We spend a lot of time doing SEO.
We’ve worked with agencies, Inc 5000 companies, ecommerce engines, B2B niche services, and just about every other type of company.
Regardless of the type of company, the first step is always performing in-depth keyword research. Having spent years doing keyword research, I’ll be the first to admit that there’s a lot of science and a little bit of art to choosing keywords.
But there are three main things we look at when we start doing keyword research.
The perfect keyword ranks well in each of these. Let me break them down a bit.
Volume – This is simply the number of people who are searching for this (or similar) keyword(s). Some searches get millions of queries every month. While some only get less than 10, or even zero.
The trick here is to get an estimate of the search volume for each keyword and then prioritize higher volume keywords. The more people that search for it, but more opportunity you have to get in front of potential customers.
Difficulty – This is a competitive metric. You’re looking at how difficult it is to rank given your own domain authority, understanding of the topic, and the quality of the competition. If you’re trying to rank against major educational institutions, government websites, and amazon, you’re going to have a tough battle. You certainly may get there one day, but it takes a ton of time and effort and energy.
We use Moz Keyword Explorer to give us an approximation of difficulty.
For difficulty, you also want to get a return for your investment in SEO. So you need to pick keywords that have a difficulty appropriate for your ability to rank for them.
Intent – Intent is simply a measure of is the person searching for this keyword likely to convert into a customer at some point in the near future? If the answer is no, move on. Although you might be able to rank for that keyword, you’re not going to make money on it. If the answer is yes, then it could make a great keyword to focus on.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any good tools we’ve found that give intent. This is a “soft” metric and one that takes research of the SERPs, educated guessing, and analytics to determine.
The ideal keywords for your business look like the following:
- Enough traffic to generate revenue if you rank (Volume)
- You have a reasonable chance of ranking for that keyword (Difficulty)
- If people find you after searching for that keyword, they are likely to convert (Intent)
Getting those three factors right is key to your keyword research.