The Painless SEO Guide To Finding Your Best Keywords In 3 Easy Steps
(Video At The Bottom)
Have you been creating content but just can’t seem to be able to rank it on Google’s first page? In this article, we’ll show you exactly how search engine optimization specialists go about finding keywords for content that will help rank on your preferred search engines first page! (And we’ll also give you a few tools that you can use to do it as well)
Why Bother Finding Keywords In The First Place
A valid question. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a never-ending process that is composed of many factors. While it isn’t the only factor, finding and using keywords in your content is one of the biggest pieces. These are words that your ideal client would type into a search engine to find you. The objective is to find these high demand keywords and to ensure that you place them strategically throughout your content as you are creating it.
For example, if you are a dog groomer and are creating an article about the top 10 dog styles, you’re going to want to use some keywords relevant to what people would look up. It’s the difference between getting high quality and relevant traffic and low quality and irrelevant traffic (if any). If the title for your article is “Top 10 Hot Dog Styles”, you can end up with a lot of irrelevant traffic simply searching for different styles of hot dogs. “Top 10 Trending Dog Styles” on the other hand would result in much more relevant traffic coming to your page.
There are multiple factors that determine which keywords you should be using besides double meanings. We’ll cover the most important ones in the next section.
First Step To Find Keywords Like An SEO Specialist
Now that you understand why keywords are important, you’re ready to start finding keywords like you’re a paid SEO expert. The first thing you need to do is decide which keyword finder you want to use. We’ll cover some SEO tools you can use to find keywords at the end of the article but for the purpose of this article, we’ll use SemRush (free 30 day trial).
When you open up SemRush and go to the Keyword Magic Tool in the SEO tab, think of a search term your ideal client would use to find your business. We’ll use “dog groomer” and click search. We can see that this has brought up a ton of metrics on our dashboard that might be overwhelming but it’s actually a lot simpler than it seems if we only look at what we need.
Here are the important keyword metrics to look at for SEO:
Volume – How many users search for this term every month.
Keyword Difficulty – How hard is it to rank on the first page for this keyword
Search Intent – What is the user’s intent when searching for this term. These let us know if users who search for these keywords want information or to make a transaction.
Results – How many search results come up when we search this keyword
CPC and Competitive Density are useful metrics as well, but only if you are doing keyword research for paid ads.
The next step in your keyword research is to click on “+ To Keyword Manager” and create a list. Once you’ve created your list (or make sure you’ve set the list as default by clicking on it), start adding relevant keywords that would be used by your ideal client. We would add keywords such as “dog groomer”, “dog grooming”, “small dog groomer”, “dog groomer new york”(if that’s where we are based), and “dog groomer price”. Keywords we wouldn’t add are “dog groomer california” and “dog groomer salary” because the people searching for these terms would not be our target market.
Once you’ve gone down the list for the search term “dog groomer”, go through each keyword you’ve added and search it on SemRush’s Keyword Magic Tool. The more in depth you go with this process the better results you get. It’s not hard, simply time-consuming.
Make Your SEO Buckets
Once you‘ve been at it for a while and think you’ve done all you think you can do, you can export to an xlsx or csv sheet and import it into a spreadsheet such as Excel or Google Sheets. You’ll have a long list of keywords with lots of columns. We recommend you save an original copy of the keywords list as a backup. Once the backup is made, you can delete some of the less pertinent columns and keep only the ones you need to make it as readable as possible.
We like to keep the keyword, volume, intent, and keyword difficulty. Your spreadsheet should go from this:
The next step is to go through the list of keywords and sort them into smaller categories of common terms. We label them by what we can call the page. For example, we would have one list called “/dog-groomer-cost” and another list called “/dog-grooming-styles”. These lists are called “buckets”. All the keywords under one bucket could be present on the same page.
You will likely have some keywords that don’t fit in any of your buckets. The first thing you should do is place it in a bucket called “/outliers” and keep going down your original keyword list. Once you’re done going through the list, you have two options:
1- You can keep your bucket called “/outliers”
2- You can go back to SemRush and run these keywords (yes, we’re going back there… again)
Once your buckets are completed, you can also use different colored backgrounds to help you identify and find them more quickly. Then you can add a filter to sort from highest to lowest volume. If you aren’t sure how to do this, this 1 minute video can show you how. It should look something like this.
Predict SEO Revenue Like An Expert
Now that you’ve got your buckets, you can predict with a certain level of accuracy what type of revenue content from a specific bucket can get you. This can be done by adding a few other metrics at the bottom of your buckets. The ones we put are the following:
Total Monthly Volume (TMV) → Total volume of user searches for your keywords per month → Use the sum function on Excel/Google Sheets on the Volume column.
