Every day, more than 3.5 billion searches are being processed on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines. To stand out from the masses, make sure your content marketing strategy includes these top keyword research tools.
Imagine if you could capture just a fraction of those searches by predicting which words they’re using to find businesses like yours. While the probabilities may seem bewildering, the good news is: those billions of keywords used every day are tracked, ranked, and cross-referenced by software designed to help you master the algorithms and be found amongst a seemingly endless sea of data. Moz Blog guest writer Britney Muller reviews top keyword research tools to boost SEO rankings when creating new content.
Your Mission: Outthink the competition with top keyword research tools to boost SEO rankings.
Client example | Gregg Ward Group, a San Diego-based management consulting, training, and coaching firm that focuses on helping leaders develop skills in respectful leadership, emotional intelligence, and executive presence.
Objective | Create ongoing expert content on respectful leadership qualities to help employees, managers, and executive management improve their corporate culture. And, of course, boost our digital marketing efforts to attract key decision makers.
First, brainstorm words you think people will use when searching for your products or services. Ask what problems or questions your company solves. Write down all the terms you anticipate someone would use to describe what you have to offer and create different combinations of terms using natural language. This article will walk you through examples of using top keyword research tools to create combinations and alternative words that can result in higher SEO rankings.
Review Navigation, Blog Categories
Now that you’ve got a foundation of basic terms, compare your brainstorm list to navigation and blog categories with competitor sites and other leading industry sites.
Expand Terms with Search Engine Suggestions
Enter one of your top keywords from the above lists into Google. Before you hit enter, check out the dropdown menu of suggested keywords. You can also enter search terms in Bing and review their list of popular related searches in the column to the right.
Now that we’ve explored all of the common terms and suggestions, we have a substantial list of keyword possibilities for future content development.
Google Keyword Planner & Moz Keyword Explorer
Now it’s time to see which terms are most popular by average number of Google searches each month. Several top keyword research tools are available to help you with this analysis, including Google Keyword Planner and Moz Keyword Explorer.
Step 1: Enter up to three keywords and one URL in Google Keyword Planner per search.
Here’s what we entered:
And here are some of the results:
Explore some of the suggestions below your main search terms to get additional ideas on keywords that are 3+ words, known as long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are used to target niche demographics rather than mass audiences. In other words, they’re more specific and often less competitive than generic keyword terms.
Sort keyword results by average monthly searches and try to stay in the sweet spot of 10K and above searches per month with low to mid competition. Those marked high competition are most likely used by major content-rich websites that are going to be tough to beat in rankings when you’re just getting started. Keep in mind, Google Keyword Planner is based on paid Adwords campaigns, not organic SEO, so just because the Google competition rating is high doesn’t necessarily mean the terms will be super competitive in organic searches.
Step 2: Compare results with Moz Keyword Explorer. If you have the Moz Pro Medium plan, you can upload an entire list of keywords. With the basic plan, you are limited up to 10 keywords per search. We entered our top 10 keywords from the Google Keyword Planner results to compare with Moz results.
Moz Keyword Explorer is packed with helpful information about keyword ranking and suggestions, SERP (search engine results page) analysis, and other website pages that contain mentions of your keywords. You can also select “Display keyword suggestions that … are questions” from the upper left dropdown box to get a list of commonly asked questions on the topic (hint: these are also great long-tail keyword phrases).
Check out this tutorial for more information on the Moz Keyword Explorer features.
If you’re more of a visual thinker and interested in exploring frequently asked questions around your keywords, check out AnswerThePublic.com.
AnswerThePublic.com and SEMrush are both great resources for exploring additional long-tail keyword possibilities, so you can refine your search niches when developing future content.
Incorporating Keywords into Your Content
Once you’ve come up with your list of long-tail keywords, it’s time to start writing new content. Remember, creating thoughtful, quality content that offers solutions is always more important than your SERP status.
Your goal is to give the reader what they’re looking for and prevent bounces (people viewing one page then leaving your site). Ideally, you’ll impress readers so much that they’ll link to your article as a reference from their sites. These inbound links (also known as backlinks) directed towards your website are the building blocks to boosting SEO. The number of backlinks your website has is a good indication of its popularity or importance with search engines – and that recognition gets you to the front of the line. Neil Patel gives some great tips on integrating long-tail keywords into your blog posts without looking like you’re pandering for SERP attention on Google.
For more tips on top keyword research tools to boost SEO rankings, visit Moz.com.