Keyword research is critical.
We don’t just use it to improve our SEO, but it’s also an important tool in trying to understand how your prospects work.
In this guide, I’ll show you how to do keyword research like a growth hacker and figure out what it is you really need to be paying attention to.
Search engines are everywhere, you’ve got Google, video search with YouTube, and, of course social searches with LinkedIn and Facebook.
To use a search engine, people use keywords.
If you think about them, they’re sort of a demand indicator in the web.
The more search volume a keyword gets, the more people are interested in that particular topic.
Now if you want to provide for people’s demand, you have to make sure that you’re doing research on the types of things that they’re searching for.
This is why every SEO, content, and website audit, places such a significant emphasis on keywords. As the web is still primarily text-based – and the future of voice searches uses keywords, you’re going to keep seeing keywords for years to come.
Let’s end this section with this thought:
If you want to rank, you’ve got to know what keywords you want to rank for.
Before we go any further, we have to take a look at intent.
Intent looks at the psychology behind a particular search on a search engine.
What your average searcher types on the search bar is dependent on what they are looking for.
For example, if you were to simply take the keyword “growth hacker”, the possible reasons for the search would include:
But, here’s what.
Say people are also looking at the keyword “growth hacking”. This may seem to be an identical keyword to “growth hacker” but the intent could be something else.
As you can see, similar keywords can suggest major differences in what people are looking for.
Now that you’re familiar with intent, let’s take a look at buyer keywords. These are keywords that have a lot of buyer intent in them.
These are usually the keywords that B2C marketers go for when they want to sell something that’s considered fast moving.
Keywords that suggest that the searcher wants to make a buying decision are keywords that are critical to rank for regardless if you’re in B2B or B2C, because you want to be the first brand that comes up when a prospect wants to part with their money.
It’s also important to note that keywords with high buyer intent are also considerably more expensive than keywords with less buyer intent.
So, should I just focus on buyer keywords?
Here’s the thing.
A large percentage of the population that buys things online don’t make a decision immediately. They often spend time this
This is particularly true for B2B industries with longer buying cycles.
You want to capture the lead at the beginning of their buying journey when they’re first considering a solution that your organization so happens to offer.
This means you should be aiming to rank for keywords that can help guide them through the buying process such as ones with a more educational intent.
In this way, you get to introduce them to your brand earlier and when they finally decide to buy, they’re more likely to purchase from someone who was educating them from Day 1.
And, that’s not all.
Trying to rank for keywords with high buyer intent are more expensive when it comes to ad spend, and require more backlinks according to a lot of SEO experts.
You also don’t want to spend most of your time trying to figure out how to compete for a keyword that’s too heavily saturated. It would be better to spend time trying to go after “low hanging fruit” or promote on other platforms altogether.
First of all, take a look at your organization and what you have to offer.
For sure, you already know what it is you’re selling, but also think about what else you have to offer.
Here are some questions that you can ask yourself (and your team):
Once you done with this step, you should have a general list of topics that you want to rank for.
Don’t stop there.
Take a look at your website’s service pages.
You want to build keywords for each of those pages as well, so go through this process again.
The topics that you get from the first step are what you’ll use to form seed keywords.
And, usually, the main topics are already seed keywords themselves.
Make a list of these seed keywords and start running them through a keyword research tool of your choice. Once you hit search, it will show you a list of related keywords that you can build a list of keywords from.
There are a lot of these tools and most of them offer a free trial.
Here’s our list of free keyword research tools that you should take a look at.
Most keyword research tools will show you four metrics:
The first thing we do is to strip of keywords that have less than 50 search volume a month, especially if there is no buyer intent in these keywords.
You don’t want to go after these keywords because it just isn’t worth it.
However, if the keywords are niche, you could try ranking for these keywords. This is dependent on what industry you’re in.
If the search volume is too high, you risk having to face too much competition to keep an eye on keyword difficulty while you’re at it.
You want a considerable number on CPC, it gives you a picture of Google’s say in that particular keyword. This could get tricky once the CPC starts costing hundreds of dollars as in the case of keywords that deal with things such as asbestos lawyers.
Filter these keywords based on volume, you want to go after keywords that have search volume and use the other related keywords they generate to optimize the other content or pages on your site.
