Keyword research is a fundamental aspect of search engine optimization (SEO). It’s not just about search volume or traffic; it’s about understanding what potential customers are searching for, meeting their needs, and ultimately converting them into customers. This article, based on a tutorial by Sam Oh from Ahrefs, provides a detailed guide on how to conduct keyword research that can help increase traffic and revenue.
Understanding Search Intent
Search intent refers to the reason behind a searcher’s query. It can generally be categorized into four groups:
- Informational keywords: These are queries where a searcher is looking to gain general knowledge on a topic. For example, “What is DDR4 ram?”
- Navigational keywords: For these, the searcher usually knows the destination they want to reach. For example, “Newegg DDR4 ram.”
- Commercial investigation queries: These generally show that someone is looking to get information on something that they want to eventually buy. So these will often be comparisons and include keyword modifiers like “best DDR4 ram.”
- Transactional keywords: These show that someone is ready to make a purchase like “buy DDR4 ram.”
These categories align with the four stages of the sales conversion cycle. While it might be tempting to focus solely on transactional keywords, it’s important to remember that by doing so, you limit your reach. Informational content can help build trust and authority, which can be beneficial when a potential customer reaches the commercial investigation or transactional stage.
Generating Keyword Ideas
The first step in keyword research is to generate keyword ideas. This can be done using a keyword research tool like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. Start by typing in a few broad keywords related to your business. Then, use the tool’s features to filter and group keywords by search intent.
The goal is not to find as many random keywords as possible but to filter them down to those that align with your business goals and the searcher’s intent. Assign a business value to each keyword based on its potential to drive revenue for your business.
Analyzing Google’s Top 10 Search Results
The next step is to analyze Google’s top 10 search results for your target keyword. This will give you information on things like content format and help you understand how hard it will be to rank on Google for your target keyword.
For example, if all the top-ranking pages are blog posts, you’ll want to stick with that content format. If the search results page (SERP) is dominated by product and category pages, it shows more transactional intent.
Assessing Ranking Difficulty
Assessing ranking difficulty involves looking at the number of unique websites linking to the top-ranking pages, the Domain Rating (DR) of these websites, and the topical relevance of the pages.
If the top-ranking pages all come from powerful domains, you need to be prepared to compete against these sites. In general, you want to play in the same Domain Rating ballpark region, or be prepared to build more links than the top-ranking pages.
Reverse-Engineering Competitors’ Traffic-Generating Pages
Another effective way to find keyword ideas is to reverse engineer the topics that are driving traffic to your competitors’ websites. This can be done by using a tool like Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. By analyzing the top pages of your competitors, you can find low-competition topics as well as high-traffic opportunities.
Keyword research is not just about finding keywords with high search volume. It’s about understanding the intent behind those searches and providing content that meets the needs of the searcher while driving them toward a conversion. By following this guide, you can conduct keyword research that not only increases traffic but also boosts revenue for your business.