SEO Keyword Research to Massively Increase Traffic & Grow Your Business
- A Five-Step Framework to Increase Website Traffic
- Going Deeper into Keyword Research
- Useful Checklists for Optimizing Your Website
- Categorizing Keywords to Identify Intent
- Content Strategy for Products With Many Keyword Synonyms
- Getting Traffic for Low-Volume Technical Keywords
- Can You Sell a Product With No Search Volume?
- Impact of Product Schema on SERP Rankings
Tristam Jarman: And we are live. Good afternoon. Today, we will be talking about SEO Keyword Research and How To Massively Grow Your Business through that.
We've got Ross, who is based in London, and Tommy today, who is actually in Hawaii. I'm Tristam Jarman. I'm the co-founder of Purple Smudge, a digital marketing agency based in Brighton. I'll let you introduce yourself, Ross, so I won't mess anything up.
Ross Tavendale: Thank you very much, Tristam. For everyone watching, my name is Ross Tavendale. I'm the managing director of Type A Media. We're a search company based in London and our mission is to help brands find the optimal route to finding more people to talk to online.
Tristam Jarman: Excellent. Tommy, over to you.
Tommy Griffith: My name is Tommy. I'm previously SEO manager at PayPal and Airbnb. I run a digital marketing training course called ClickMinded. I'm excited to nerd out with you guys on keyword research today.
Tristam Jarman: Awesome. I don't know if you guys could just give us a little bit of information of kind of how you discussed with SEMrush and where you came to creating this webinar today. Let's throw that back over to you, Tommy.
Tommy Griffith: Yeah. I mean, keyword research is actually how I first got into search engine optimization, absolutely vital to everything we do it ClickMinded, but also stuff I did the enterprise-level as well.
We use it in search engine optimization, but there's a ton of kind of non-digital marketing, non-SEO reasons to do this. There's plenty of companies that use keyword research to sort of as a proxy for demand.
We'll talk a little bit more about how to use this to not only implement your digital marketing strategy but to also actually make really comprehensive business decisions as well.
Tristam Jarman: Excellent. It looks like we're ready to get started with the presentation. Once you're ready, Tommy, pull your presentation up and then we'll hand it over to you.
Tommy Griffith: Okay, cool. I'm going to take some kind of the theoretical, more very top of the funnel, and kind of strategy stuff, and then switch it over and we'll talk more technical stuff later in the webinar.
A Five-Step Framework to Increase Website Traffic
We're going to talk about how to find out what your ideal customers are searching for and then make your website the very first place that they visit. Then when Ross presents, he's going to be doing an overview on workflows to get keyword research done as effectively as possible, so you can have those epic four-day weeks, which I am very jealous of.
We've developed this framework, it's incredibly simple. It's a five-step process that you can use to optimize your site or your business for any search engine that you could reasonably drive traffic from:
Searcher intent and the user demographic
The digital asset you use
The digital medium you use
Optimization of those assets
The nudge to the next stage of the funnel
We're going to go through all of these.
Next, two quick important things to keep in mind before we jump fully into this five-step search framework process. The first is that search isn't just Google on your desktop anymore. A lot of people say, "Oh, SEO is just Google on your desktop." It's actually not true. These days there's a ton of ways to optimize different assets for different web applications.
You can do YouTube, you can do Amazon, Pinterest, or mobile search, Google Places, the App Store, Yelp, or LinkedIn, eBay local search. Anything with a search engine, any modern web application with a search engine has this SEO problem.
You can actually apply keyword research and search engine optimization tactics to a number of modern web applications that you can build a business on.
A lot of advanced SEOs are going to know this, but just for anyone who might be more entry to this: being on the first page isn't enough. The vast majority of clicks are going to the top five results. You really start to see the gains in your search engine optimization after doing keyword research when you move your document up to the top five.
This is why we do search engine optimization. Sometimes if you, unfortunately, there's a handful of less savory and shady people in our industry. A lot of the times they'll take on a new client and they'll say, "Hey, we have you on page two for 100 keywords." But the reality here is that you're not going to see the majority of your wins until you get into that top five results.
If you're not in the top five, you are effectively invisible. Just keep those two things in mind as we go through this whole process. Cool.
The search framework. Searcher intent and user demographic. The first thing we're going to ask is: who is the user? What are they searching for? Why are they searching for it?
Next is the digital asset. What type of content we're going to give that user? The digital medium, where is it going to live? The optimization and then the nudge.
This is the first thing we're going to do before we do our keyword research. Who is the user? What does the user search for and what stage of the funnel are they in?
Next is the digital asset and the digital medium. Okay. We know who we're targeting, how are we going to capture them? What type of content are we going to give this user and which platform will that asset live on?
Your digital asset, it can be a number of different things. Like I said before, SEO is not just Google on your desktop anymore. It can be a blog post. It might be a page on your site. That's fine, but it also might be a blog post or a forum response. It might be a social media post, a video, digital tool, image review, webinar, or product demo. It can be a number of different things.
The next is the digital medium. Maybe it's your website, or maybe it's YouTube, maybe it's Google Places, Yelp, Amazon, Quora, Pinterest, or the App Store. The medium you choose is up to you, it depends on your business.
The next step of this is optimization: is the document as relevant as possible for users? Every single platform is going obviously going to have a massive number of things to do. We're not going to cover all these things, of course, today, we don't have the time.
But the way you would optimize a page for Google is different from how you would optimize it for YouTube; it's different for how you would optimize it for Pinterest. The basic idea we're going to ask ourselves is, have you maximized traffic? What would it take to maximize it? Is it worth the effort?
With Google and search engine optimization, do you have the primary keyword in your title? Is it mentioned throughout the copy? Do you have a good number of internal links to the page? Are you using maybe latent semantic indexing keywords?
With YouTube, maybe is the keyword in your title again? Is the keyword in your description? How many likes and fully 100% completed views do you have? How many subscribers do you have? With Pinterest, it's how many pins do you have? Broadly, just how much popularity do you have to this document?
Last, and most importantly, is the nudge. What is the next action we want the user to take? What is the next thing that we want them to do? A lot of people make this mistake. They sort of haphazardly start creating a bunch of content and they don't know what they want the user to do next. Make sure that's very clear when you have that in mind.
If it's the top of the funnel, maybe it's view more content or view another video. If it's middle funnel, maybe you'd say, "Enter your email or enter your phone number," "Follow us on social," something like that. Or if it's towards the bottom of the funnel, maybe it's, "Buy a low-dollar product," or "Sign up today."
You always want to make sure there's a very clear next step with everything you do when you're creating this content.
This is just kind of a high-level overview of how the funnel works. With keyword research, we wanted to sort of lay that out there. If you're an absolute pro, this is probably fairly entry level for you. But I just want to get everyone on the same page before we get rolling.
One quick thing before we talk more about the sales funnel, as a reminder, you want to treat this like a regular human relationship. That means when you meet someone new, instead of driving all that traffic right to your checkout page, it's more like, "Hey, how are you? Nice to meet you. Tell me about yourself. What do you like, and not like?"
You want to treat your sales funnel like a regular human relationship and not like an insurance salesman at a party pushing people right to your checkout page right away.
Now, let's dig into the nerd stuff. We just have a couple of resources for you all that you can use to do this on your own. We're going to drop the first link into the chat now.
Going Deeper into Keyword Research
The first is our keyword research template. This is the way that we like to do our keyword research. I'll just quickly go through how some of this works. The link we're going to be dropping in is actually a direct link to copy the sheet in Google Drive, so just go ahead and make a copy, if you'd like.
The basic idea here is, let's say, we were doing this for a client or for ourselves, we would list all the possible keywords that we're doing research with SEMrush and list them out here along with the monthly volume.
In this particular case, I'm doing, let's say, a website on how to make a cake, cake recipes and things like that, and I list all of that out here. Then, I would list out a click-through rate chart.
I could start to lay out my document say, okay, cake recipes, we have a number of keywords related to cake recipes. There's a number of things you can do here once you've kind of put all this data in the same place.
Let's say, we were going to create a page on how to bake a cake. The URL might be /howtobakeacake. We have a number of different keywords here that are all sort of the same type of intent. One URL you create can rank for a number of different keywords, sometimes hundreds of different keywords.
This particular URL, we might be trying to rank for all of these keywords: how to make a cake, how to make a cake from scratch, how to bake a cake. We can add them all up here. Then, we can apply a click-through rate percentage to these.
Let's say, we're ranking number two for all of these keywords, this is saying then, "Okay. We get 15% of all clicks if we were ranking number two."
That means we would be driving 5,000 visits a month just to this page, and you can start to play with these numbers. If we're getting 5,000 visits a month to this page, let's say we had an opt-in rate for our email list of 9%, we'd be getting 454 leads a month. You can change these numbers as you see fit.
Same with your business, you can take these same numbers and modify them a bit. If your product is $497 and your conversion rate is 3% right, you're driving $11,000 worth of revenue to that page. It's going to really depend on your business. There's a lot of different ways to do this, but we just wanted to give you this sheet so you can have it as a takeaway and use that five-step framework we just talked about.
