How to Choose the Right Keywords for SEO [2019]

By | August 14, 2019

– If you’re struggling to get
your head around keywords, what are they? How do I use them? How do I increase my
site’s ranking for them? Then this video is designed to help. In this video, we’re
gonna go through a process that you can use to choose the best and most profitable keywords for SEO. (rhythmic beat) (click) Welcome people, my name’s Tim, I’m head ninja at Exposure Ninja. I bring order to the chaos
of digital marketing. Actually, that’s not true at all. In Exposure Ninja I
bring chaos to the order, but that’s another story. Keywords or search queries are basically the things that people search for, really, really important for SEO. In fact, one of the most
important elements of SEO. There’s a bit of a myth going around that keywords don’t really matter in 2019, 2020, 2021,
whenever you see this, but I can assure you that
keywords will matter forever. So let’s go through a process
that you can use to identify the most profitable
keywords for your business so that you can help your website’s ranking improve for them. In this video, we’re gonna cover, understanding your
customers or buyer intent, we’re gonna look at your
customer journey as well and you can identify keywords
at different stages of that, we’re gonna also take a look at how to analyse your competitors, how to use some awesome tools
to find the best keywords and also how to map your target keywords to the best pages for you. Lets go. A keyword is just a search term, something that people search for. A keyword can be competitive,
it can be uncompetitive, it can be commercial,
it can be informational, we’re gonna look at all of these things. So keyword can be broad so for example, the phrase, diamond rings, is
actually fairly broad keyword. There’s lots of possible
intent behind that. That might be someone who’s
looking to buy a diamond ring, it might be someone who’s looking for pictures of a diamond ring, it might be someone who’s
looking to make diamond rings and they want instructions, right, there’s loads of possible
intent behind it. So that’s what we call a broad keyword. Now a more exact keyword will be something like platinum diamond engagement rings. That is someone, usually, I mean, they still might
be looking for a picture, but it’s more precise definition
of what that keyword is. Now platinum diamond engagement rings, two carat, next day delivery UK, that is someone who’s got
a holiday in two days, they want to propose to their girlfriend, they know exactly what
sort of ring she likes, and they know how much they can afford. That is a really, really
qualified commercial buyer. This kind of broad and
exact thing, obviously, the broader the keyword, the
higher the search volume right. Hardly anybody is gonna be
searching for that specific term but the people who do are likely to be very commercial buyers, so they could be quite profitable. So we’ll look at how to target all of these different
variations as we go on. But firstly, the question
you’re probably asking, “Keywords, really?” Well, let me tell you in 2019 keywords are as important as ever. Now previously, in the olden days of SEO, (laughter) Google was really unsophisticated and just saw keywords as
basically blocks of text which needed to see exact
matches for in order to rank. So if you wanted to rank
for platinum diamond engagement rings, two carat,
next day delivery, UK, you would just use that
keyword in its entirety, multiple times on your page. You might even call your website platinum diamond engagement
rings, two carat, next day delivery, UK, and guess what, you would rank
for that term very easily. Google’s more sophisticated than that. Google understands more
the intent behind keywords and how variants of
different keywords work and also the relationships
between different keywords. But I can assure you keywords
are as important today as they always have been. Even if we take out everything, remove SEO completely from the equation, keywords are still important. If your customer searches
for platinum diamond engagement rings, two carat,
next day delivery, UK, those are the phrases that you need to use on your website to trigger
that thing in their head, which says, “Ah, this
is what I’m here for.” Let me tell you a little story. We worked with a client
who sold corporate massage. So they go into people’s offices, and they would massage them and that was the business, fantastic. Right, great, send them over. The trouble was that their
industry term for this is onsite massage. So everyone in that space, it
was all targeting the phrase, onsite massage, because that’s what it is. That’s technically what it is. It’s a massage and it’s
given on site rather than, you know, in the massage’s
office, whatever. So everyone in the space
targeted that term. But when we did the research, we found that customers had no idea what onsite massage was at all. It was a completely industry specific term with no meaning to the general public. So what they’d done there is they’d made a mistake
with their keywords. All of the copy on the page was all talking about onsite massage, rather than corporate
massage or office massage, which are things that actually
mean something to people. So that just illustrates the importance of getting these keywords right. Whatever Google’s doing
with latent semantic intent and all these different
algorithmic understandings of what keywords actually are, just talking your customer’s language is good practise with marketing. And that’s really exactly what we’re doing with keyword research. So keywords will always be important. So let’s look at some quick
keyword misconceptions. Keyword misconception number one is that you’re looking
