Advanced Keyword Research Guide Including SEMRush and MarketMuse Reviews

Keyword Research is incredibly important for the creation of a profitable website. It is a fundamental skill that the better you are at it the more success you will have. 

To that end I have pulled on every resource/connection I have to create the best guide on Advanced Keyword Research.​

What You Will Learn in This Post:

  1. ​The exact 13 step procedure used by the content marketing service ContentRefined for KW research
  2. The 3 tools that are critical for advanced keyword research
  3. A free KW research option
  4. See how a DEEP expert Ewen does it in a over the shoulder video

​Learn more from Ewen by signing up for his list here!

One Big Takeaway Not Talked About Before - Keyword Competition / Keyword Difficulty is still measured by metrics such as Keyword in Title/URL and Backlink Metrics but now with tools such as MarketMuse you can analytically measure competition by the competitions content score! (I will review this in more detail below)

Ewen is the source of a LOT of the information in this post and is an absolute expert when it comes to keyword research for content sites and his Q4 earnings reflect that!

This post allows you to go beyond the Google keyword planner and dig deep to find the long-tail keyword that will help you find your target audience and win in the search engines

The SEO chat with Ewen also helps reveal how to use the best keyword research tool to develop your SEO strategy.​

Mortgage Crushing Module Learning Outcome

If you are following along on the Mortgage Crushing Competition to learn How to Make a  Website that makes money in 2017 then by the end of this module you should...

Take the top 1-3 ideas you identified using the Blue Ocean strategy in Module 1 and complete keyword research on them to validate if there are keywords that meet the metrics listed in this section​

Keyword Research Procedure:

Save Time & Money Using ContentRefined for KW Research and Content Creation

Below is the keyword process and procedure used for the content marketing service ContentRefined.com. As always you can do the exact same process yourself and I share EVERYTHING but if you want to save time/money and not buy the expensive tools you can have Content Refined create content for your site following these keyword research guidelines. 

Solid and concise Keyword research is likely the most important and crucial process for Content Refined. It’s the second point of contact that we have with our clients, and if we don’t nail it, the whole Content Refined order can feel like an uphill battle.

This is why we’ve spent a lot of time and resources trying to execute the best procedure possible to ensure that we equip our client’s with the best keywords out there for the content they’ve hired us to write for their sites. Although we are always seeking to improve this keyword research process is delivering a lot of high ranking content. Keep reading for details on how to do this yourself using our Content Refined Process!

SEcockpit

Thanks to Ewan, we started using a great tool called SECockpit.

There are quite few things that make SEcockpit different (and in my opinion better) than competing tools.

The core of what I like is that because of the ability to slice into one keyword theme deeper it provides the ability to complete deeper market research and doesn't simply focus on finding 1 great keyword. ​

  • It moves away from the “Seed Keyword” model as you can select appending and prepending words in your search criteria
  • It give you the opportunity to go after Keywords in different search engines such as Amazon and Youtube, which can be super advantageous depending on your niche
  • It provides a comprehensive keyword analysis for every keyword which will give you insight on a ton of different metrics such as
    • Top 10 URLs ranking for that keyword
    • Competition based on page-level metrics like Title/URL
    • Competition based on backlink metrics such as PA/DA/# of links etc

How SEcockpit fits into our Content Refined Procedure

To get into the nitty gritty of how Secockpit works, and how we’ve used it to systematize our keyword research, check out step by step procedure how SEcockpit works

Step 1:

Login to SEcockpit and go to the dashboard and click on the Key symbol to search for your first keyword.

Step 2:

This is where it gets interesting. Type in a Keyword of your choice and look at your options.

I instruct my team to select the Google Adwords ideas that are closely related and to select Append Prepend, and Add Words in Between. This increases our chances of coming across a great related keyword

Step 3:

Then, you’ll want to figure out who your audience is. Is your client or audience based in North America? We have quite a few clients in the UK and in Europe who aren’t looking for North American Keywords because they aren’t relevant the their market. It’s really important to select the right location that will be relevant for their rankings.

Step 4:

Then we have a couple of more search options that we generally don’t use too much unless we’re looking for a keyword to rank in Youtube which hasn’t happened yet for Content Refined

Step 5:

Make sure you’ve inputted your keyword and that you’ve selected your search criteria and then click on Save and Close for the search to begin!

Step 6:

This is where my team sort of customizes things. Our metrics are pretty specific and they are based off of experience. We go after keywords that have 1000+ Monthly Searches and that are under 30% competition. SEcockpit is great for this because they have a filtering tool that will eliminate anything that doesn’t meet our metric.

