Welcome to Keyword Research: The How To Guide where we will give you all the important information you need to choose relevant, captivating and ultimately Google ranking keywords.
As an added bonus I will run through how to get and use a free keywords tool you can use today to find the very best keywords for your blog.
There are huge e-books and websites dedicated solely to keywords because it is not only an important topic but the more you progress with online marketing the more detailed you can get with your choice of keywords.
For those of us starting out the fundamentals can be hard enough to come to grips with. So I am going to keep this blog to just the essential stuff.
The stuff you really need to know and more importantly that you can start doing today so that you use the best keywords possible.
Let's start by talking about just how important keyword research is to the success of your website.
This can not be overstated:
"The correct choice and use of keywords
for every single blog you write
can make or break your chances of success".
These words can propel your blog to the top of Google Page 1 or limit your blog to obscurity way back on page 45!
And equally important is that the words you choose must be captivating for your audience, otherwise they will skip past your fabulous Page 1 ranking blog because the keywords just weren't interesting enough.
And you know what this means no traffic = no sales and no income. Boo! That's not what we want!
What exactly are keywords?
Keywords, put simply, are the words that people are likely to put in the search box of Google, Bing or Yahoo. It's those few words or phrases that immediately come to mind when you are looking for something specific on the internet.
Categories of keywords
There are three different types of keywords:
Head Keywords - these are a single word and are a very broad term keyword. Things like cat, juicer, travel.
Head keywords are difficult to rank for because they understandably have huge amounts of competition but usually people these days will use two or three word searches, often even more to narrow down their search.
Because the searcher is using such a broad term they often times don't know exactly what it is they are looking for and because of that they don't make great target audiences anyway.
Perhaps once you get a very well established site, you might look at these keywords, but honestly when you are starting out there are much better options.
I don't recommend even bothering to do research on single head word keywords.
Body Keywords - these are the two and three word extensions of those head keywords.
Let's stay with our cat example, just because I have found some really cute pictures of cats, you will see them below.
A body keyword might be - long haired cat, wormers for cats, my cat bites etc.
So you can see the searcher is being a little more specific, but still for our purposes it is going to be very difficult to rank highly for a keyword like long-haired cats because there are likely to be hundreds of websites out there already using this keyword.
In fact, let's put it into a keyword research tool and see what comes back:
OK so let's explain the results so you know what it is your looking for when you actually start to do your research.
I use the Jaaxy keyword research tool (that's what you are looking at above) because it is fantastic, accurate, easy to use and it's included in my Wealthy Affiliate Premium Membership.
- The AVG column shows the average number of searches for this keyword each month
- The TRAFFIC column is the average number of visits each month you can expect to your site if you rank on page 1
- The QSR (Quoted Search Results) is a really important figure - it is the number of competing website ranked in Google for this exact keyword
- The KQI (Keyword Qulaity Indicator) is basically a summary of how good this keyword is considered - green is good, yellow is average and red is poor.
- The SEO is a score based on traffic and competition between 1 and 100. The higher the score the more likely you are to rank on page 1 for this keyword. So we want to be as close to 100 as possible.
So let's break down the body keyword - long haired cat from our research results.
- AVG: it's got a good amount of monthly searches - 290 people each month are searching for this exact keyword
- TRAFFIC: of those 290 you are likely to get 50 of them to your website each month if you are ranked on page 1. Now initially this may not seem like much but it's actually really quite good.
- QSR: here's the kicker you are competing with 300 other websites for that exact same search. As a new player to the world of blogging you are really up against it competing with another 299 websites.
- KQI: Jaaxy considers this to be a "normal" keyword so nothing to get excited about there, I would be looking for a KQI in the green range.
- SEO: as you'd expect with so many competing websites the SEO of 40 is pretty low, seeing as we want to be as close to 100 as possible.
What I look for in a good keyword is an AVG of over 50, but preferably over 100, a QSR as close to 0 as possible and an SEO of as close to 100 as I can get.
Now each keyword research tool will display these results a little differently or may have other terms but if you keep the premise of this in mind you will know what to look for no matter what tool you use.
Long Tail Keywords - these are the little beauties we are after generally. They are the 4 + word phrases people are using to search on the internet.
Back to those cats.
So you know your audience, we will talk about that below, and you know they often ask about how to deal with furballs that their long haired cats get.
See where we are going with this now?
A long-tailed keyword might be - furballs in long-haired cats, let's see how that scores.
Hmm well not many people looking for "furballs in long haired cats" with less than 10 each month, and once the score drops that low you get next to no-one actually arriving at your site so Jaaxy just gives you less than 10 in the TRAFFIC.
