Choosing the right keywords is crucial for the success of any website or blog. The keywords you target dictate the traffic you get, how high you rank in search engines, and ultimately how many people find and engage with your content.
But with millions of keyword possibilities, how do you identify the very best keywords to focus on? The ones that will bring you the most targeted visitors who are ready to convert?
In our guide, we’ll cover proven methods and tools to research and find those high-value, high-potential keywords that align with your business goals. We’ll specifically look at using Ahrefs, Moz, and LowFruits to uncover keyword “gems” in your niche.
Let’s dive in!
Why Keywords Matter
Before we get into keyword research tactics, it’s important to understand why keywords matter in the first place.
Here are some key reasons:
- Keywords help search engines understand your content and determine if it’s relevant for a user’s search query. If you target the right keywords, you’re more likely to rank high in search results.
- Certain keywords have much higher search volume and conversion potential than others. Targeting these high-value keywords can result in a lot more traffic and revenue for your business.
- Targeting low competition keywords gives you a better chance to rank high with less effort. This “low-hanging fruit” offers an easy way to get found in search.
- Optimizing for keyword intent ensures you provide the right content for users at each stage of the buyer’s journey. Are they looking for an overview, product comparisons, pricing, reviews, etc?
- Clustering semantically related keywords allows you to efficiently target a group of keywords with similar meanings and user intent.
Simply put, strategic keyword research is the key to attract targeted organic search traffic. It informs content creation and optimization to rank for the terms that matter most. All successful SEO strategies start with research to identify the best keywords to target.
Outline of the Keyword Research Process
While keyword research may seem intimidating, it can be broken down into several clear steps:
- Brainstorm keyword ideas
- Use keyword research tools to analyze keyword metrics like search volume, competition, trends, and more
- Organize keywords into groups based on topic, intent, etc
- Identify high-potential “focus keywords” to prioritize
- Conduct on-page optimization and content creation to target focus keywords
- Track keyword rankings and search traffic over time
- Refine your keyword list based on performance
Next, we’ll explore some of the most effective methods and tools to execute each stage of the keyword research process.
Brainstorm Keyword Ideas
The first step is generating a large list of possible keyword ideas that are relevant to your business. Here are some smart brainstorming strategies:
- Leverage existing brand and product names, categories, and related descriptors. For an apparel company, clothing styles, fabrics, sizes, etc.
- Look at keywords competitors are already ranking for using tools like Ahrefs and Moz
- Use Google Autocomplete and Search Suggestions to see what search queries commonly start with
- Browse related industry glossaries, encyclopedias, and dictionaries
- Analyze search queries in Google Analytics for your site or ads data
- Examine forums, social media conversations, reviews for common questions and language
- Identify common informational needs or questions for each stage of the customer journey
- Talk to people in your target customer persona and ask how they would search for your products or services
The goal is to compile an extensive master list of every keyword possibility before analyzing the metrics of each further. Cast a wide net here – it’s much easier to cut down keywords later than discover new ones.
Use Keyword Research Tools
Next, it’s time to feed that seed keyword list into specialized keyword research tools to extract key metrics. This data will help you identify the very best keywords to focus on in your content and SEO efforts.
Here are the most important keyword metrics to analyze:
- Search volume – how often a keyword is searched each month
- Competition – how hard it will be to rank for a keyword
- Trends – momentum and seasonality of a keyword over time
- Click through rate (CTR) – how likely someone is to click a search result for a keyword
- Cost per click (CPC) – how much advertisers are bidding on a keyword for paid search ads
- Related keywords – other similar keyword ideas to target
- Top ranking domains – websites ranking highly for a keyword
Some of the best keyword research tools to leverage include:
Ahrefs – With a massive keyword database and highly accurate metrics, Ahrefs is great for analyzing keyword difficulty, search volume, CPC, and more. You can also research your competitors’ keywords.
Moz – Moz offers historical search volume data plus helpful keyword difficulty and spam score metrics in its keyword research tool. Useful for tracking trends.
Google Keyword Planner – Google’s free tool provides search volume and CPC data, along with keyword ideas grouped based on meaning. Integrates directly with Google Ads.
LowFruits – Specifically for low competition, high potential “low fruit” keyword opportunities – great for new sites or pages.
Ubersuggest – Generates related long tail suggestions for seed keywords along with key metrics like volume and difficulty scores. The free plan is quite robust.
Answer the public – Discovers keyword ideas based on common question formats and autocomplete data. Helpful to research informational keywords.
These tools analyze search query data to provide metrics not available in Google itself. Each has unique strengths and overlapping capabilities, so it’s helpful to utilize multiple options.
Organize Keywords into Groups
Once you compile keyword metrics from research tools, the next step is to organize keywords into groups or clusters.
Some ways to group keywords include:
- Topic – group keywords that are related or cover similar subjects
- Intent – group keywords based on stages in the customer journey like awareness, research, comparison, transactional, etc.
- Head terms vs. long tail – separate short 1-2 word keywords from longer 3+ word phrases
- High vs. low competition – group keywords by easy vs. difficult to rank
- High vs. low search volume – separate keywords by amount of searches
- Adwords vs. SEO – group keywords by paid vs. organic search optimization
Categorizing keywords allows you to identify the clusters you want to target more narrowly in your content. For example, you may decide to focus on low competition keywords in the research stage for a particular topic.
Come Up with Focus Keywords
The next milestone is choosing a selection of “focus keywords” that you will actively optimize for and track performance. These become the keywords that really matter for your website and content.
Tips for picking focus keywords:
- Combine keywords from different groups/clusters to expand reach – e.g. a mix of head terms and long tail phrases
- Prioritize keywords that match your business goals – do you want more traffic or qualified leads?
