How To Do Keyword Research: Parts III & IV

Keyword Research Parts III & IV: What’s trending on Twitter?



Listen to the ideal audience (15 minutes)

What we’ve done so far is monitor what we think our audience wants and track those results in Google, but we’re biased. I think it’s time we heard it from the horse’s (read: kangaroo’s) mouth. Social media is a very powerful tool, but most marketers only think of it as a tool for content dissemination. By using hashtags and keywords, we can find out how people are actually speaking about what interests us. Ideally this will lead us to influencers or people with large followings and judging by what is said, we can figure out what is interesting to the audience that occupies a given niche.

For example, by typing “kangaroo pet” into the Twitter search bar we’re able to see that there is indeed demand for these words and largely within the context we want to see, not the action of softly stroking the animal. This post by Ann Smarty details some other forms of social media that can be used to perform keyword research, but in the spirit of sticking to a 90-minute plan, we’re only going to focus on Twitter for now.

Searching on Twitter should confirm or give a few ideas that can be passed into GKP in order to add to our list of potential keywords. However, it’s worth pointing out that most long-tail queries aren’t going to receive enough traffic to justify building out a new evergreen page, but if the topic is talked about on social media, it could very well serve as a good blog post. Evergreen content, for those unfamiliar with it, is content that rarely becomes irrelevant with time as opposed to a timely blog post.

Slightly different than social media and Twitter is the use of forums. The informal nature of these tends to lead to questions and answers actually posed and answered by humans, not indexed by robots and spit out by some algorithm; responses here are usually very detailed and highly relevant to a given question. If a question surfaces in multiple threads or is just genuinely interesting, that could serve as the impetus for a new evergreen page or as a blog post. We’ve already established that long-tail is going to be better than short-tail keywords for this particular client, so we need to take advantage of Google’s advances in semantic search by providing authoritative content that is interesting and provides strong answers to common questions asked by members of the ideal audience.

Wayne Gretzky had a famous quote for what made him such a great hockey player. He said, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” If we’re metaphorically always skating to where the puck has been rather than where it’s going, we’re granting other sites the ability to develop authority on a topic before we do. Even if Joey’s site does not focus on a small, but growing niche now, by beginning to blog and write about it, by the time that topic does become a part of Joey’s main offering or it becomes mainstream, Google very well might recognize the site as an expert because it has been writing about it for a while when no one else was. An example of this could be “how wallabies differ from kangaroos” or “are wallabies legal in the United States as pets”.

Demonstrate room for growth (20 Minutes)

So, great, we’ve done our keyword research and feel proud of the work we’ve performed, but how do we know Joey Antipodean will care or even take interest? SEOs often find themselves immersed in their own little worlds so sometimes it can be difficult to realize that outsiders care less about semantics or hunches about keywords, and more about data and easily recognizable figures.

An e-commerce site should be able to provide the average order value (AOV) for a transaction, but not every site, Joey’s included, measures conversions in terms of dollars. In this case, let’s say that is looking for email signups and converts visitors at a 3% rate. We’re also going to assume that five of the site’s fictitious, non-keyword optimized pages hold the number four spot in the SERPs of Google for a couple of search queries.

Using estimated click-through rate data, like the graph below from a study published by Advanced Web Ranking, we see that the number four spot on average has a click-through rate of 6.97%. Assuming that there are 10,000 impressions for those top five pages in a month, 697 will advance through to the website. Of those 697, only 3% or nearly 21 people will sign up and provide their email.

estimated clickthrough data
Read more about this study in Google Organic Click-Through Rates in 2014

This isn’t the best we can do. We anticipate that the keywords that we’re trying to rank for can eventually land us in the number one position. The same study mentioned above cites that the number one position on Google has a click-through rate of 31.24%. Moving up to the number one spot (just a three spot gain) would earn 3,124 clicks across those same 10,000 impressions, which would yield close to 94 email signups, or 73 more signups with keyword optimization vs. leaving the pages as un-optimized. This is the type of data to be highlighted in a keyword research document. For an e-commerce client, we’d focus on possible future revenue rather than email signups.

calculating emails captures

The example of Kangaroos NYC and its make-believe traffic and conversion rate is just an example, but the concept holds true for nearly all clients. Find out your client’s current click-through and conversion rates and demonstrate how that data compares to known click-through rate for SERPs on the first page. Don’t forget, the whole reason for keyword research is to rank as high as possible for terms that drive (qualified) traffic, so being able to show how much room for growth exists makes your cases for implementing changes all the more compelling.

What are your tips and tricks for quick, but effective keyword research?


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