But there is only one directly competing website so you are likely to get on Page 1 for this keyword and as such the KQI goes green and the SEO is up to 88.
But Jaaxy also offers us another long-tailed keyword which ranks much better just below it - best brush long haired cats.
Now one word of advice here this still isn't a great keyword as I will explain in the Important Credentials section below because it doesn't make grammatical sense, but - best brush for long haired cats would make sense and could be used in a normal sentence.
So how's that rate:
So you can see by adding in "for" we now have a keyword that makes grammatical sense, but it has changed the scores. Often times adding to, and, of or for to correct the keyword won't make any difference to the score, but it's worth running it through your keyword tool just in case.
This is now a great keyword even though the score and traffic is less. Google can see through the dodgy use of keywords that don't make sense so it's not worth using one of those keywords.
Now Jaaxy has again come up with an alternate suggestion - best brushes for long haired cats. Actually Jaaxy came back with 20 other suggestions which could all be checked, changed or give inspiration for other ways to use the initial keyword and find even better options with more traffic.
And here's where you start to make important decisions.
Do you go with the keyword that has more traffic but you have to compete against 41 other sites? or do you go with less traffic but only 10 sites ranking for that exact match keyword?
Remember you are only getting that traffic if your website is on Page 1. So I would be going with the keyword that only has 10 competing sites.
You can be fairly certain that those 6 people who have searched this term are in the market for brushes for their cat.
Already you have narrowed down your target audience and you can write a killer blog or review about the fantastic brushes you have found (with your affiliate link included) which are perfect for preventing fur balls in long haired cats.
But before you start writing do a little Google search and see what other websites are on page 1, because they are your direct competition. What we don't want to see are too many of the big players with aged websites that have hundreds and hundreds of blogs on them.
After a quick search (ignore the adverts at the top) most of them on page 1 appear to be affiliate sites like us. Several are fairly short on content, but big on product sales, so shouldn't be too hard to knock one off with a 1500 word page of content and a really good keyword and find a spot for ourselves.
I would be pretty confident of getting a Page 1 ranking with this keyword. In fact a website written for cat owners is starting to look like a pretty promising niche market for my money.
If you are not sure how to write your article check out my tips for writing quality content.
I know what you're thinking "but Heidi how am I going to make any money with only 6 people reading the article?".
Do not worry my friend, there are much better keywords than that available and this is why you need to do proper and thorough keyword research. It's worth spending some time on this.
Plus you will organically rank for other keywords that crop up as you write naturally throughout your content. You DO NOT target other keywords but they will occur as a matter of course. Google will make a connection to other words with similar meanings and rank you for those also.
One example of this is on my niche site I have a blog with the keywords "best horse riding body protectors". Google also ranks that blog for best equestrian body protectors, horse riding safety vests and best equestrian safety vests.
So from one blog I get ranked across multiple keywords with ever increasing traffic searching for all those keywords.
Also, you will end up having say 100 articles on your site all with different keywords, reaching different people.
So let's say you have 100 articles with keyword traffic of only 20 per article, that's 2000 people each month coming to your site.
Once they are there they may read a few articles too (if your content is engaging enough).
Plus you will be driving people to your article through social media (all free of charge).
Once again social media is a topic which will cover many blogs, and I'll save that for a later time, but if you start using great keywords now in every blog, plus make your title engaging, you will be ready for social media promotions when you get to that bit.
Important credentials of a good keyword
Is it grammatically correct?
Your keyword must be grammatically correct, otherwise how are you going to use it in the title and the body of your content?
Often times you can massage it a bit so that you can use a long-tailed keyword that initially might not seem to make sense. Something like "brush long haired cats" initially does not seem like it could work but if you add "How To Brush Long Haired Cats" now you can see it is usable.
You need to go back and recheck your keyword in its entirety in your keyword research tool to make sure it hasn't changed the scores though.
Is it correct spelling?
More often than not if the searcher spells a word incorrectly Google will correct it and give them the searches for the correct keyword, so there is no point using the incorrect spelling of the word as a keyword. Even if you think that people will often misspell the word.
Also, by using incorrectly spelling in your titles and content it makes your blogs look amateurish and well down right shabby.
Imagine if I had used the title Keyword Reserch and every time I used the word "research" it was incorrect. You would probably start to wonder if I knew what I was talking about!
How to find those elusive golden keywords
I will assume you have a good grasp of your niche area, because that's why you chose it in the first place, and you have some idea what your target audience are likely to search for to begin with.
Carrying the theme through let's stay with cats (not sure why I didn't choose horses as that's my niche but anyhoo).
So let's say my niche website is about Caring for Older Cats.
I could have chosen this niche because I was a vet nurse in a former life, I have also owned many cats over the years and most of them into older age.
Off the top of my head I can think of lots of general ideas that would make blog posts and would therefore need keywords.
- they have a multitude of veterinary problems
- they require different feeding to a younger cat
- they often go deaf and/or blind
- they need to be kept warmer in the winter
- you may want to introduce another cat to your family how will the older cat cope
- then there's the inevitable question of euthanizing the cat.
There are probably at least 10 blogs within just these broad ideas above.
If you are stuck for keywords then good old Google comes in hand as well. In the search box within Google you can type your keywords and Google will offer you suggestions on what you might be looking for.
So for our example I simply typed in older cats and you see what I get:
So there are 5 more potential blogs with suggested keywords that can be researched for viability plus a whole heap more that come to mind.
And these suggestions are from what others are typing in so you know people are looking for these terms, that's why Google offered them.
Where's my free keywords tool then?
As promised it is right here. You can use the Jaaxy keywords tool free for 30 searches just put your first keyword search in the box below and away you go.
I have also done a thorough review on Jaaxy, so if you would like more information check out my Jaaxy Keyword Tool In Review blog.
This blog is simply to give you the information you need to find fantastic keywords right now and you can use Jaaxy for free to do this.
If you do become a Premium member at Wealthy Affiliate you get unlimited searches using Jaaxy as well as the other cool features which you have to pay for if you are not a member.
It will end up saving you about $50 per month and as a WA member you can upgrade to Jaaxy Pro for only $19 per month, but you don't have to because you get all the searches you want for free.
OK that's it from me for now on keyword research.
Don't waste your time writing blogs without doing thorough keyword research beforehand. You want to be on Page 1 of Google, Bing and Yahoo so take all the guesswork out of it and start using quality long-tailed keywords now.
If you feel you now have a handle on the basics and you are after Advanced Keyword Research Tips I have included a video from the chaps at Backlinko.
Brian Dean is an absolute super-star and you can get some extra tips in the video below:
Any questions? Pop them in the comment box and I will be glad to help you out.
Thanks for the article, it was a detailed look into how keywords work. But I have a question related to it. How does google, or any search engine for that matter, distinquish between head, body and long tail keywords?
What i mean is if you have both a head and body keyword in your long-tail keyword would the search result show all the sites with any of the 3 versions of the keyword or would it prioritize the sites with the exact matching long tail keyword? All other factors, domain authority ect being the same. Enjoyed reading the article.
Google may rank your site for the head, body and long tail keyword IF you have enough authority. For new sites though it is preferable to try to rank for the long tail keyword as competing against 300 other sites hoping to get ranked for a body or head keyword is just too difficult.
The other factor we haven’t spoken about is Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) which is an advanced algorithm which looks at all the words and content in your site and Google makes a determination about how relevant your post is to the search term someone has typed in.
This means you might get ranked for a head or body keyword that’s not even in your title!
The algorithms being used get cleverer every day so write quality content aim at helping your readers and write naturally and you will be using keywords relevant to the topic and won’t get penalised if Google does an algorithm update as they do so regularly.
Hope this help.
Thanks for the refresher course. I appreciate the time you took to document this topic and freely share Online. I have been using Jaaxy and I absolutely enjoy using the software. It’s great news that with premium membership one can make unlimited search.
The video offers a lot of new information for me and so I have saved for later reference. Watching the video feels like a one hour class in a masters program, for which I am grateful.
If you stop writing for say a period of two (2) months, will this change your page rankings? What about advertisements. I know people pay to advertise their websites. Will this take preference over google ranking as number 1, a website that is not paying for advertisements?
Not regularly producing blogs for your site can change your page rankings. There will be other blogs appearing that could knock you off your ranking and Google likes to see regular fresh content being added to sites.
Remember Google’s main aim is to provide great content that their searchers want to see so if they think a site is old and no longer current you are less likely to rank it.
Usually the first 3 – 4 results on a search will be adverts. It does say AD in a little square and many people will actually skip over those because of that. No-one wants to feel like they are being sold. As long as you are on page 1 you have as much chance of great click through being position #10 as position #1.
A really great attention grabbing header will mean people click yours instead of the one above or below.
Hope that helps and thank you for stopping by for a read.
I am a newbie at affiliate marketing, I have spent a few weeks trying to figure out how this thing about online business works. There are plenty of things that I still do not understand. But thanks for explaining me the concept about keywords and how to use jaaxy. I could finally understand everything.
