chicken and egg problem. You want the bottom of the funnel visitors. But you ain’t gonna rank for those (or afford those) until you get enough top of the funnel visitors visiting, reading, sharing, Pocketing, and more.
Don’t neglect your sales funnel.
How about a quick roleplay. Because those make everything a little more exciting.
In this installment of your hypothetical life, hypothetical you is running a campaign for some unnamed Hollywood Hotel. (Knowing you, it’s a swanky joint.)
So you get started with "Hollywood Hotel" in the fancy new WordStream free Keyword tool.
Ok. You type in "Hollywood Hotel" and up pops a ton of new ideas, helpfully ranked by Opportunity Score.
This is super helpful, don’t get me wrong.
But you’re missing one thing: Context.
Now take a look at it after this one tiny edit:
See it now?
The stuff at the bottom are your branded terms. People type these in when they’re ready to buy.
The stuff above it is more middle of the road (of funnel) terms. These people are comparing their alternatives.
They’re not sure, exactly, where to stay just yet. They ain’t checking rates just yet.
So help them compare!
How does your joint line up against the others? Why should they choose you over them?
If you don’t tell them, TripAdvisor (or similar) will.
ConclusionKeyword research isn’t just number crunching. It’s about understanding searcher intent.
Figuring out what specific groups of people are looking for, and then doing your best to give it to them.
Luckily, these seven tips are well worth the investment. They’re exactly what you need to tell you what your visitors want.
No tricks, gimmicks, hacks, or pivot tables required.
What Is a Landing Page?Generally, a landing page is any page on your website that your website’s visitor lands on after clicking on your search results, social media posts, links, or ads. But to be specific, the landing page we are talking about in this context is a standalone landing page. It’s a landing page designed for a specific marketing campaign—for example, a promotional page for your newly released product. Here’s a perfect landing page from Copyblogger’s Authority Program: With that out of the way, here is proven action plan to rank your landing pages in Google’s top 10 organic results.
Step 1: Conduct Proper Keyword ResearchWhen it comes to keyword research, don’t scratch the surface—go all in. According to Nick Eubanks, a contributor at SEMrush:
Keyword research is at the core of the search marketing process. It is the absolute first item you need to address before doing anything else.In other words, it all starts with keywords. Sometimes you can guess your keywords—and you don’t have any problems. But if you want to be sure of what you’re doing and somehow predict your end result, guessing will limit you. There are a bunch of keyword research tools you can implement to know exactly what your target audience is using to find your business online. You can use the Google Keyword Planner tool. This resource is one of the best free keyword research tools out there. No matter what industry you’re in or what keyword research approach you use, you will spend most of your time using the Google Keyword Planner tool. If you’re not familiar with keyword research, here’s the step-by-step process: Log into Google Keyword Planner. Then navigate to the tools tab and choose Keyword Planner. The screen below will show up. Click the “Search for new keywords using phrase, website or category” option. Next, the page should expand to this: Go ahead and enter seed keywords or a website URL to begin your research. If you’re targeting a particular location outside the U.S., you can specify that location as well. For example, when I searched for “loans” I found a bunch of keywords I can leverage to rank my loan-related landing pages. Notice the average monthly searches and suggested bids. Remember that if advertisers are bidding higher for a keyword, it definitely means that it’s a valuable keyword. You want to look at the search volume as well. A high search volume means more people are searching for that keyword per month. Once you’ve found viable keywords to target on your landing pages, it’s time to create long-form content that will answer users’ questions.
Step 2: Create Compelling Long-Form ContentWith your keywords ready, it’s time for you to start creating your content. But you must deliberately create long-form content. Why? You must because Google seems to reward detailed and visually-driven content more than the short-form variations. What’s more, data from Backlinko reveals that long-form content ranks higher in Google’s search results than short-form content. The average word count of a Google first page result is 1,890 words. Content must be 2000+ words to rank in Google’s top pages, according to this exclusive research by SerpIQ. Unfortunately, I see a lot of landing pages filled with a lot of images and little or no text at all. It’s worth noting that Google’s bot crawls written content easier than it crawls images. According to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines: “Try to use text instead of images to display important names, content, or links. If you must use images for textual content, use the Alt attribute to include a few words of descriptive text.” John Sonmez understands the importance of producing long-form content for his landing page. Interestingly, his landing page is ranking at the first position for the keyword “How to learn a new programming language fast.” The content is not only long but also contains engaging images and testimonials to increase conversions. If you want to enjoy organic rankings, you have to focus on producing long-form content. It plays a vital role in supporting other Google ranking factors—God’s truth.
Step 3: Optimize Your Content for SEOIt’s not enough to create long-form content. If you don’t optimize your content and your landing page, you’ll likely be ranking for the wrong keywords. However, this doesn’t imply that you should stuff the whole page with your target keywords. Use the keywords strategically when and where necessary. Ensure you include your target keywords in your landing page’s metadata (title tag and meta description).