This metric is simply used because we’ve seen the most success with keywords that fit within these parameters. If client’s prefer to use their own metrics, we will of course abide by that.

Monthly Search Volume Filter: > 1000

Competition Score: < 30%

Then, as you can see here below, we have our comprehensive list of keywords that meet our metrics:

Step 7:

So this is where you need to do some more digging. With this view, it looks like all of these keywords are great, but you need to click on the keyword to view a full keyword analysis which will give you more information to help you determine if it’s a viable keyword for your article.

Let’s look at the Keyword “Charcoal Pills” which has 40,500 monthly searches and only 17.25% competition score. This generally looks like a pretty golden keyword and at first glance it looks like a no-brainer to go after it.

With this comprehensive Keyword Analysis, the top 2 things that we look at is the DA ( Domain Authority and the Top 10 websites. As you can see below, the DA is really high, which means that the competing websites are ranking very well and getting a ton of traffic according to google.

If our client’s site or your site you are building is not already an authority site in it’s space (which in general, most are not ), then it would be a bad idea to go after this keyword for them because their domain will not be able to compete with the authority domain in that space. For example in this case WebMD and other very well known sites in the space

We don't know the secret sauce in the Algorithm that SECockpit uses but I believe they under-value DA and you need to do a manual check on the competition to see that a site like yours can compete in the top 10 (more on that in the next step). 

Step 8:

What we do is take a look at the two lower DA’s and have a look at their site to see if we can outrank them for this keyword.

To do this we generally use the tool MarketMuse to analyze the content score of the URL and top 10 pages we want to beat to see if its a soft market. 

In general we would like to see a keyword with...

  • SECockpit score of under 30
  • Identify several similar sites in the top 10 (usually most easily identified with low DA)
  • Market Muse score under 20​ for sites we think we can beat (in this example there are many low content scores but for sites Google is not going to rank us in front of for this type of search term). 

Based on this analysis there are only 2 URLs in the top 10 with DA scores below 70 and they are both reasonably high at approximately 50. In addition the Market Muse content quality score is definitely beatable but isn't wide open. 

Step 9:

Let’s try another keyword on the list, here I’ve chosen a Keyword that was provided to us by the tool based off of the “closely related words” function of the search criteria.

Keyword: Activated Carbon Filter- which has 5400 Monthly Searches and has a competition score of 27.39

When we click on it for the Analysis, we can see right away that this will be a more viable option to go after than the last keyword as the DA for the competing sites are lower in general.

Here, I have checked a couple of the Domains and I have determined that I can definitely compete with a few of these sites as their DA is low and ContentScore according to MarketMuse is below 20. This isn’t to say that they won’t be hard to beat, but they are not out of our reach and they are a similar site as the one we have. I’m confident that with the use of SEcockpit, I’m able to find the best keyword using its rankings, but also it’s analysis on who/how other’s are using this keyword in their niche.

Step 10:

Now that we have our Keyword (Activated Carbon Filter), we want to make sure that we create great content that is rich with other related keywords and Content Depth. The higher we can rank for related keywords and the more relevant topics we cover, the better our article is going to rank on google.

For this, we’ve invested in a tool called Marketmuse. What I like to do before I assign my content to my writers is do a Marketmuse Analysis on the Keyword and Topic.

Here, I’ve created an Article title using my Keyword - How an Activated Carbon Filter Works

Step 11:

Next, I’m going to take my Post Title and I’m going to plug it into Marketmuse like this

  1. I’m going to plug in Post Title 
  2. I’m going to Plug in my Keyword at the Top as the Focus Topic 
  3. And then I’m going to click the button beside the focus topic box ( It will be an Analyze button before you click it- don’t click stop unless you’ve noticed that you’ve inputted an error)

Step 12:

Now we have our full analysis which will give us a good indication of what the “Market Value” of this keyword is in terms of online content. See below for the breakdown

In the screenshot:

Step 1: If you look at the circled section, these are some key indicators of what your content should be scoring. Personally, I find the “Best Content Score Target” Is pretty inaccurate because I feel as though the “Best Content” is often manipulated. This is why we try and aim above average. In this case, we want to be above 18 ( so generally between 20-25) for our content score with this article.

Step 2: Average word count target is a good indication of how long an article should be.

There are times that I will get back to a Content Refined client who has ordered 8 articles ( who by rule of thumb are 1000 words each article) and I’ve asked if they would rather make their articles longer and fewer ( for example 2 articles at 2000 words and then 4 articles at 1000 words). This is for this exact purpose - to optimize their marketmuse score so that their articles are more valuable in the eyes of google. The longer the article is, the better your article’s market value is going to be on the internet.