- Focus on keywords your target customer persona would search
- Include keywords that are lower competition to more easily gain rankings
- Ensure keywords have sufficient search volume for traffic potential
- Select keywords that your website can reasonably rank for – consider existing content/authority
- Include a range of keyword difficulties – some “quick wins” along with more aspirational keywords
A balanced list of 10-20 focus keywords is a good place to start. Be sure to track your rankings and traffic for these keywords over time.
On-Page Optimization & Content Creation
Armed with your focus keywords, you can now optimize pages and create content specifically tailored to rank for those terms.
On-page optimization tactics include:
- Using focus keywords in strategic places like page titles, headers, meta descriptions, image names
- Creating dedicated landing pages optimized around specific focus keywords
- Updating page content to include focus keywords in a natural, non-spammy way
- Adding related focus keywords to page URL slugs
- Improving website speed, mobile-friendliness, security as ranking factors
- Linking internal pages with relevant anchor text based on focus keywords
Use focus keywords to produce new blog posts, guides, and other content assets. Be sure to:
- Include focus keywords in titles and headers – but don’t over-optimize
- Write useful, original content that answers searcher intent
- Include related focus keywords throughout the content naturally
- Link out to internal service and product pages with relevant anchor text
- Follow Google’s E-A-T principles – provide expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness
Optimizing existing pages and creating new content around focus keywords signals search engines what your site is about and can help drive organic traffic. But be wary of over-optimizing or forcing keywords unnaturally!
Track Keyword Rankings & Search Traffic
Once you complete on-page and content optimization, it’s essential to monitor your keyword rankings on an ongoing basis.
Analyze Google Search Console and Google Analytics data to measure how much search traffic and conversions you’re getting from focus keywords. Look for trends and opportunities.
Set up reporting to keep tabs on key keyword ranking and traffic metrics. Analyze this data regularly to determine which focus keywords are delivering results.
Refine Your Keyword Targeting
Keyword optimization is an ongoing process. As you track performance, adjust your keyword targeting based on what’s working.
Tips for optimizing your focus keywords over time:
- Double down on keywords gaining traction by creating more content to support them
- Consider new keyword variations and phrases related to the best performers
- Switch focus from any keywords not gaining rankings to new opportunities
- Expand your geographic targeting for keywords resonating locally
- Identify seasonal and trending keywords to capitalize on spikes in demand
- Stay on top of competitor keyword shifts and expanding your reach
- Prune outdated, underperforming keywords that may have declined in search volume
Regularly refreshing your list of target keywords will help maximize your organic search visibility and traffic.
Here’s an example on how to put it all together:
A Keyword Research Case Study
Let’s walk through a complete keyword research process from start to finish with an example.
Say we have an ecommerce site that sells baby strollers. Here are the steps we’d follow:
First, we create a broad list of keyword ideas:
- Generic terms like “baby strollers” “strollers” “baby carriages”
- Styles – “jogging stroller” “double stroller” “umbrella stroller”
- Brands – baby jogger, uppababy, graco, chicco, bugaboo
- Descriptors – lightweight, foldable, adjustable handlebar, suspension, recline
- Retailers – walmart, amazon, buybuybaby
And so on. The goal is to brainstorm the widest range of keywords without limiting ideas initially.
Research Metrics with Tools
Next we take these keywords and input them into research tools to pull metrics:
- Using Ahrefs, we find “baby strollers” gets 18,100 monthly searches in the US with low competition. The keyword “jogging strollers” gets 8,100 searches but much higher competition.
- Checking trends in Moz, we see searches for lightweight and full-size strollers declining, while interest in travel and jogging strollers is rising over the past year.
- LowFruits suggests “graco jogging stroller” as a low competition keyword, among others.
Looking at the metrics, we group keywords:
- Product types: jogging, double, umbrella, travel system
- Brand names: Graco, Chicco, Bugaboo
- Descriptors: lightweight, all-terrain, car seat compatible, sun shade
- Retailers: Amazon, Walmart, BuyBuyBaby
Choose Focus Keywords
We distill down to a target list:
- jogging stroller – high search volume, moderate competition
- graco jogging stroller – lower volume but easier to rank
- car seat compatible stroller – growing demand
- amazon baby strollers – capitalize on buyer intent
With these focus keywords identified, we can optimize pages:
- Create content for the keyword “car seat compatible stroller”
- Optimize product detail pages for “graco jogging stroller” and “jogging stroller”
- Update category and filter pages for keywords like “travel system”
- Create comparison page between top sellers for terms like “graco vs chicco stroller”
Finally we monitor rankings, traffic, and sales from keyword-optimized pages. Refine keywords as needed.
This process results in discovering the most valuable keywords to focus on. Doing appropriate research is key to growth through organic search.
Final thoughts on how to discover the best keywords?
Choosing the right keywords is instrumental to succeed with both SEO and content marketing. By following the steps in this guide, you can discover your highest potential keywords using proven keyword research tools and strategies.
The key steps include brainstorming an initial list, researching keyword metrics, organizing keywords into groups, selecting target focus keywords, optimizing pages, creating content, tracking performance, and refreshing your list over time.
While finding the best keywords requires effort, it pays off exponentially in earning relevant organic search traffic, leads, and new business. Using the right tools like Ahrefs, Moz, and LowFruits gives you data-driven insights to expand your reach.
With a reasoned, methodical approach to keyword research, you can unlock the many riches that Google has to offer. The treasure chest of rankings, web traffic, and profits awaits those who learn to strategically target the keywords that matter most to their audience.