Why Worry about Keywords?
Whether you’re an SEO expert, or simply a casual blogger, it’s easy to see the impact of keywords in online strategy.
After all, our content is literally made up of keywords. The reason that there is an entire industry focused on optimizing online content goes to show just how important this topic is.
However, keyword research and the SEO industry as a whole may seem technical and altogether intimidating.
Although I would have agreed with you not too long ago, I assure you that there are some very simple ways to engage in research and optimize your content for organic success.
I’m not an expert in the SEO community, but I’ve managed to stumble across quite a few helpful tips, tools, and strategies that any beginner can focus on.
Today, I’ll be discussing an easy way to build out keyword lists, which will guide our content strategy and ultimately help us to rank in the search results.
Intro to Google keyword planner
There are a lot of highly-rated SEO tools on the market, such as Moz, SEMRush, and Majestic SEO.
Regardless, if you’re a beginner and not looking to shell out any cash just yet, it’s great to look for the free ones.
Luckily, Google has its “Keyword Planner” tool which will help you to quickly and easily build out lists of keywords.
This tool can be found in the Google Adwords interface, so sign on up and take advantage.
In the old AdWords interface, here’s how to find it:
And in the new Adwords interface:
Once you click over to the tool, you will be prompted to select from a series of possibilities which are self-explanatory.
At the moment, the feature you will be using is the top one, “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category.”
We’ll come back to this in a moment. First, we have to get an idea of the keywords we want to start off with.
We need to step back for a moment and consider our keyword topics.
This means asking ourselves what our target audience is typing into Google.
If they were searching for what your website offers, what would be their search query?
Start with the major topics that you cover on your website.
Let’s pretend that you have a business blog and cover topics such as “marketing”, “sales”, and “human resources”.
These are the keystone topics, but you shouldn’t expect to rank anytime soon for these large, general keywords.
Just keep in mind that our keyword strategy and keyword builds should align with our content marketing strategy.
If it’s what your audience wants to read, then focus on it.
To build out an initial list, we can break up our keyword lists into the topics that we have and start from there.
Below, I’ve added in some subtopics as we start to expand our lists.
If you’re not an idiot like me, you’ll be able to come up with a lot more keywords than this.
Regardless, the beauty of the Keyword Planner is that it does much of the work for us.
So if you do struggle with coming up with keywords off the top of your head, you’re all set.
Using the Keyword Planner
Now we can simply copy and paste our keywords into the keyword planner tool. We can do this by category to make sure that our keywords remain in their respective topics.
We’ll start with marketing. Simply enter your keywords in and click “Get ideas”.
When the results are generated, you’ll be presented with a whole set of possible keywords.
Don’t worry if a lot of the keywords aren’t relevant, we will fix this quickly.
Simply navigate to the top of the chart of keywords and click “Download”.
Now we have an excel version that we can comb through to eliminate unnecessary keywords.
Now we have a whole lot of keywords to choose from.
This is a good thing, but it can also be time-consuming.
If you don’t have that many irrelevant keywords in your excel doc, simply go through it quickly and delete unnecessary ones.
In our example, there are over 700 keywords. This would take forever to do manually.
Luckily, we can hop back into the keyword planner and set up some filters to get more selective in our keyword search.
For example, perhaps we would like to find keywords with a search volume of at least 10,000 per month but with low competition.
We went from 700+ keywords to 61.
The best part about narrowing down the search is that we can find more relevant keywords that will help guide our SEO and content strategy.
Furthermore, we can take these keywords and re-enter them to find even more relevant keywords.
After copying those 61 keywords and pasting them back in, we now have 87:
Now we can take this same strategy and apply it to our other categories of keywords.
In this effect, we can build out silos of keywords which pertain to certain subjects.
How Powerful are Keywords?
In the end, none of this really matter unless we’re able to craft relevant, informative, funny, helpful content. Or some mix of those elements.
The reason for this is that Google is starting to focus more on searcher intent than it is on the density of keyword in a post, the length of content, or the meta description you provide.
It’s getting smarter. To capitalize, we have to use the right keyword and write valuable content for our target audience.
Otherwise, we lose.
Best of luck in your keyword searching and content marketing efforts!
This post was written by Henry Foster, a digital marketer from the Boston area. He has built massive social followings, organically grown pre-sale email lists, and sold a small e-commerce business. He writes about social media, content marketing, and online growth strategies at IgniteMyCompany.com.