Useful Checklists for Optimizing Your Website
We have a couple of other checklists for you as well that we're going to drop in. We're just going to quickly go through these. These are SOPs. SOP stands for standard operating procedure. It's just a fancy way to say a really comprehensive checklist.
We have a number of digital marketing SOPs on our site. The first one is on-page optimization. Once you've done all your keyword research, you can optimize all your content with these SOPs. This one takes about 10 to 20 minutes to do. The goal of SOP: optimizing each page or blog post on your site.
What's the ideal outcome? Every page or blog post on your site is properly optimized. Any of the prerequisites you need. Why it's important. Where it's done. When this is done. This is our on-page optimization SOP, you can have that for free.
We have two more recipes for you. The first is keyword research and mapping. This is kind of what we just talked about, again how long it takes to do, it's listed up here, the goal of the SOP, the ideal outcome, any prerequisites you need, why it's important, where it's done, when this is done, and who does it. This is again a big one, 18 pages, make a copy of this and you just sort of follow along the steps. This is the way we like to do keyword research at ClickMinded. You can go ahead and take this.
Finally, last one and then I'll hand it over to Ross is our page-level SEO audit. Again, this is a monstrous one, 19 pages of how to do a complete SEO audit. This one's usually more helpful for past content, so if you have URLs or pages that are already live, maybe you haven't optimized them in the past, you can go through and follow this checklist sort of optimize everything as you go along.
Ross, if it's cool with you, I will hand it back over to you and swap over my screen.
Ross Tavendale: Fantastic. All right, guys. Ultimately, what we want to do is get you to a place where we can essentially, from everything that Tommy's just been over, I want to get a big, ugly list of keywords like this.
We've actually taken all of SEMrush's keywords. We're taking the top 5,000 of them. I want to categorize them or at least show you how to begin to categorize them, work out the intent of them as well, and then do something we call opportunity analysis.
Categorizing Keywords to Identify Intent
Of all the things that SEMrush.com actually rank for, here is the difficulty, along here. That's where we want to be in this particular one, high into the right. You'll see that the highest search volume is up the top there and the lowest competition. No surprise, the biggest keyword opportunity for SEMrush is writing about things around Google.
Similarly, I want to also show the actual intent of these keywords and the potential revenue they can make. Typically, clients will come to you and say, "I want to rank for transactional terms."
Gone are the days when actually getting the data was the hard bit. The hard bit is now once you've got the data, deciding what to do with it. We use this lovely little plugin called Supermetrics using the SEMrush API. As quick as you like, that is the top 5,000 keywords that SEMrush currently ranks for with URL position, search volume, the whole thing. Absolutely fantastic.
The thing is, if I was doing a bunch of keyword research, this is kind of all over the place. I don't know if any of you know this, but the secret to being good at SEO is to have really nice-looking sheets that are all nicely organized and color-coded. Of course, that's not the case, but I'm a bit anal, so let's do that.
Okay. We want to pull in the average difficulty for the term SEMrush. Let's get the search volume over here and the difficulty over there.
Tristam Jarman: There are a few questions which we'll cover up later, but just asking what super metrics is and I think some people are finding this possibly a bit complicated. But just for everyone watching, what you can do is take the sheet, as Ross said, and watch this again, follow through step-by-step.
Ross Tavendale: Fantastic. Absolutely, guys. One other thing I'd like to show you how to do is how do you actually categorize these keywords. Because it'd be really useful if I could take all 5,000 of these and actually categorize them according to something top level and also categorize them according to intent.
So what I'm going to introduce you to here, again it's in your sheets. It's something called an IF statement, which essentially says, "If you find this, call it this." Really simple and we've nested something in there which is a search statement, which essentially says, "Look for the keyword which is over here. Look for the keyword Google. If you find it, I want you to label this as Google." Really nice and simple.
What we want to be doing here is, once we've added up all of the different intent types, so from conversational to informational, to transactional. Conversations are very top of funnel stuff. Once we take the total volume, we can look at how physically difficult it is, so that by taking a SEMrush core for keyword difficulty, we can apply an average collectively.
What I'd really want to see here is I want to put these together in these graphs here. Because when we actually plot the difficulty against how much revenue we could potentially make, we can start to see some really interesting things. One of those things is, in the case of the SEMrush business, actually changing to transactional terms, which you can see down here in the bottom left, would be a terrible idea.