Step 4: Build Links to Your Landing PageLink building is an age-old SEO tactic that Google loves. Without the right links, you will not rank in Google. After creating your landing page, you need backlinks pointing to it to reinforce and strengthen the keywords. In fact, link building is the most important success factor in your professional SEO strategy. So how do you go about building links to your landing pages? One effective way to do so is to create persuasive guest posts containing a link to your landing page and submit them to websites with high domain authority (DA) in your niche. I mention websites with high DA because link quality is also an important factor. Not all links are created the same. A link from Entrepreneur will make more impact than a link from a newly created website. With respect to using your network, you can also ask your friends in the same niche to link back to you.
ConclusionWhile your email list and PPC ads can generate traffic to your landing page, you will be leaving a lot on the table if you do not optimize your landing page for search engines. The good news is, if you implement the tips that I’ve shared in this post, you could just find your landing page on the first page of Google for your target keywords. And if it doesn’t happen, keep at it. As usual, I’d love to hear from you. Which other techniques do you use to optimize your landing pages in order to achieve a higher Google ranking? Share your thoughts in the comment box.
Why Is SEO for the Dental Industry Tough?Dental SEO expert Justin Morgan explains that there are several reasons why it’s hard for dentists in particular to be found online. First, dentists tend not to be savvy about how they go about SEO. They don’t invest in the process or go to a dental marketing expert and learn the ins and outs of how it works. Morgan says that, instead, dentists “typically use the ‘pay and pray’ model of SEO, which involves choosing the company that looks most legit for the lowest price possible.” The reality is that it’s highly beneficial for companies to outsource their SEO needs and find a reputable company to help them. Dentists who become proficient in understanding how SEO can benefit their practices see a dramatic rise in their success compared to dentists who take a more apathetic attitude. Those who stand out online have determined to find and pay for the best SEO service available and so have a higher commitment to helping their patients.
Search Engines Love Strong ContentBut one of the most important reasons why SEO can be so difficult for dentists is that “dentists’ websites rarely have useful, engaging content that supports what bloggers, journalists and editors are conveying.” Visual content, and video in particular, is the type of content that research shows users enjoy the most. Google and other search engines will like you using video because it demonstrates you are offering information that is compelling and relevant. Further complicating the SEO woes of dentists is the fact that they are not likely to have relationships with online publishers. Not only do dentists typically not have linkable posts but they also don’t know anyone who would link to them if they did. However, as your dental practice routinely puts out content that is pertinent and useful, your site will become a trusted source of information. So an obvious strategy is for you to include a blog on your website that has helpful content for site visitors. Make sure you design your blog in a way that interests the people who visit your website. Write about topics that will remain relevant over time, write catchy titles and, of course, include visuals. Here is an example of practical, evergreen content that a dentist could include on his or her blog.
Getting StartedDepending on your budget, you might decide to tackle SEO yourself instead of hiring an outside agency. But even if you do decide to hire a dental SEO expert, you should still educate yourself on what SEO requires. One reason why self-education is so important is that you want to make sure the SEO company you hire has ethical link building tactics. To someone ignorant about the nature of SEO, the way a company goes about getting links might seem beneficial. But if Google has a problem with that company’s strategies, it could penalize your content, devastating your business. For those just getting started in SEO, digital strategist Marcus Miller has compiled a thorough list of basics starting steps, some of which we’ll outline here. Begin by reading Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Other additional, useful resources are Moz Beginners Guide to SEO, The Art of SEO, and Eric Ward’s Ultimate Guide to Link Building. Next you should register with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. Both will help you to improve your website in the long run.
Google My Business and Other DirectoriesIt is crucial that you list your company on Google My Business. Doing so is free, and the site has a domain authority of 100, which is extremely high. You want to have a credible online presence? Here is a prime opportunity to boost your likelihood of getting found, and it doesn’t cost you a thing. Keep in mind as well that if you don’t claim your business on this platform, you’re leaving an opportunity wide open for someone else to do so. If another person claims your business instead of you, at best that means users will find someone else’s information when they search your company. At worst, it means that this person could destroy your reputation. Be thorough, polished, and accurate when you fill in your information on Google My Business. In addition to claiming your spot on Google My Business, you should research local directories. Do what you can to get your site listed on them. Online databases fuel mobile search. If you are listed in databases and directories, when people search for you on their smartphones, they will be more likely to find you. Being listed in such directories means claiming your spot on major search engines, social media sites, yellow pages sites, business directories, and any community relevant to your industry.
Keyword ResearchA major aspect of SEO is keyword research. To do your own keyword research, put yourself in the position of your customers. If you needed to find a dentist in your area and were going to Google to search for one, what terms would you enter? What about if you had a specific problem? What phrases would you search in that case? Start by simply searching these keywords in Google, paying attention to the search suggestions Google offers as you do so. Don’t forget to brainstorm long-tail keywords, which can be highly valuable even though people search for them less often. Use these useful resources to find keyword phrases relevant to your business:
- Google Keyword Planner
- Ubersuggest Keyword Tool