Expected CTR of #1 Page → The percentage of people who click on the first search result on the first page. The standard is 40% but it varies by industries → write 0.4
Total Addressable Market (TAM) → The entirety of the users who would open your page → TMV multiplied by 0.4
Expected Conversion Rate (ECR) → The percentage expected to convert when they come to your page. Usually around 1% for ecommerce but varies greatly depending on the industry as well as price points → write 0.01
Total Monthly Conversions (TMC) → This is the estimation of how many conversions you will get per month based on the Total Addressable Market → TAM multiplied ECR
Top Line Revenue → How much one sale generates in gross revenue
Bottom Line Revenue → How much one sale generates in net revenue
Monthly Top Line → An estimate of how much Top Line revenue will be generated per month → TMC multiplied Top Line Revenue
Monthly Bottom Line → An estimate of how much Bottom Line revenue will be generated per month → TMC multiplied Bottom Line Revenue
What is important to get these predictive calculations as accurate as possible is to take into account the user intent when looking up these keywords. That is why we’ve only taken the three rows in red into account when calculating our Total Monthly Volume below. The Green column is what the calculations look like on the back-end while the Blue column is what you should see in your spreadsheet.
These calculations depend on a lot of variables so it is important to take those in consideration. Some variables include the actual monthly search volume could be off or between industries or even location (e.g. rural vs urban).
An SEO Expert's Job Is Never Done
When you are optimizing your content for search engines, the job is never. This process is to be repeated on a regular basis to ensure that you stay at the top of search engines. Trends change. Search intents change. Keywords change. New opportunities are created and doing this on a regular basis will ensure that you are not falling behind the competition (or lose your competitive edge if they aren’t doing it!). Be sure to keep an eye on trends and to adjust your strategy as time goes on.
Don't Want To Be An SEO Expert
As mentioned before, while the SEO process isn’t difficult, it is time consuming. To do a good SEO job for your business, it’s a commitment of about 20 hours a month. Some people don’t have the time or simply the patience to do this type of work and you might be one of them. If this is the case for you, outsourcing is an option you could consider. Whether it’s hiring a freelancer or outsourcing to an agency, there are no bad options… except doing nothing of course.
If you decide to go with an agency, there are a variety of different pricing structures that you can run into: hourly, monthly retainer, or by project. These are industry standards in 2021:
Hourly: $80 – $200 per hour
Monthly Retainer: $650 – $2,000 per month
One-Time Project: $5,000 – $20,000 per project
We wouldn’t recommend you outsourcing to services with monthly retainers charging less than $650 per month because these agencies or freelancers tend to use simple but antiquated strategies that used to work in the past but now penalize your SEO rankings. The saying is true, you get what you pay for. Those charging low fees to perform SEO work also need a lot more clients and need to cut corners to handle the workload and be profitable.
If you would like to hire an agency, we work on the monthly retainer model. Our fees are on the lower end; we charge $750 a month. If you would like to schedule a free, zero commitment call with a member of our team to see if our services are a good fit for you, schedule a call with us by clicking here or here to our service page.
SEO Expert Pro Tool Selection
As promised, here are some of our recommendations for keyword research software. Disclaimer: we are not sponsored by any of these tools and these are our own opinions.
KWFinder: You can use this tool for free but it has limited capabilities. You’ll be limited to a few searches a day but if you maximize them and do a little bit every day, you can get by with the free membership. The paid membership is $45 a month for the monthly subscription (less if you take the annual membership). It offers a solid keyword research tool to give you all the data you need.
SemRush: Obviously we recommend this software as it’s the one we use ourselves. It is slightly more expensive than KWFinder but offers a much larger variety of tabs to work with such as SEO, local SEO, advertising, social media, content marketing, trend analysis, report creation, and a CRM. The membership costs $120 per month, but rest assured, you have a 30 day free trial to test it out (or simply take advantage of its more comprehensive functionalities.
SEOBook’s Keyword Tool: If you don’t want to pay a monthly fee, you can use SEOBook’s Keyword Tool for free.
Google Keyword Planner: Another free alternative is Google’s Keyword Planner. One thing to be aware of if you decide to use this tool is that users have recently started to notice that Google has started to limit the quality and quantity of keywords that they provide and it is particularly noticeable for users who don’t use Google Adwords.
Finding keywords is just the first step in your search engine optimization journey and should be done on a regular basis. For business owners who love the tech side of their business, it’s a fun place to be creative so you get a competitive edge and stand out from the competition. For those who like it a little less, there is no shame in outsourcing.