Reason being it's incredibly competitive and they're not going to make a lot of money out of it because the volume of people looking for that and the rate at which they convert customers does not make it worthwhile.
Whereas most customers of ours would think, "Oh, no we want to rank for, say, audit tool and things like that" Actually according to the data, you really don't. You want to rank for these informational terms here because they're much more lucrative and they're considerably easier to rank for.
Now, if we can imagine taking your intent and your opportunity and putting them together, that's going to start getting really interesting. This graph tells us that, "Yep, we can see that trying to rank for informational based terms is a good idea." But what informational terms? I want to combine the topics and the intent together and I want to get keyword intelligence on each of them. How do we do that?
Well, rather simply what we're going to do here is create something called data validation. All we're doing is literally going up to your data, and then we're going to click on data validation here, and then we're going to select our original table, and we're going to turn that into a nice little drop-down list. We literally just select all of these and, as if by magic, hit Save and it will create your lovely little drop-down list.
This is one of the ways that we can actually just start looking at our content in a much more structured way and our keyword research in a more structured way. When we're actually getting main stakeholder buy-in, we can say that..."This is why we want to rank for them (keywords) because this is the potential revenue upside, not only for the keyword type but their purchase intent depending on where the person is on the funnel."
This is key information that helps win the argument or the conversation, doesn't it? It's brilliant.
Content Strategy for Products With Many Keyword Synonyms
Tristam Jarman: Someone asked, "How do you handle a product with many, many synonyms. I don't know if I said that correctly. My case is TV stand, TV console, media Console, AV cabinet, et cetera." What are your thoughts, guys?
Ross Tavendale: It depends. That's the classic SEO response. It really depends. I imagine this person sells TV stands and they want to know how they should look at, how to build out pages if it should be one big one or multiple ones, et cetera.
Using Tommy's SOPs, I'd look at how you can build that stuff in to understand the intent, first and foremost. Is TV stand itself right at the top of funnel or is it right at the bottom of the funnel? That's really going to make me decide one way or another.
If it's bottom of the funnel and it's a transactional page, I don't want loads of content on there. I want it snappy. I actually want to think more about conversion rate optimization than I do about SEO at this point. But if it's things like best TV stands or TV stand to mount a Samsung 70-inch television, that will be its own thing.
One of the great tools you can use for this, and we're on the platform so I feel like in my shell for SEMrush right now, but their on-page SEO checker is phenomenal. You essentially just get your URL and the keyword you've mapped it to.
What it will then going to do is a TF-IDF, which is term frequency inverse document frequency look up. It will google the term and it'll peel the top 10 out and look at all the different keywords and all the different phrases that you should have on there, and you've actually got a plugin for WordPress and for Google Docs. I would start there. They've done it for you.
Tommy Griffith: The first thing, and I'd mentioned this briefly when I was speaking, is a lot of people who are new to this forget that any one page can rank for dozens or hundreds of keywords. I think the first step is looking at the whole universe, you mentioned TV stands, TV console, media console, AV cam, entertainment console, and actually trying to figure out what Google thinks is the same thing.
The really easy way to do this, the really simple way to do this is to Google it. You start to see, "Okay, wait. What other keywords are appearing together? What is Google bolding the suggested search for additional terms at the bottom?" It’s a really good sort of synonym validator as well.
What you want to do is you want to start to bucket things based on what it looks like Google is determining. What has Google decided is a synonym relationship with another keyword and what is totally different?
The other way to do this is, yeah, you do your entire universe of keywords using tools like SEMrush. But then when you're doing your analysis, who is ranking and how often are those documents continuing to appear? If you google TV stand, TV console, media console, and it's the same one, two, three results every single time, those are probably sort of similar relationships.
Keep in mind what Google is bolding in the meta descriptions, what they're suggesting in the search down at the bottom, and then whether or not the search changes a lot when you do each search. If the searches are changing entirely between TV stand and TV console, it's different intent.
If they're kind of saying the same and like two's moving to three's and three's moving to two's it's roughly the same, it's probably similar intent. That's sort of the first step.
Getting Traffic for Low-Volume Technical Keywords
Tristam Jarman: Fantastic. Another question from Sherry is, "I have a client with very technical terms for food ingredients for B2B. How would you approach this?" What are both your thoughts on sort of how to approach that and especially from the B2B kind of perspective?
Ross Tavendale: I mean, Sherri, the first thing I'd be doing there is don't really worry about the keyword research as much as you're worried about the schema and the markup so that they actually know what the page is physically about. If you go to schema.org and put the product type in there, there should be a schema for what you're talking about.
