Anyone who knows digital marketing knows the power of choosing the best keywords for SEO and search related marketing as well.

Here’s the truth, whether you are trying to elicit organic growth by SEO, or optimize your paid media and advertisements, keywords are a detrimental part of the puzzle to do either of these things.

Without keyword research, you’ll miss out on plenty of opportunities fro growth, despite whether you change the nature of your content or not!

For example, optimizing the same piece of content for a slight variation of a keyword can make a world of difference in terms of traffic and overall content “success”, despite whether the keywords actual meaning or connotation changes at all.

It’s the difference between optimizing an article for “Tickets for baseball” v.s. “Baseball tickets.”

The meaning is absolutely the same, but “baseball tickets” gets 2,627 searches and “Tickets for baseball” gets less than 200.

Overall, today i’m going to describe the best ways to optimize for keywords based on some simple tracking and competitive analyses, so let’s dive in!

What Are Keywords

What Are Keywords

Real quick, Keywords are generally defined as a “term that captures the essence of the topic of a document.” – Wikipedia

Essentially, in terms of SEO, keywords help google better relate your content to a searchers search query.

Put simply, when google knows what keywords you use (and use correctly) then they are more likely to place your content or websites in front of more searchers and higher in search results, which results in more clicks and engagement.

… and often, sales as well.

Think about this, how often do you travel to the second page of google? Probably not often. That’s why being high-up in search results is amazing for the performance of a website or online presence.

According to this website (and a study by Backlinko) only 0.78% of Google searchers click on results from the second page.

That’s crazy low.

This is why keywords are so important. And choosing the best ones, and using them effectively, can be life or death for the content marketing of a business.

Now, let’s dive into the best tips when doing keyword research!

Step 1: Identify Broad Keywords

Step 1: Identify Broad Keywords

Broad keywords are the kwywords that define your niche and main competition.

They are VERY generic, very broad (hence the name), and likely very competitive to optimize for.

But, the reason you want to define these broad words is so that you can begin with a stepping stone to niche your products or services.

For example, if you are selling muffins, then your broad keywords are likely going to include “muffins, bakery, pastry” and more similar over-arching terms.

From here, we can begin to define what TYPES of service or products that you offer to further niche your audience in search results and gain more relevant and interested traffic to your blog or website.

Step 2: Competitive Analysis

Step 2: Competitive Analysis

Competitive analysis can be tricky, especially when trying to define who your ACTUAL competitors are.

It’s easy to assume that everyone that sells similar items to yours are your competitors, but this may not be the case.

Take the bakery that sells fresh muffins that we mentioned earlier. Do you think their competitors include another bakery across the country?

Probably not, even though they sell the same product, fresh muffins are usually bought locally, therefore leaving the competition to lie in the local sphere of influence.

Your competitive analysis needs to define competitors on three main factors.

Factor 1: Their Target Market

If the audience they try to reach is similar to yours, then they are taking money that could potentially be yours as well, just keep in mind that this only works when you include factor 2…

Factor 2: Their Offer

If the competitors are targeting the same audience, with a product or service that solves the SAME PROBLEM, then they are direct competitors in the sense of market share.

Here’s an example, let’s say that a coffee shop also targets the early-morning risers that the muffin shop does, but they solve a different problem (Coffee not muffins). In this case, the coffee shop is not in direct competition, and may actually be open for collaboration with the muffin shop.

Factor 3: Location

For a competitor to be in direct competition with you, they must be able to solve a problem in the same location that you do.

This is becoming increasingly competitive due to the widespread fulfillment of online sales and marketing. More people can have a product shipped to anywhere than ever before.

That being said, certain industries thrive in a certain SOI (Sphere of Influence).

muffin shops that sell fresh muffins obviously can’t ship them over long distances. Therefore reducing their competitors to only local ranges.

With these simple characteristics of true competitors, you can now begin to narrow down who you are actually competing against and begin your keyword analysis of them.

Begin by searching for those “broad” keywords we created earlier, them weed out the competition into your true competitors.

After you’e done this, take the urls and plug them into some sites like AHREFS or SEMRUSH to begin defining which keywords they are currently ranking for.

A good way to do this is to define the search on these keyword tracking tools by the popularity of your competitors pages.

By doing this, you will not only see which pages on your competitors site gains the most traffic, but also the main keywords they use on that page!

Generally, by this point, if the content on your competitor’s website is thin, you can easily outrank them by creating higher quality content for Google to present to searchers based on the keywords that are performing well on their website.

Step 3: Use Keyword Tracking Tools

Step 3: Use Keyword Tracking Tools

The last step I’m going to mention today is to use dedicated keyword tracking tools to find the level of competition and search volume for the keywords you choose to target.

Sites like WordTracker and many others (just do a quick Google search) provide free tracking tools for keyword research that include search volume per month and even competitive analysis built-in on a scale from (High=Most competition, to Low= Least competition).

For best results, try to target keywords with medium competition, but more focused or relevant searches!

As a general rule, the more search volume a keyword has, the more competition you will have to face when creating content or advertising.

Conclusion

All in all, with these tips you can begin tracking and finding the best keywords to optimize your site and content for!

Keep in mind that SEO takes time to develop well, just be sure to keep consistency in posting and maintain relevant keyword content so that your site is easily scan-able and indexed by google as a specialized and consistent brand.

This further ensures that google considers your site quality and relevant to show to searchers.

Thanks for reading!
Work With Austin

-Austin Denison is a management consultant and coach from Southern California and founder/CEO of Denison Success Systems LLC. He is the author of The Essential Change Management Guidebook: Master The Art of Organizational Change as well as The Potential Dichotomy: The Philosophy of a Fulfilling Life, and, the Best-Selling book, KICK*SS Content Marketing, How to Boost Your Brand and Gather a Following.