SEO Keyword Deep Dive Part 2: Analysing Keywords
Understanding what people are searching for is just one part of the SEO equation. Not all keywords were created equal, so analysing the options and using the right words – in the right way – is vital.
Welcome back. Let’s jump right in.
If you’re joining me from part 1 of our Keyword Deep Dive series, you’ll know that I briefly looked at the ‘golden trifecta’ of keywords. These are the 3 criteria that any good keyword must meet. To refresh your memory...
- Keywords that are relevant to your organisation
- Keywords that have a high search volume
- Keywords that have low competition
Part 1 looked at how to research and find keywords. If you followed the steps, you should now have a pool of keywords and phrases. These are the things that either your audience is searching for, or that are working well for your competitors. But we can’t use all of them in our SEO strategy – nor would we really want to.
Not all keywords are created equal. To ensure we’re doing our best to maximise visibility and boost awareness, we really need to be analysing these keywords to ensure they tick our three important boxes.
How to analyse keywords
Different organisations – and different people – use a whole host of different ways to analyse their keywords. Here, I’m going to share some methods that help us tick off the golden trifecta criteria.
1. Keywords that are relevant to your organisation
There are two simple ways to analyse keywords to make sure they’re relevant to your organisation. The first is by using Google Trends. This tool shows changes in search terms over time. It can help you assign value to your keywords based on the time of year. ‘Coffee gifts’, for example, might peak before Christmas.
The second method is to look at cost per click (CPC) bids using a tool such as Semrush; how much advertisers are willing to spend to get an ad click from a particular keyword. For example, if the cost for ‘coffee history’ is high, it suggests it’s a pretty relevant keyword for your industry as advertisers are willing to pay more for their ad.
2. Keywords that have a high search volume
Search volume refers to how many times a particular keyword is ‘Googled’ per month. Obviously, the keywords that are being searched for the most are the ones we want, as they’re what audiences are searching for. However, it’s not quite as straightforward as ‘high search volume = valuable keyword’.
There’s more to it. There may be a keyword with 100k monthly searches – but from a country with a low GDP, so fewer searches may turn into sales. Is yours a new business? You may be better with a keyword with a lower search volume, rather than trying to compete with big organisations on a 100k+ keyword.
3. Keywords that have low competition
Keyword difficulty (KD) tells you how hard it is to rank for a specific keyword. Generally, a high KD rating means that the businesses already ranking for that keyword are considered to be very authoritative, based on number and quality of backlinks. This makes it harder for you to rank for the same search term.
But you shouldn’t be afraid of a little competition. You can still compete on high KD keywords by becoming an authority yourself. Focus on other aspects of SEO, like creating outstanding content with topical relevance. Use quality backlinks to position yourself as a contender for a top SERPs ranking.
Preparing your keywords
By now, you should have a list of potential keywords generated from your initial keyword research. You’ll also have a smaller selection that you’ve analysed to ensure they’re bringing the most value.
The next step? Preparing these keywords for use.
There are two essential steps you should take before starting to use your keywords. The first is grouping them, and the second is prioritising your keywords based on the search intent of the user.
1. Keyword grouping
Keyword grouping means putting your keywords into categories based on a variety of different considerations, such as theme, topic, purpose, and so on. Why do this? It appears that, as part of changes to Google’s ranking algorithm, the entire set of keywords on a page are considered as a whole. Together, they must comprehensively answer a question, so using the right keywords together is key.
2. Prioritising keywords
Your groups of keywords should then be prioritised based on search intent: whether a search is navigational, informational, transactional, or commercial. The best way to do this is to place keyword groups into three categories. These are based on how well they align with why the user has made the search.
Top of the Funnel (TOFU)
Informational keywords that boost awareness e.g. ‘coffee roaster near…’
Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)
Commercial and navigational keywords that support consideration e.g. ‘How to choose the best coffee’
Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)
Transactional keywords that encourage conversions e.g. ‘Buy coffee’
Using your keywords
Your prepared keywords can then be used as the base to create pillar and cluster content that supports your customer’s journey. Broader keyword groups that align with informational searches can be used to build pillars – brief overviews of a specific topic. More defined keyword groups aligning more with the MOFU and BOFU stages can be used to create clusters – in-depth explorations into niche topic areas.
Whether you're creating pillars, clusters, or any other sort of content, adding your keywords naturally is vital. Google’s algorithm is believed to be based on latent semantic indexing – a natural language processing method. This means that it prioritises those pages that incorporate keywords in a natural, readable way.
However, remember that it’s not just your content that you should be adding your keywords to. As part of a comprehensive SEO strategy, you should be thinking about using your keywords in…
- Title tags
- H1, H2, and H3 headings
- Anchor text
- Meta descriptions
- Image filenames
- Image alt-text
Don’t stop there!
As we always say, SEO is not a one-time thing. And that goes for keywords, too. Search volume, search trends, and keyword difficulty are not static. They’re constantly changing. This means it’s important for marketers to review their keywords and assigned keyword values regularly, to maintain a top position.