Keyword research

keyword research

Keyword research

By Niche Pursuits

How To Find Low Competition Keywords And Analyze The First Page Of Google For SEO: Understanding how difficult it is to rank in the top 10 of Google for your chosen keyword is probably the most important skill within SEO.  Unfortunately, it is also the most difficult keyword research skill to learn.

Bar none, picking keywords that are too difficult to rank for are the #1 reason why websites fail. Most people just do not have the ability to effectively analyze the top 10 results in Google OR do not have the discipline to only go after low competition keywords. Luckily, this skill can be acquired with experience, serious study, and effort. However, before you can start analyzing the competition for your keywords, you first need to find those keywords.

Then, I hope to shed some light on how you can effectively analyze how difficult the top 10 results in Google are for your keyword research.  That way you can build a blog or website the right way and start ranking sooner rather than later.

WHAT IS KEYWORD RESEARCH AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?

Keyword research is finding out what terms people are searching for on search engines. This helps you plan your content and rank on Google. Keyword research is important because it’s the most effective way that you can show up on Google. Everything else that you do with your site all starts with your keyword research. Your link building, on-page SEO, internal linking, everything depends on your keywords. This type of in-depth look at keywords helps you find what your audience wants to hear. It’s the exact same thing as doing market research for any business in the world.

HOW TO DO NICHE KEYWORD RESEARCH

I’ll assume that you’ve already selected a great niche and possibly have an existing website.  However, when it comes to adding content to your website it’s vital that you select a subject that you can actually show up for in Google.

So, how should you go about finding keywords for your website that you know your site can rank easily for?  For now, I’ll call this the keyword brainstorming phase. First, you need to brainstorm for keywords. If you’re in the home decor niche, start thinking of things that might be helpful for your audiences. Couches, bar stools, design ideas. These are your seed keywords.

Second, you’re going to use these seed keywords to find related keywords. Open up your favorite keyword research tool. You’re going to input your seed keywords and see what ideas come up. Third, we start filtering. You need to analyze the difficulty of ranking on the first page of Google for those keywords. Let’s look at each of these in-depth.

STEP #1: BRAINSTORMING FOR KEYWORDS

Finding new keywords will help you whether your site is new or old. If you have a new site, you can also use this stage to choose your niche. Whatever niche you’re in (or thinking about), imagine some things that your audience might search for. It could be anything. Fishers might search for fishing poles, hunters might search for camouflage, or you might want to know, where to go after work. I’m gonna use the bars example. Now go to your search engine and type “best [keyword idea]”. I’m typing in “best bars in Los Angeles”. I clicked on the first result that I found and here’s what I got:

keyword research 2

And now we’re going to use this website to get some seed keywords.

keyword research 3

We don’t need to use all of these, just a few. And you can repeat this step for as many websites as you like. You can click on the first 3 results or search for a ton of keyword ideas. Now it’s time to put these seed keywords to use.

STEP #2: USE SEED KEYWORDS TO FIND RELATED KEYWORDS

Now we put these seed keywords into our favorite keyword research tools. It’ll be using Long Tail Pro. I grabbed some keywords and here are just a few of the suggestions I get back:

long tail pro keywords from seed keyword

I got back a total of almost 1,200. There’s plenty to choose from here. You can repeat this process as long as you want: think of an idea (like bars, couches, fishing poles). Use that idea as your seed keyword or search it on Google to find more seed keywords. Input these seed keywords into your keyword research tool. Most keyword research tools are pretty decent at giving keyword difficulty scores. My employee Brady ran his own tests and likes KWFinder and Long Tail Pro. The other tools tend to go too high, low, or just aren’t consistent. If you don’t want to trust the difficulty score, you can take a peek at the search engine results page (SERP). I like to look at the SERP. Here’s how:

STEP #3: ANALYZE THE FIRST PAGE OF GOOGLE FOR YOUR KEYWORD

I first want to point out that I am NOT talking about the number of competitors in Google. For some reason, people still type their keyword into Google and look at the number of competing pages to judge how difficult a keyword is to rank for.  This is ridiculous! Even if you are looking at “exact match” results – you are still being misled.  If you are doing this, please stop now, as this will tell you nothing about how hard it is to get where you want to be, which is on the first page of Google. I don’t care if there are 300 trillion competing websites for my keyword, if the first page of Google is filled with weak websites, I will go after it!

Okay, now that I have that cleared, what exactly am I talking about then? Well, if you know anything about search engine optimization, you know a thing or 2 about how to rank a website in Google.  So, what we want to look at is how well the top ranking sites are optimized for SEO. Some of these things that websites do to rank well in Google are this: Use keyword in titles, build links to the site, overall domain authority, and other factors.  So, these are some of the things we need to analyze to determine if the competition is weak.

GOOGLE RANKING FACTORS TO ANALYZE

If I could blow some trumpets to make you understand how important the following list is, I would.  This is a game changer!

Here are the criteria that I look at to analyze the competition for a keyword:

  • Relevant Content. Is the keyword in the content?
  • Optimized Title. Is the keyword used in the title?
  • Targeted Content. Is the entire page about your chosen keyword?  Or does the page just happen to mention the keyword?
  • Page Links. How many links are there to the ranking PAGE?
  • Domain Authority. How authoritative is the overall domain?
  • Page Authority.  Each article on site has it’s own “authority”.  Is this a lower authority page?
  • Site Age. What is the site age?  Is it a newer site?
  • Type of site. Is the ranking page a weak type of site like: article directories, forums, other Q&A sites, social sites, or other user generated type sites?  Or is it an authority site that’s got a great brand, following and gets millions of visits per month with a great looking branded WordPress theme?
  • Affiliate Sites. If you see lots of other affiliate sites ranking on the first page of Google and you are also building an affiliate site, that’s a really good sign for you.  This means that Google is willing to rank sites like yours.
  • eCommerce sites.  If you see mostly ecommerce sites ranking of the first page, you might want to reconsider targeting that keyword, if you are building an affiliate site.

I like to find ranking pages that have fewer than 10 links or even no backlinks many times.  This is because I go for very low competition keywords. If you are looking at more difficult niches, you may need to do more analysis than I discuss here; but most people will do just fine finding low competition keywords using the criteria I have listed above.

That was a quick introduction to keyword research. If you like this article about keyword research, just like my Facebook Fanpage: The Doan’s Blog. If not, just write me. Most popular blog article: What is SEO?

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