Regardless if it's really technical B2B stuff, you're going to find that there is literally no search volume for it. We don't keyword research for blood plasma gen B2B technology provider. I know a ton of people looking for things that separate blood particles at scale.
What you want to do in that instance is have your landing page for that, because when they do search for it you need it to be there, but think of secondary things around what the audience searches for. If they are scientists or food scientists or caterers, think about what their day-to-day problems are and design content around that.
If they're like technical foods people, like scientists, go into one of their science journals and look at the articles that people are writing about and then start looking at maybe run that through SEMrush and see what keywords they rank for. So you're getting them an informational term and maybe you can do something like a lead capture to get them into your funnel, and then slowly push that out. but I would take a sidestep into something bigger.
Can You Sell a Product With No Search Volume?
Tristam Jarman: Excellent. Just taking a step back, because we've obviously been talking to a degree a quite high-level today, which is pretty awesome, but what if you do keyword research and there's no search volume for your product you're selling?
Tommy Griffith: Yeah. I have strong opinions on this one. This is where I turn into a jerk when I get asked this question and keyword research becomes actually, it's effective, it's efficient, but it also can become this very brutal moment in time for your business. Because the data doesn't lie.
A lot of people do this. They say, "I've got this new idea. It's Tinder for dogs, or it's like jet skis with flamingos on them or some kind of crazy idea, and they do the search volume and they say, "No one's looking for this. What should I do?"
Sometimes the answer is “this is a bad idea.” No one was googling for Uber before Uber existed. No one was googling for exactly what Airbnb was before Airbnb. Of course, there are once-in-a-generation ideas that behaviorally change people. But SEO is not that.
SEO is much more boring and transactional in that. SEO is looking at the state of the world, understanding what they're searching for, and then answering their needs, solving their problems.
Keyword research can go in one of two ways. It can be absolutely devastating if you've invested a bunch in your business or created a new product and then you go look at Query and you say, "Oh my god, nobody wants this. This isn't solving any problems." That can be absolutely devastating.
But it can go in the other way as well. It turns out it can be hundreds of times more important than you thought, whatever your product is. We highly recommend doing keyword research before starting a new business, before launching a product line, before determining the color of a new product you're launching because it gives you a really good proxy for demand.
We get this question all the time. It's like, "Okay. I'm doing this new thing. There's no one searching for it, but there's like a related business. How should I go about doing this?" I don't want to be too discouraging but the data doesn't lie and so there are many times where you should look at the query and honestly look in the mirror and say, "Should I actually go through with this? Is this solving anyone's problem?"
Impact of Product Schema on SERP Rankings
Tristam Jarman: I think we probably got time for maybe one more question. "For ecomm, how does the schema for products help or have an impact on SERPs?" Anyone will take that one?
Ross Tavendale: It helps with your click-through rate, ultimately. If you've got schema around all of your products, it's going to show up and it's going to help with the click-through rate. One of the things I would look at, if you go down to entities and you want a really good deep dive, go over to a wikidata.org or wikidata.com, I can't remember, type in any put any person's name, scroll down, and look at the identifiers.
Those are all the databases inside of the knowledge graph that power the knowledge panel. Not only if you're not in those and you relate to a particular keyword set, regardless of you know traditional SEO stuff like links that you've got and all the rest of it, as far as we can see there's a dampening effect. If you're not in these identifying databases, you're not trusted, so, therefore, you're not ranked.
Tristam Jarman: Wicked. Tommy, anything to add?
Tommy Griffith: Yep, exact same thing. This is always how it works. Google incentivizes some behavior for webmasters, the webmasters then adopt it again an early advantage, everyone tries to chase them, everyone suddenly does what Google wants, Google takes over that part of the internet and moves on. Unfortunately, that's how it works.
I agree, if you're doing an e-commerce site, you generally want to mark up your product pages with as much schema as possible. Most content management systems do a lot of the work out of the box, Shopify can do this really well, there are WordPress plugins that do this really well, but you usually get quicker rate increases when Google uses it.
You don't always know when Google will use certain schema, stars, pricing, all these sorts of things. Google seems to change their mind a lot on what's relevant and what's not. But in general, if you're in e-commerce site, mark up your page with as much schema as possible.
Tristam Jarman: Awesome. Fantastic. I think we probably need to wrap up now. Also, this webinar will be posted up afterward. I think you're going to be notified if you registered. Tommy's awesome links will be in there to the SOPs. Ross's spreadsheet will be in there. I believe with that, if there's anything else you need, then just drop anyone message.