Step 3: Marketmuse give us a list of related topics and Keywords which will really help when it comes to assigning articles to a writer. What I do, is just click on the copy button and you can paste the related keywords into the article brief you send to your writer. I generally like to instruct my writers to use as many of the related keywords and topics as possible.

This not only increases it’s chances of getting high scores, but it also makes the article more interesting and broad. With this keyword topic for example, the writer might choose to talk about adsorption capacity as a topic in their article, which they might not have thought of by themselves. It’s just a really good way to make sure the topic is being fully covered in the article to make it a useful article.

Step 13:

That’s pretty much it! You’re done!

Now this wouldn’t be a good blog post without mentioning some of the downsides to our tools:

SEcockpit:

PROSCONS
Provides niche validationI can't copy/paste from the interface... very minor but drives me nuts! 
Appending, prepending and in between words SearchIt seems to be down for maintenance quite a bit
Amazon and Youtube searchIt’s relatively expensive ( This tool costs us about 80 dollars a month to use)
Comprehensive keyword analysis
Insight on competition factors

Marketmuse:

PROSCONS
Identifies low quality content opportunitiesIt’s REALLY expensive ( costs up to $495/MONTH and you have to sign up for 6 months)
Identifies High Quality content in a quantifiable way
Provides relevant keywords and topics to help guide your writers
Provides insight on how to improve existing content
Helps standardize quality
Helps you rank based on relevancy which is compatible with google’s Hummingbird algorithms

In conclusion, with the help of these tools, we’ve essentially been able to create a process that allows us to find the Best Keywords to go after, understand who our competition is, and equip our writers with an analysis of their topic that will allow them to create and submit useful, top quality content better then the page 1 competition.

Hopefully you feel like you understand the process and have access to the same tools that we have to crush out amazing content for your site. If the price tag of these tools looks a little scary to you, you can always save money/time with testing out our Content Refined Service!

For a very reasonable cost/article ratio while reaping the benefits of the tools we use, you won’t be losing! Check out our page here for more details or reach out to [email protected] for additional information.

Free Keyword Research Tool

If the price point of the previously mentioned tools or ContentRefined makes this process a little out of reach there is an alternative that is free! 

SEMRush's "SEO Keyword Magic" tool can be used with a free account and produces some solid results!

The challenge is SEMRush will only generate closely related keywords with the main keyword in it. However, with the filtering options available for Search Volume and KD (keyword difficulty) it can produce some great results.

Other quality tools include Long Tail Pro, Market Samurai (not recommended) and Keyword Snatcher, both can be great but I find SECockpit is the best advanced tool. 

See the 2 step process below to get some solid keywords. ​

Summary

Here are the key takeaways from this training...

  • KW research should go beyond just identifying a single keyword but validate their is a demand for your idea
  • Checking the top 10 manually to see that competitors similar to you are already ranking is still critical
  • SECockpit underestimates DA in its competition analysis
  • Looking at both content and backlink competitiveness is important (MarketMuse helps with this)
  • Advanced tools are expensive but decent free alternatives are also available

Tools mentioned (not all are affiliate links)...

  1. Keyword Research = SECockpit
  2. Keyword Research = SEMRush (decent free option as an alternative)
  3. Content Analysis = MarketMuse
  4. Done for you content marketing service with included keyword research service ContentRefined.com

Special thanks to Ewen for both his help and taking the time to share his expertise in the video above. You can learn more from him by signing up to his list here.

If we have a TON of interest and questions asked in the comments below we will setup a free webinar to answer the questions live. ​

Read More

How To Conduct Keyword Research For FBA Sellers Website

Today we have the next post in the series on How to Build an Authority Website for an Amazon FBA Business. This monster post is a complete A-Z on how to complete Keyword research specifically for your brand

Dont have a website for your brand - Checkout BrandBuilders.io!​

In the previous article in this series, we talked about the importance of developing an authority website to compliment and drive your FBA seller private label campaign.

An authority website gives you more control over your brand, products, and ultimately your sales. Amazon gives you insane reach, and access to its huge marketplace, but your own website based around your brand can drive high value sales that make all of the difference.

If you want to enhance your passive income stream, building a website is the next step.

Keyword research is the important first stage of your website. It will shape the content of your site, and dictate the words, phrases, and content themes that you will use to target customers who are most likely to convert into buyers.

Why is Keyword Research Important?

