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Timeless Keyword Research Tips

Posted by peterzmijewski | Filed under Seo Techniques

Keyword research isn’t a blog post thing.It isn’t a website redesign thing, either.Instead, it should be an everyday thing, a continual harvesting of data so you can make better marketing decisions.

Here are timeless keyword research tips that will never go out of style.

1.Funnel Stage
Keyword research should start with a page or a group of them.On the left side of a spreadsheet, you drop in the URL.And on the right, you’ll input the keyphrase for each.You tick off the usual boxes like volume and competition.But you’re forgetting about something: context.Want more visitors?Easy.Talk about celebrity gossip.The problem is that none of it will stick around.Unless you’re paid per page view, it’s fruitless.That’s a good start. But unfortunately, not all businesses are similar.This means search intent might shift up or down the funnel depending on the industry.

2.PPC Performance
Every company thinks they’re short on money.But what most marketers are truly short on is time.You simply don’t have enough hours in the day to grok around in the dark.You can’t guess which keyphrases are going to work.Start with the product or service name.You know, the super commercial one that nobody searches for.Then look up related keywords to balance relevance;something pretty close but hopefully a little more popular.

3.Existing Page Topics
Category pages on your WordPress blog are supposed to bring together closely related topics.And they do a decent job of it for readers.But not search engines. Cue duplicate content and canonicalization issues.There isn’t a lot of context around closely related posts, either.So category pages often become a mess with hundreds of posts.It’s a UX nightmare in the making.First thing that comes to mind is the whiskey.I mean, the type of alcohol in each cocktail.It might take you half a day to compile these posts in a few hub pages, breaking out drinks for people based on their liquor preference.

Seasonality usually relates to when your business is booming.That short window of time each year (or several times each year) when things pick up and get interesting.A hub page targeting “whiskeycocktails” might be tough.You’re most likely going up against the biggest brands in the industry like Bon Appetit, AllRecpies.com, or even BuzzFeed.That’s where the long-tail variations come in.Specifically, whiskey drinks for summer (crisp and refreshing) and those in the fall (warm and full-bodied).Think about seasonality in terms of affinity or what your customers are into.Here’s an extreme example.If customers are music lovers (and/or your product/service is best accompanied with some musical backdrop), you can capitalize on the ~four weeks a year people actually care about the Grammy Awards.

5.Trending Topics
Sometimes we overcomplicate things.We think our campaigns and strategies and content pieces need to be so creative or breathtaking or interesting.Jason Quey helped me simplify it in an email:“It’s a mix of doing good work + talking about an uber trendy topic. :) ”That ‘uber-trendy’ topic he referenced was the intersection of content +influencer marketing.

6.On-Site Search
You know those times when you hear something so effective and obvious, yet you realize you aren’t doing it?This is one of those times.The first time I heard Andy Crestodina tell me about on-site search, my first reaction was:duh.People are coming to your site.And they’re literally typing words into a little box, telling you exactly what they want to see.But then my heart rate sped up.Fear enveloped me.Panic ensued. I don’t think I ever even looked at people’s submissions until that point.

7.Location + Widget
The big brands will snatch it up.You’ve got no shot at ranking unless your name is synonymous with Dominos or Papa John’s or Pizza Hut. (Or, apparently, unless your pizza is terrible.)That’s where the location qualifier comes into play.It works because it’s easy.It’s exactly how people search already.A few minutes of keyword research will show you.If you don’t already know a tax attorney or an insurance professional, you’re gonna search Google for one.Preferably, in your local area.

8.Keyword Difficulty
Keyword research is a constant balancing act.First, you’ve got relevance.The keyphrase needs to be (at least)tangentially related to what you do or offer.Then you’ve got volume.The numbers you see in most tools range wildly.However, you can at least determine if it’s a super-popular one from a decent opportunity to one with little existing search demand.Those two are good.They’re a start.But they’re not complete until you balance those attributes with the competition, specifically the other people already going after the same words.For example, here are a few possibilities for your new agency websiteservices page:

9.Competitive Analysis
When all else fails, emulate.A little competitive analysis can illuminate some overlooked areas.The Hard Rock has done a great job getting editorial links.But many of those are around the same (or similar) phrases: Black Friday and Cyber Monday.Trying to come up with ideas for a new hotel deal to come out with?See what the competition is already having some success with and figure out a way to blow it out of the water.

Keyword research isn’t a box to tick off mindlessly before hitting Publish.Instead, it should be a more comprehensive, consistent activity that guides your next great marketing idea.Use keyword research to continually refocus on what your customers are searching for.Then figure out how you can do a better job giving it to them.


Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy. His expert knowledge on Internet Marketing practices and techniques has earned him the title “Internet Marketing Guru“ He is also an innovator, investor and entrepreneur widely recognized by the top players in the industry.

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