for the definitive list with your keyword research. I’m going to break it to you, there is no one right answer. That’s good news is bad news. Good news is, hey, if
there’s no right answer, then you can’t be wrong. The bad news is, you’re going
to be constantly iterating your keywords based on the data that you’re getting back
from Search Console, and from your conversion tracking. So this thing that we’re doing today, where we’re analysing and identifying our top performing keywords, and our top target keywords, it’s going to be a
constantly evolving process. So when we’re working
on a client campaign, this is something that
we’d revisit typically every six months to one year, depending on traffic volumes. The second misconception
is that tools and data are your biggest assets. You’ll notice in this video that we spend very little
time talking about tools, and there’s a very good reason for that. Tools can give us data about the specific keywords
that we’re looking to target. But what they don’t do is
provide a common sense approach to the phrases that your
business should be ranking for. And actually this common sense, your brain is the biggest
asset with keyword research. So lots of what we’re going to be doing is kind of brainstorming, having
a look at competitors, yes, but filtering everything
through common sense. If it makes sense in the tools, but it doesn’t make sense in
your brain, trust your brain. Your brain always wins. Misconception number three is that if you don’t target
a particular keyword, you won’t rank for it. That maybe was the case in the olden days when Google looked at just oh, that specific block of words, is that specific block present? If yes, great, if no, not relevant. Now Google is much more
sophisticated than that. So even if you’re not
targeting a specific keyword, the fact that you’ve got
content about that topic or related topics on your site doesn’t mean that you won’t rank for it. So don’t panic. So let’s look at the
different types of keyword that you might be targeting
in your keyword research that we’re going to be doing. So we’re going to have a look
at broad and exact keyword. So broad, obviously,
the really kind of basic head terms and exact to the very specific, much narrower focus. And then we’ve got this kind of spectrum between informational and commercial. So an informational keyword is something where people
are doing some research. They’re not really looking to buy. Commercial is something where there’s a very
clear purchase intent. So what I’m going to do,
we’re going to have a look at some different keywords
and then talk about where they fit on this spectrum. So first keyword that
we’re going to look at, Range Rover, what do we think? Well, it’s a pretty broad term. And it’s also pretty informational. Lots of potential intent behind that. Yes, someone might be
looking to buy a Range Rover, but they’re probably, if they’re going to be
looking to buy a Range Rover, they’re probably going
to be having something a bit more exact, and
something a bit more specific. So that is what we call a
broad and informational term. Range Rover for sale. Now that moves into the
commercial terms, right? So that’s a commercial term,
but it’s still fairly broad. There’s nothing specific about that that tells us that this is a really kind of long tail phrase. Range Rover SVR fuel consumption, right? So this person is looking
for a specific model and they’re looking for a characteristic of that model, right? So that’s what we call an exact term. Now is this person looking to buy? Maybe, but it’s pretty
unlikely based on that term. What they’re probably looking
for is information, right? They’re just wanting a
number from that most likely, so that’s an exact and informational term. Range Rover Sport Dynamic
Black Tan Leather Nottingham. Well, that’s a fairly exact term. And it’s also fairly commercial, because they’ve added
the area there as well, which would indicate that
they’re in the market to buy that and they’re
looking for that model in that specific area. So that’s an exact and commercial term. So what you can do as you’re running through
your keyword research today, you can have this kind of
mental model in your head of is this a broad term? Is this an exact term? And then where does it fit on the informational
commercial spectrum as well? Okay, what does the keyword
research process look like? Well, we’ve got a few different stages. First off, we start
with some brainstorming. This is where we get all of the possible ideas down on paper. The rule that we tend to use for this is that we’ll just get as many keywords as we possibly can down, and then we can start filtering
and digging through later. Once we’ve brainstormed, then we’ll expand these with tools. So we’ll look for related terms. We’ll look for terms that
competitors might be targeting by using tools. Once we’ve done that, we then
start adding some numbers. So looking at how competitive they are, how much commercial intent
there is behind them. And then from that, that
allows us to then begin prioritising them. So we’ve got these four steps. Then just to help you out, because we’re super lovely
here at Exposure Ninja, we’ve put together a
very simple spreadsheet that you can use to start
doing this stuff yourself. So if you go to keywurdz, then you can have a look
at this spreadsheet. So just download a copy or whatever or copy it into your Google Drive. I don’t know how these things work, but you can use this to
go through the process that we’re going to be looking at today. So first up, we’re going
to be looking at keywords and the categorization of them. So let’s start with this
first step in the process, brainstorming possible keywords. We’re going to start in a