Keyword research is considered the foundation of SEO and web development. This is due to search engines, and the phrases that potential customers enter when looking for something. A search engine's job is to provide highly relevant SERPs (search engine results pages) for user queries, and your job is to clearly stand out as a relevant match.

Google alone deals with 100 billion searches a month globally. Keyword research allows you to tap into the market, create content based on responding to search queries, and appear higher on results that are most relevant for your product or niche.

Keyword research helps you to gain valuable information. You can find out how popular a certain search term, gauge the interests and user intents of your niche, and respond to them. You can also find out the competition for keywords, and get an idea of how valuable they are to target in terms of both traffic and conversion.

The overall aim is to target the right audience using the right search terms.

A Quick Overview

The process of keyword research is, in itself, not too difficult. There are three major steps:

  1. Create a seed list of potential keywords, based on knowledge, research, and brainstorming
  2. Expand the list using keyword research tools
  3. Refine the list using keyword analysis tools, and by theming your keywords and content

You will create a small sample list of terms related to your product, based on what you expect people to search. You will then expand using tools that analyze search data and competitors. Then you will refine the list to leave you with your best keyword an keyphrase options, which we will group together.

You can these target the most profitable keywords, by grouping them into into themed content silo, according to their meaning.

Software and applications, many of which are free or inexpensive, allow you to make light work of your keyword research, and leave you with nothing much to “do” in terms of expansion and analysis.

Soon, I will walk you step-by-step through the entire process of building a keyword list. First, you need to know a bit more background information so that you can produce keyword lists that are meaningful and valuable, and know how to utilize them to get the best results.

What's Changed?

Keyword research, and the world of SEO in general, has changed dramatically since the early days of keyword-stuffing. Back then, websites could simply place huge volumes of popular keywords anywhere on their site; in the text, html, wherever, and would quickly move up the ranks.

Then came “keyword density”, where keywords were used a certain number of times to try and mimic natural text. What a load of nonsense.

Thankfully for all internet users, search engines now use more sophisticated algorithms to create more relevant and high quality SERPs. Keyword stuffing isn't just useless – it will now get you penalized really quickly. Your site will be seen as spam.

Now, it is all about using keywords and phrases in a natural way. Content should respond to search queries, and keywords should remain relevant to themes and topics. Google understands much more about the meaning of search enquiries, and tries to give the most relevant results to match the user's request.

The implication is that you (or your writer) should now be creating content primarily for readers. There is no doubt about it. Keywords should never be used at the detriment of the quality or relevance of your content and your website.

This does not mean that the use of keywords should be abandoned. They are still very important. Keywords tell search engine algorithms what your website is all about – the themes and intentions of your site, and help to match your content with a relevant audience.

One of the tricks (if you can call it that) you can still use, is to integrate well researched keywords naturally into your content, as well as into other key areas like the content title, headings, image alt tags, page title, and URL.

Never look spammy!

Overall, the aim will be to use keywords and phrases to facilitate a highly relevant and top quality website structure and content plan.

Long Tail Keyphrases – The Low Hanging Fruit

You can't stuff keywords anymore and expect to get away with it, so you will have to choose your keywords and phrases wisely, and try to gain authority in your niche.

When you conduct your research, you will choose keywords according to the volume of the search term, and also according to the level of competition. These stats will help you to determine what is worth targeting, and what it is possible to rank well for.

It is extremely difficult to become an authority for primary keyword like “swimming goggles”, or “goggles”. Difficult, but not impossible. If I type “swimming goggles” into google, the top results are from brands such as speedostore, proswimwear, zoggs and other companies that have pretty much dominated the top spots.

This doesn't mean you can't try to rank for major short keywords within your product niche, but it is likely that you will remain invisible for some time if you don't mix up your strategy. It's going to take a while before search engines recognizes you as being an authority worthy of ranking for the most popular short terms.

In the meantime, you will want to pull in some traffic and sales.


So, how do you use keyword research to compete?

As an FBA seller, it is likely that your product research came first. You found a product that qualified as a best seller, and that you could source from a supplier to turn a profit. (To find out the exact method of becoming an Amazon FBA Seller, see this article.)

Because you already have your product, let's say swimming goggles, you have no choice but to work with the keywords available in your niche.

The answer to this dilemma is long-tail keyphrases, known affectionately as the 'low hanging fruit' of the SEO world. Ripe for the picking, these keyphrases usually have a much lower search volume than major keywords, but also have much less competition, and are easier to rank for.

With well researched long-tail phrases, you can attract an instant audience, and you might even pull in some sales early on. As an added bonus, long tail terms are usually more specific. The user is looking for something specific, and by working with longer phrases you can create content that will match their enquiry closely.

