Section 6: Master SEO
Part 4: SEO Research
Think of this formula:
Relevant Term + Low Competition + High Search Volume
What is an example of a good amount of “Low Competition” to find: If you can find a search phrase with under 500,000 possible results, then there is a good chance you can dominate in that niche in a short time.
If you go after something big like 20 million, then you can still get there, but it’s going to take you longer.
What is the goal of keyword research? The goal of keyword research is to make sure that:
the words or phrases that you choose to focus on
will give you the highest possibility of getting ranked at the top of the search engines
with the highest possible volume or number of searches.
As you do this research, know that there are paid programs to help you and there are free programs. The FREE is all you need.
You could go to http://keywordtool.io/ubersuggest-alternative for a free tool. Alternately, go to Google and type in “Google Adwords keywords”. It should lead you to the keyword tool and you may have to sign up for an account.
In the first column it gives you the keyword phrase. In the second column it tells you the advertiser competition for that phrase. In the 3rd column we see last months’ number of searches for that phrase. The 4th column tells you the average number of local searches for that phrase (this is local to the area that you designate in the filters—usually set to United States if you are in North America).
You can click on the download button to download these to an excel file and from there you can do your research.
So what I’ll do is come up with a list of keywords that I’m interested in and I put them into a spreadsheet. It might look like this:
We see here that Kenya safari has fewer search results on Google every month than Kenya hotel. So it should be easier to compete with the search phrase “Kenya safari” and you will have many more people looking for your results.
If you have a strong brand, then you will want to include the name of your company in that keyword list. An example is the Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. There are people all over the world who only stay at the Fairmont and when they’re searching, they include the keyword “Fairmont” in their search phrase. But if you’re not there yet, don’t waste your time including your company name as part of your keyword shortlist.
How do you know what to choose?
• The lower the number of search results, the greater the chance of achieving your goal.
• The higher the demand (that is, the number of monthly searches), the more visitors you’re going to get IF you can get on the first three pages. Special note: getting on the top of the first page will get you about 80% of the clicks from those searches. That means, a top ranking with low search volume may get you more visitors than a 3rd page ranking from a high search volume. And if you’re not on the first three pages, then you won’t get much at all.
The next step is to Shortlist your Keywords.
And then you do the same for all your keywords that you are considering going after. You will then do it for all top 10 spots on the first page.
Yes, it’s a lot of work, but it’s the most comprehensive way to avoid choosing the wrong keywords to target. It also lets you know your expected workload to get to the first page.
SPECIAL NOTE: Google's platform for keywords continually changes. This lesson will give you the general idea but you will MOST LIKELY have to hunt for solutions. This is the nature of the Internet.
Let’s say you’re doing some SEO for a fellow student whose father runs a luxury hotel in Kenya. What I would do is type in some of the following keywords in the keyword box: Kenya Hotel, Kenya luxury hotels, Nairobi hotels would be an example.
Type in the coded letters and then press the button, “Get keyword ideas”. Notice what it does for you: It generates about 100 or so possible keywords that are related to what you are searching for.
Where do you go from here?
It would be a mistake to say, “Let’s go after the one that is most searched.” Why is that? Because you first have to assess the competition.
Let’s take the first phrase, “Kenya Hotels” which gets about 40,500 searches worldwide every month. Go to Google and type that in. There are over 43,000,000 possible results for that phrase. That’s a fair amount, but not impossible to overcome. So what I will now do is add a column to the right of my research page, and I will type in that figure so I expand my research.
But we have another step in this process: what is the competition doing to optimize their SEO?
That’s where we’re going to look next. Type in “Kenya hotels” in Google. You'll see on the right side many companies trying to get traffic with PPC. This is a good sign for you because it means there’s money here. People will not advertise unless there is money to be made.
However, we are not interested in PPC at this time. What we want to do is assess the level of competition.
What does it take to get on the first page of Google? You simply have to beat the company in the #10 position. That’s where we start our research.
Click on the #10 position and see what you find. Do a search for the number of backlinks by typing in link:theirwebsiteURL
Now I will create a 4th column in my spreadsheet so it looks like this: