You probably already have a couple of ideas about how people are searching for your product, service or quality content.
Even if you have only one keyword or phrase, that’s a great way to start.
Let’s use those initial ideas to generate more keywords and phrases.
Think of a phrase your customers would use to find you, enter it into Google and you will start to see related keywords and phrases that might be relevant to you.
Let’s go through this process using the example phrase:
“How to take care of your dog” (informational intent query).
You can see below that once the phrase is typed in Google, we see a list of what people are searching for and even potential content ideas for our website.
You can get more ideas by scrolling down to the bottom of the search results.
When you are on the search results pages, there are several things you can observe to plan out your web pages. Keep these questions in mind:
Q1. What keywords are being used in meta titles?
Q2. What kind of content is ranking?
Are there a lot of images ranking? If so, create an image gallery or insert more images in your content.
Are there a lot of videos ranking? Consider creating your own video or choose a topic that’s not dominated by video content.
Visit a few top-ranking pages and pay attention to:
What is the name of the article and page?
What are the keywords used in the headers of the page?
What kind of content does it include (related to search intent)? A 3000-word blog post, a product page, a product category or a short landing page with a very specific CTA?
Finally, if the Google keyword suggestions and the search results don’t provide you with enough ideas you can use the free tool Keyword Sheeter—it generates more related ideas based on your keyword.
While visiting the top websites based on your query, briefly analyze the types of sites to get a better sense of the competition.
Check the type and size of websites:
Is it a small blog with a couple of dozens of blog posts?
Is it Wikipedia’s article?
Is it Amazon’s product category page?
If you see that the top 10 results for your query are coming from giants like Amazon, eBay, Apple, Best Buy, etc, then maybe it’s a better idea to explore less competitive keywords and focus your efforts building your traffic using several less-popular long-tail KWs.
Free tools to help you grasp your competition's size:
SimilarWeb Chrome extension measures the traffic of the website. If a competitor's website is receiving very little traffic, no value will be shown. Also, these are very rough estimates meant to compare your competition, NOT to make calculations.
MozBar Chrome extension provides DA (Domain Authority) and PA (Page Authority) metrics, that attempt to mimic Google’s algorithms as best as possible and assigns a score to your website or page. The higher the score, the more authoritative the website is considered. Websites like Wikipedia, Facebook, Youtube, Amazon will have scores close to 100, which makes competing with them difficult.
If you notice some websites with a score of 0-30, that’s a good indication that you have a higher chance to rank among them.
Please use this to get a general idea of your competition, but NOT to make calculations. This is not a ranking factor.
Keyword search volume
Once you have a set of keyword ideas, the next step is to find out their search volume, which will help you to choose keywords that have the potential of driving traffic to your pages.
Google’s Keyword Planner can help you find traffic numbers.
Another tool is Chrome extension Keyword Surfer (free).
It doesn’t have the option to bulk check keywords, but it will display search volume in Google’s search results.
Make sure you are grouping similar keywords. Otherwise, you’ll end up with one list containing hundreds of keywords with different intentions and content needs.
You want to keep your content (web pages) focused on one specific set of keywords.
Other tools to check out
Free: Google Trends helps you analyze the popularity of top search queries in Google across various regions and languages.
Free: Answer The Public generates search insights based on your inserted search query.
Paid: Ahrefs is one of the best all-around SEO tools, especially for keyword and competitor analysis.