Long-tail keywords collectively make up 70% of search volume. So, while it might seem pointless to target a single low volume long-tail phrase, a content plan which targets multiple long-tails will yield some pretty good results.

All the while, as you rank for more low volume long-tail phrases, the overall authority of your site will improve, and the search engines will begin to recognize you as a valuable source in your niche.

LSI & User Intent

A huge advancement in Google's algorithm over recent years, is Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI).

Google updates such as Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird, have offered increasing sophistication when it comes to knowing the meaning of words and phrases, and matching this with the meaning of a search enquiry.

The bots can understand, through a complex mathematical process, that “swimming glasses” and “swimming goggles”, pretty much equates to the same search.

They understand that “purchase swimming goggles” and “buy swimming goggles” imply the same user intent. “Best swimming glasses for the sea” and “what swimming goggles are best for the ocean” are understand to have pretty much the same meaning.

As another example, the search engines know that when the words “Apple” and the word “laptop” are seen together, the user is nearly always looking for a brand of computer. It will not give you results for anything related to fruit.

The overall goal of LSI, is for search engines to understand what exactly the user is asking for when they search, and to match the enquiry with the most relevant web results. It is the next step in giving accurate and relevant SERPs.

Clever, eh? But what does all this have to do with your approach to keyword and content strategies?

Well, for a start it means that targeting single keywords and phrases is not as important for your rankings. It is now more important that your website be recognized for its main themes or silos.

It also means that you can use related keywords and phrases pretty much interchangeably, as long as they have the same meaning, and respond to the same user intent. It is therefore now best practice to group keywords according to meaning and search intent, and to focus on targeting these groups with an effective content strategy.

In effect, the semantic abilities of search engines have greatly improved. Google now indexes your website according to themes and overall meanings, as well as looking at individual keywords and phrases.

This means that you can gain authority by:

  • Making sure Google can recognize the main theme of your website, via primary keywords that are relevant to your product.
  • Grouping together keywords to create a structure of content around a certain topic or search intent (known as a content silo, which is covered in detail later in this article).
  • Using related long tail and short keywords naturally and interchangeably in content, targeting one theme per silo.
  • Providing peripheral content which is relevant to your overall content theme and product.

The aim is to become an authority in your niche. Eventually, by targeting longtail phrases, you can start to rank for a whole bunch of related terms without even having to target them individually – all due to the LTI of the search engines. You will also eventually begin to see higher rankings for your main keyword.

So, how do you theme your keywords and develop a content plan?

Interest, Intent, and Grouping Keywords

For FBA sellers, the best way to understand and group your keywords and content, is in response to audience interest and search intent.

This allows search engines to recognize the relevancy and authority of your site, and match it with search terms related to various stages of the buying process, which yields maximum impact for sales.

Pretty much all web searches can be broken down into four intentions, which make up a sales funnel: Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action. The further down the funnel the searcher, the more commercial their intent.

Awareness/Informational – These searches are purely informational. The user wants to be informed, inspired, or educated. Searches are often based on the “who, what, where, when, and why.” For example, “Who won the gold medal for swimming”, “What is lavender oil?”, “Can lavender oil be beneficial for skin”. Usually, the searcher has no commercial intent, though they can sometimes be directed down the sales funnel or towards a sale.

  • Keyword Value: Search terms at the awareness level have a medium value. They make up around 80% of all searches, and although they don't often have direct commercial impact, they do help you to gain brand awareness, attract links, gain SEO authority on keywords, and therefore increase your chance of future sales. You can also use your content at a purely informational level, with informational keywords, but drive soft sales calls to action or sign-ups.

Interest/Navigational – This is the search intention that you should be least concerned about for your keyword strategy. If anything you should actually eliminate any keywords that target this intention from your list. Navigational searches involve the user typing a destination into the search engine, out of laziness, or because they do not know the full URL of a business. Although they may have commercial intent, they are have already chosen their destination, and are just trying to get there. Search examples include “BrandBuilders”, “SEMRush”.

  • Keyword Value: Usually very low keyword value. There is a slight chance that you can hijack traffic from its expected destination, but this chance is low, bounce rates high, and in terms of your keyword strategy, navigational searches are not worth targeting.

Desire/Commercial – Here we start to get closer to the money. The search engine user has a commercial desire for something. They know what they want, but they don't know which one they want. Searches on this level of intention often involve phrases like “best”, “comparison of”, “benefits of”. Searches are often problem-based. For example, “what is the best type of essential oil for sensitive skin”, “what are the best swimming goggles in 2016”. “where can I find hotels in Manchester.” The user is trying to gauge more information about the product or service that they are looking for, and if their problem can be answered, they might just get their wallet out.

