Finding the right keywords to rank for
Finding the right keywords for a content marketing campaign is always the messiest part.
It's the most important part of the process.
There are three factors that play into a good decision here:
- How much traffic does the keyword get?
- How difficult is it to rank for?
- How relevant is it to what I'm trying to sell?
Most people think about them in that order. The tendency is to go after the highest volume keywords that you can reasonably compete for, and then figure out how to fit your product into the article.
It makes more sense to think about the other way round and start at the bottom of the funnel instead.
Writing about something where it makes complete sense to talk about your product, even if it's a much lower volume keyword, is more likely to lead to conversions.
There are more low-volume keywords related to the problems and pain points your product solves than high-volume top-of-the-funnel queries. And they're easier to rank for.
It's a messy process narrowing in on the right keyword because you have to stumble around in the dark and put yourself in the shoes of someone who has the problem your product solves and then come up with ideas for things they would search for.
Then you have to filter these initial ideas by what people are searching for.
So far I've come up with 5 ways to figure out what people are searching for:
- The easiest place to start is google autocomplete and suggested search.
- Suggested search is great for ideas but it doesn't give you volumes of difficulty. If you're on a budget then you have to sign up for a Google ads account and use the keyword search tool to get a sense of the numbers. I always treat search numbers as directionally correct. So if one term has 10 and another thing has 100 searches a month, I don't what the actual numbers are but I know that the second is about ten times as much.
- If you can afford Ahrefs then I use it to look at what competitors are ranking for and see if there are any terms I can compete for. This video from authority hackers does a decent job of outlining how to do this.
- I use Surfer to search for content clusters. When you rank for one term it's rare that you won't also rank for a bunch of related terms. Thinking about keywords in terms of clusters helps you narrow in on the parent term in these situations.
- Ahrefs also has a content gap feature that shows you terms your competitors are ranking for that you are not ranking for.
That's pretty much everything I have on finding the right keywords, for now.