Thank you so much!
Really glad to be able to help Fredery. It can seem complicated at first and a lot to consider every time you do keyword research but after a little while it becomes second nature and you will get a feel for what sort of keywords will be great ones. It does become quite quick and easy.
It is worth spending the time on good research because it takes as long to write a blog that’s not going to rank as it does to write one that will and an excellent accompanying keyword will make all the difference to your blogs.
I have been know to write a blog without a great keyword very occasionally if I really want to use the title and it’s something I really want on my site regardless of how it ranks. But not very often!
I am so grateful that I found your article, because, I am discovering the blogging environment and affiliate marketing.
I am a newbie and that’s nice that you gave good example about the keywords.
It is one of my difficulties, because, English is my second language and when I’m talking with people, they don’t always understand because of my translation. Sometime, I do not use the proper way it should be say, and in my writing it’s the same. With practice I know I will be good.
I know I’m not grammatically correct in my writing and Im worries that it look immature. I will read other article from you like: my tips for writing quality content. I will read other to, just to have a better writing because I know that I can change the course of my life with my words 🙂
Hi Mathieu your English is very good, please do not worry about how it will come across in your blog. You being authentically yourself is what matters most, you might find many of your visitors find it endearing. Don’t change yourself, draw the people to your site that will appreciate you for your honesty and your ability to help them.
You might also enjoy my blog on Personal Branding – What Makes You Unique?.
As you say practice makes perfect and the more you blog the better you will become. My very best wishes to you with your online business.
Thanks, that is some very in depth info on keywords and is making me rethink ones i’ve just added to my site. How long have you been blogging? I know the WA training doesn’t say what you’re saying, just to get a keyword with a ‘great’ KQI.I’ll see like 179 websites i’d be competing with, and thinking, boy i’m going to have to be incredibly good at getting myself situated on page one of a keyword search, what you are saying makes so much more sense.
The KQI is not the only think to think about when it comes to the keyword results. Never just use a keyword because it had gone green and says Great in the KQI column. I wouldn’t go anywhere near a keyword with a 179 competing websites – too hard!
The number of competing websites is so very important. I try to keep it below 100 but definitely as low as possible. I have been known to try for 30 – 60 minutes all sorts of variations of a keyword to get that score down to below 20 if at all possible especially with a young site.
Once your site is more established you can try for the higher traffic keywords which will usually have more competing websites also, but when you start out the main aim needs to be to get that spot on Google’s Page 1.
Hope this helps to clarify and thank you for your comment Zardozmania.
Wow, I thought I already knew more about keywords, but your article today has taught me a lot. In fact. All I knew was long tail keywords. I never knew about the term, head and body keywords. I do agree with you 100% that the type of keywords chosen, will directly affect your rankings, as to whether you can get on page one of Google or not.
Also, not just that but how captivating your Keyword title is will determine the Click Through Rate you get. And that really make sense. I usually go for long tail keywords with low competition. Because in this way. I easily get to Google’s Page One without much difficulties since your competitors are not many.
I will not go for a keyword with over 600 traffic where the competition is over 60. Because you will not get it easy, especially when your competitors have more authority with Google than you’re. I will rather go for the one with about 120 traffic and less than 20 competition, which will be more easier to rank for.
Jaaxy has been my support all the time for finding the best keywords and so I do recommend it to anyone who seriously need a good keyword research tool. It will really be of much help to them. Thanks for your lively article.
Most definitely click through rate is another crucial element and I think worthy of a blog all on it’s own Stephen. First you need a great keyword for SEO but then you can add “power words” into your titles to attract attention and get that click through.
Power words are words things like – Extreme, Huge, Excruciating, Beautiful, Phenomenal. Words that grab your attention and make you want to learn more.
You can also get ranked for multiple keywords within your article so the title keyword is not the be all and and all. We need to remember to write for our audience also, not keyword stuff throughout the article just to try and get ranked.
Jaaxy is a great, easy to use tool and is definitely my go to for research.
Thanks for stopping by for a read and for your comment.
I have my own website and I’m working really hard to improve my website day by day. Being in affiliate marketing for three months has taught me that keywords are one of the important aspect of that.
This article explained me a lot of things I did not know about key word researches. I went through the whole article and every single information for really useful and something new for me.
Thank you for sharing this with me.
Glad you enjoyed the blog Sujandar and more importantly you got something out of it. I love keyword research and the thrill of finding a really good keyword is out of this world. I get quite pumped about writing a blog when I know I’ve got a killer keyword to go with it.
Best wishes on your affiliate marketing site and here’s to many great keywords in your future.