  • Keyword Value: High. Using keywords at this level of intention will result in more conversions. Your product sales landing pages should aim to solve user's problems, and provide a solution to their search. The solution should nearly always be your product or service. Commercial and informational content overlaps to some extent, and together should form the core of your keyword groups and content plans.

Action/Transactional: In the case of transactional searches, the user pretty much has their hand in their pocket ready to buy. They know what they want, have addressed any problems they needed to solve before buying, and are now they want to make a purchase (or sign up to a newsletter, or use a free service – money doesn't necessarily have to be involved). Search terms may include “buy X online”, “cheap/discount lavender oil”, “meat restaurant in New Jersey”, and so on.

  • Keyword Value: Transactional search terms have a very high keyword value, but are often the most competitive, and involve keyword terms that are tough to rank for. However, you should still aim to target these keywords as part of a long term SEO strategy, and doing so can dramatically increase conversions. Look out for long tail terms that have low competition. They are gold! Always make direct purchase of your item possible on this page, to respond to the user's desire to buy.

Once you have your expanded list of keywords (don't worry, we're getting to the actual method soon), you will group them into the categories of intent mentioned above. You will:

  • Disregard transactional keywords, at least for the moment.
  • Group informational keywords and searches into themes and topics.
  • Identify potentially valuable keywords and phrases on the commercial and transactional level.

You can see here that this creates a structural framework for your keywords and content. Here's how it translates:

  • In general, long-tail search terms tend to be found further up the funnel, especially for informational searches. You can usually find terms with relatively little competition, and use them to quickly rank and gain an audience. Your content can also be tailored to pull readers down the sales funnel with soft calls to action, or lead them to more commercial intent and content.
  • The closer towards the sale the user's intent, the more valuable the keywords tend to be. These keywords usually have more competition and are harder to rank for, but make up an integral part of your long term strategy. If you find a low competition commercial keyword, use it!
  • Use commercial and transactional keywords on your main sales pages. They should make up the “main theme” of your page. They yield a higher conversion rate, and therefore more profits. You will receive backup authority via the web of informational content and related long-tail keywords used in your informational silos, as search engines begin to recognize the peripherals around your main theme.

(So if you are an FBA seller who has a water filter bottle, you want search engines to understand that your main theme is selling the bottles, and that you also offer informational topics related to it. You want to rank for terms related to commercial intent, but have backup from easy to rank awareness searches).

Let's recap. So far we have learnt that:

  • Keyword research is very important for your website page rankings. The search engines need to know what your site is about, and to do this they take a look at the keywords that your site includes.
  • Search engine algorithms are more sophisticated than they used to be, and there are more factors at play. You can no longer stuff keywords and get results. You need to integrate keywords naturally, and refine a strategy around valuable words and phrases that the user will engage, share, and enjoy.
  • Long tail keywords are the 'low hanging fruit' of SEO. They may have less search volume, but they often have far less competition, so you can rank for them much more easily, and start to gain views and engagements on your FBA site.
  • Search engines now analyze the meaning of keywords and phrases on your website, and match them with the user's search intent. They will try to understand what the user is searching for, and match this with relevant websites. This means that you can gain overall authority by ranking for long-tail key phrases related to your product, and will rank for more difficult related terms as you gain this recognition.
  • You should be looking to organize your keywords and content by user intent, and targeting customers at various points in the sales funnel (disregarding the transactional stage). Creating content silos with grouped keywords will help you to theme your website according to search term categories.
  • Each stage of the sales funnel should aim to carry the reader down towards a sale. So, the informational content should link to commercial content, the commercial content to the transactional content, and the transactional to the sale.

The Tools For Keyword Research

It's time to get acquainted with the practical aspects of keyword research, of which the most important is the tools. There are hundreds of keyword research and SEO tools available online, and you might have your own preferences, but for your convenience here are some of the latest and greatest:

LongtailPro: My personal favorite! Enter a seed term, and watch as this software generates 800 more, giving you access to longtail keywords, which you can then analyze search volume, PPC costs, competitor data.

SEMRush: This is one of your main ally’s in keyword analysis. It will give you rich data about search volume, cost-per-click, the number of competitors for keywords, and shows you a whole bunch of related keywords and key phrases. With it, you can gauge the overall difficulty of ranking for a particular keyword, as well as keep track of how well you are doing in the SERPs. It also makes a great tool for analyzing your competitors. It tells you thousands of keywords that they rank for, what keywords you share, what they rank for that you don't, and more. This is one of our main recommendations for your research.