These are keywords that are generated by your tool’s examination of the keywords that you put in. Depending on how you group them – more on that later – you can these to build content and pages, or use them as supporting keyword in a particular article.
Make sure that you’re also looking at keywords that are phrased as questions – what is, where are, why is, etc. – these keywords are a great addition to your list and make for interesting supporting article topics when you’re building a knowledge base for your website.
When you type down a keyword on Google, it will give you other keywords that are related to your original keyword and basically “complete” your search.
Pay attention to these types of keywords because Google is pretty much telling you what they associate your main keyword to.
You can use autocomplete to build LSI lists that you can use to create supporting keywords for any article that you have online.
Repeat this process for each of your seed keywords
Once you’re done, you can now export all of these keywords – almost every tool has a way to export via a CSV file – and it’s time to run a couple of filters on them to make sure that you know what you’re doing.
Once you’ve ran all of your seed keywords, gotten related keywords, autocomplete, LSIs, questions, etc.
You want to start grouping them according to their purpose.
Some of these keywords you’ll want to use to enrich the content that you’re going to put out, other will be used for individual pages.
Figure out which is which and start building out separate lists for these purposes.
The keyword with the highest volume on each of these groups will be used as the main keyword in a page or article.
Here’s an example.
Suppose you have a bunch of keywords for B2B healthcare.
You can start group the keywords that you for each page that you currently have and start enriching those pages with the keywords.
This will help you optimize the page for SEO.
The lower ranking keywords in the group can be used for supporting articles that revolve around adding more value to that page.
You can also use this like a keyword bank to store keywords for later use.
There are a couple of ways to go about keyword prioritization and it’s dependent on your purpose.
Let’s examine two common ways to leverage your keyword lists.
Keyword groups are great for on-page optimization for SEO, and what you usually do is take the keywords with higher search volumes and use them for high priority spaces such as your title tags and URLs.
The rest of the lower volume keywords can be used for H3s and alt-tags or the like.
As you move lower in volume in the keyword lists that you have, you can take your LSIs and use them to add more power and relevancy within the page.
These are topics/keywords that have a growing search volume, but low difficulty and CPC.
This is an indication that it would be easy for you to rank for these keywords and bring in traffic for your website.
One of your jobs as a growth hacker is to look for opportunities like these and take advantage of them.
There are a lot of ways to find “low hanging” keywords and we’ll discuss them in an upcoming article – stay tuned!
So, say you’ve started to use these keywords to strategize the content that you’re putting out on your site. You want to track your keywords because you need to know if you’re going up in rank because of them.
Don’t expect to rank in Page 1 of Google’s SERP the first time you publish content with a focus on a keyword that you want to rank for. There are other factors that come into ranking that we can’t fully discuss in this guide alone.
Expect it to gradually go up if you’re following other SEO guidelines.
There’s a bunch of tools that you can use to track your keywords.
There are popular paid tools like AHREFs and Ubersuggest that have a keyword rank tracker as part of their package, and there are more niche types such as SERPROBOT that only track.
Doing this much keyword research takes a lot of time, but you’ll come to a point where you’ll want to grow your topics even further.
(Naturally because that’s just part of our growth hacking DNA.)
You can take you related keywords that came from your seed keyword and turn them into their own seed keywords.
This process creates even bigger lists that you can leverage for more topic and content ideas.
But, take a note of this.
The more keywords you have, the harder it is for you to track all of them.
This can backfire on you if you’re just looking for growth for growth’s sake.
Keyword volumes will change over time.
They might go up or down, and competition is always around the corner.
You want to be mindful that you’re not going after one keyboard for extended period of time only to find out that it doesn’t matter to your campaign anymore.
But, this doesn’t mean that you should check the rankings of your keywords daily.
Take your general keywords and make sure that you have a look at where they stand every three to six months.
This is enough time for you to determine if you need to start switching your strategy out or doubling up.
Knowing how to keyword research is a critical skill in a growth hacker’s toolkit.
It not only helps with optimizing sites and content, but it gives you an edge in understanding the demand prospects have for topics.
Once you understand how your prospects think, it becomes easier for you to serve their needs.
And, as a growth hacker, serving your prospects is your priority.