Google Ads Keyword Planner: This tool is an excellent resource for keyword research. Switch it over to 'keyword ideas' and it can suggest keywords for you based on seeds. Afterwards, you can enter a list of potential keywords and receive data about search volume, along with the cost of running a paid advertising campaign – the higher the cost to advertise, the more valuable a keyword is likely to be to rank for. The 'Planner' replaced Google's old keyword tool, and is now much more orientated towards Adwords, but is still useful for keyword research and analysis.

Keywordtool.io: With long-tail keywords proving to be a highly effective approach to modern content keyword optimization, this is a fantastic tool. Enter a topic or seed keyword, and keywordtool.io will generate hundreds of related long-tail terms based on Google Autocomplete. You can export these phrases into other tools to see how they stack up for search volume and competition.

Buzzsumo: Buzzsumo gives you amazing insights into the social media world. Enter a topic idea to get a list of the most shared content across all major platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn. Alternatively, enter a competitor's domain to see which topics went viral for them. This gives you unique insights into what your audience wants, and remember, shares and engagement also help you to rank. It's another tool in your arsenal that can help you to find hot topics and themes.

MerchantWords: Merchant Words is one of the only ecommerce/Amazon specific keywords. Even if you don't use Amazon getting an idea of what people search for on Amazon helps narrow your content focus. 

There are many tools for keyword planning and research, but the six mentioned above will yield more than enough data to provide you with all of the keywords and phrases that you need to formulate your content plan.

With them, you can take a simple seed keyword related to your FBA product or website, and conjure up hundreds more, analyze them, and start to assign them some sort of value.

Step-By-Step Guide To Keyword Research

It's time. Armed with the background knowledge to know why keywords are important, and what purpose they serve in today's SEO landscape, it is time to develop a keyword list.

Create Your Seed List

  • The first job, is to build a temporary seed list of keywords. To start, you can simply brainstorm your ideas. Think of search terms relevant to your FBA product, or the service you provide. Come up with some primary keywords, like “swimming goggles”. Try to come up with terms that capture what your product does, and what problems it solves.
  • Work with the Awareness – Desire – Action model of search intent, and choose seed keywords for each category – informational keywords, commercial keywords, and transactional.
  • Try to include long-tail keywords at seed level. This isn't crucial, as you can gather more later, but they are such an important part of your ranking strategy, that they should be built in from the early stages.
  • If you already have a website up and running, you can use Google Analytics or a similar tool, in order to see what search terms people already find your site with. This can give you some useful seed words to expand on.
  • Use Google Autocomplete to find popular suggestions based on major keywords and topics, or use software such as Keywordtool.io to do the work for you. Beware though, scraping with software at this stage may create overly-elaborate lists.
  • Be aware of the sphere of information and social sharing that exists for your product and niche. Keep up-to-date with news and relevant blogs to keep up with trends, and familiarize yourself with your audience. Use Buzzsumo to gain a deeper understanding of the social landscape, and find topics that you can use for keyword generation and content siloing.
  • See what terms competitors are already ranking with, using tools such as SEMRush to enter their domain.

The overall aim, is to create a list of relevant keywords for various user intentions and topics. The approach doesn't have to be overly analytical. You just need a starting point to expand from.

Build A Keyword List

  • Use your favorite keyword research tool to expand your list, and gain relevant data that will help you to know which keywords and phrases are worth targeting. We use SEMRush, but other tools work fine.
  • Type one or more of your seed keywords into your keyword tool, and set the results to “exact match”. You can enter a few seed words at once, but make sure you keep them grouped and themed together by intent and/or topic.
  • Check out options and filters to choose the market you are interested in. For example, it can be useful to set locations and languages if you only sell your product within one nation.
  • Select your data columns, so that the keyword tool shows monthly search volume, competition, and perhaps other stats like CPC. These stats can help you to quickly understand the value of keywords.
  • You can export the results to a spreadsheet to build your list. Select results that seem interesting, and get rid of keywords and phrases that are irrelevant to your product or purpose, as well as ones which have obviously unfavorable stats.
  • Repeat the process with other seed keywords, expanding and copying interesting results into your spreadsheet. Remember keep seeds in categories to make life easier in the next stage.

Refine Your List

  • You should end up with a list of keywords which are all relevant to your product, and which target user searches at the levels of information, commercial, and transactional. If you kept your seed keywords grouped, then you can now easily categorize them. Create a new column, and note the search intent for each.
  • Create another new column, and call this “semantic groups”. These are topics and themes within your search intent groupings, and serve to further categorize your keywords to make content planning easier. You don't have to try too hard to find semantic groups, but use it if it helps. For example, if you have a swimming goggle product, you might have all of your informational search keywords grouped together, but within this you could have the semantic group that covers “benefits of swimming goggles” specifically.
  • Identify key target words and phrases. This should include some high-volume, high-competition commercial and transactional words, as well as long-tail keyphrases that have low volume but low competition – to gain an immediate audience and gather authority. If you do find any untapped gems, where volume is high and competition low, then target them immediately. Remember that the main goal is profit, so commercial and transactional keywords with good stats are an absolute goldmine.
  • Eliminate useless or irrelevant keywords that have slipped through the net, as well as any keywords that have unbearably bad statistics, or that cannot be reasonably grouped or themed.
  • Remember, because of search engines LSI, you can use grouped keywords interchangeably, and they will be recognized as addressing the same user query. This means that there is less emphasis overall on finding the exact keyword to use, and more on finding the user queries and topics to address. Try to think about the accessibility (search volume vs competition) of a group of keywords, as well as opportunities to rank for single phrases.
  • Based on the research and data that you have cultivated, decide on a balanced bunch of keywords that you think will gain traffic (informational), and which will result in sales (commercial and transactional). Highlight them in green for easy reference. You can also transfer your green listed keywords to another spreadsheet, to use in the first stage of your campaign.

You want to be left with dozens or a few hundred keywords, conveniently grouped, which are all relevant to your product, and which intercept search inquires at every stage of the sales funnel.

Creating Content Silos

With your list of keywords, you can build a truly beautiful content plan based on the fruits of your labor. The keyword groups on your spreadsheet are all based around responding to user intent, and answering search queries at every level. This is perfect for ranking your product.

The actual terms and topics that you use in your content silos should be based on the data and analysis from your keyword lists.

Your next job is to translate these keyword groups into a content structure for your website. Each keyword group will make a theme. Your main theme, if you are an FBA seller, should be commercial and transactional. You want to sell products. You want the search engines and the customers to know this, and so you will use commercial keywords to build relevant web content pages.

For example, if you are selling essential oils on your FBA store, you will have product pages which use the most profitable transactional keywords, e.g. “buy essential oils”, and commercial keywords, e.g. “best essential oils” from your refined keyword list. Ranking for commercial and transactional keywords will eventually result in high conversion rates, and maximum profits.

To integrate the other keyword themes into your page, you might want to introduce a blog. This will allow you to delve into topics around the peripheral of your product. You can describe more about what it is and what it does, the problems that it solves, and other informational topics that are of interest to your audience.

You might cover topics such as “uses of essential oils”, “benefits of X oil”, “essential oils for skin care” and so on.

Your blog will pull in an audience via long-tail keywords, and will also rank for related search terms due to LSI. This can result in improved brand awareness, and also increases search engine authority for your sales pages. In time, ranking for peripheral topics will increase your rank for major commercial keywords too.

You can also use blog posts to funnel the audience towards a sale by internally linking informational content to commercial content, and then to transactional content, taking them deeper into the sales process.

When you come to write your website, or when you hire a writer, you should be able to hand them a content brief containing the target themes for each page that you ask them to write. Each identified theme or topic will have a list of keywords which can be naturally integrated into the text. You can also make the writer aware of the most important keywords and phrases to use for a particular theme – those that are likely to yield the best traffic and profits.

Creating Your Website

A content silo doesn't only refer to the writing and the keywords, but also to the way in which the content themes are structured on the website.

You don't want all of your themes muddled together in one mess of web pages. You want to try to create definition and distinction in the way that your page is setup.

The overall structure of your website contributes immensely to your rankings. How you develop and design your website really does make an impact – search engine bots need to be able to “crawl” through your website, and understand the themes contained within. An easy-to-navigate structure facilitates this.

In the next article, I am going to show you how to register your website, and begin your web design.

Keyword Research – The Final Words

Keyword research and SEO change all of the time. As algorithms become increasingly sophisticated, it has become much more important to add value to your reader, and to respond to search inquires with quality information and services.

Keywords will always have a role in your website, and remain an important foundation that will help you to gain traffic and sales. Analyzing, and grouping profitable and relevant keywords together to form contextual groups and themes, is the way to go.

If this all sounds like a lot of hard work, BrandBuilders.io offer keyword research and ongoing analysis of keyword success as part of their brand building services. They can help you to achieve your goals of increasing your FBA (or affiliate) sales, and developing your passive income.

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