whole bunch of different areas, but the first thing
that you can do is start looking at your competitors. So you’re going to go straight to Google and you’re going to start
typing some keywords and you’re going to be noticing
what brings up the most ads. Which are the keywords that
bring up the most Google ads? Because these are typically the ones that have the highest commercial intent and are likely to be the most competitive. If people are spending money
to advertise for these terms, then it usually means that there is some
commercial intent behind them if they’re tracking conversions. So therefore, they’re going
to be profitable to rank for. Now have a look at also when you’re running
through your competitors and you’re looking at
that Google search page, what are the keywords
that your competitors are using in their page titles? So those blue links that
are showing up in search. What are the specific
phrases they’re using, particularly at the start
of those page titles? Because that can give
you a good indication that they think that keyword is going to be really
important for their business. You can also have a look
at what your competitors are ranking for. In a second I’m going to show you SEMrush and we use SEMrush a lot at Exposure Ninja to identify what keywords our competitors or our clients’ competitors
more accurately, are ranking for. So what we’ll do is we’ll
put the competitors site into SEMrush, and it’ll show us all of the different keywords that competitor’s ranking for. So we’re looking through this list, and we’re taking out keywords, and then we’re putting
it in our spreadsheet that we’re going to crunch
the numbers on a bit later. I also want you think about
your services and products, so what are the different
names that your customers have for each of your products or services? And you can think here about the different stages
in the buyer journey. So if we go back to the
Range Rover example, and there’s a guide that
we’ll put links somewhere down below about how all this works. But you’ve basically got
four stages of awareness. You’ve got awareness, you’ve got interest, you’ve got the decision, and
then you’ve got action, AIDA. Now the awareness phase is when people don’t really know too
much about what it is that you’re selling. So in the SUV or Range Rover example, this person might be looking
at best luxury SUVs, right? So they’re in the awareness,
they’re thinking “Hmm, “I might want me one
of those Range Rovers,” but they don’t really
know what it’s called, they might not know which
one is the best one for them. So they’re just kind of really top of funnel informational terms. So something like best SUVs or
something like Range Rovers, when they’re just kind of beginning to “Yeah, maybe, yeah, that
might be quite interesting.” Then we have the interest stage. This is where they start to become a bit more educated, and they have a bit more knowledge about what it is that you’re offering. So here they might be thinking, “Actually, do you know what? “I’m quite interested
in that Range Rover SVR, “that looks pretty funky,
it makes a nice sound. “I think I might go for one of them.” So at that point they’re starting to kind of qualify themselves. They’re starting to get a
bit more of an understanding. Now they’re going to
have different keywords for each of these different
stages, aren’t they? When they’re in the awareness, they’re going to be
targeting really broad, really informational terms. As they start to move
down the funnel though, those terms are going to become more exact and more commercial. So phase three is the
desire or the decision. At that point that they’re
making the decision. They’re saying, “Do you know what? “Screw the environment, forget the world. “Global warming, let’s go. “I’m going to get one
of them SVRs,” right? So they’ve made a decision that they’re going to purchase, or they’ve got the desire that
they’re going to purchase. The final step is action,
where they decide, “Right, okay, here’s
where I’m going to buy it, “this is what I’m going to do,” and they actually do that thing. So when you’re brainstorming, and you’re putting all your
different keywords down, you want to think about the keywords that your audience is going to be using at different stages here. And remember, focus on what your audience is going to be saying,
not what your industry or what you might describe
your product or service as. And if that feels like a
big step, it is a big step. There’s a lot of work that goes in that. The next thing to think about
is differentiators and USP. For example, a differentiator might be that you offer same day
delivery, or next day delivery, or free delivery. These would all be things that people might be searching for. So the platinum diamond engagement
rings next day delivery, that might be a really
good keyword for you. And it’s going to be
easier to rank for that than platinum diamond engagement rings. Next day delivery means that
there’s commercial intent and it ties into a USP, that would be a great keyword for you. So think about your
differentiators and USPS, and how you could add
them to your keywords, and put all of these in a
big, bad, beautiful list. And then you can also look at what you’re ranking for already. So stick your site in SEMrush. If you don’t have SEMrush,
then go to and get a free trial, it’s on us. What are the terms that you’re ranking? Like page two, or page three, that you could maybe push the page one? That you think would
actually be really relevant and really profitable for your business? Add them to your list as well. The next prompt for coming
up with brainstormed keywords is your customers. So are you a local business? If you’re a local business, then you’re going to want
to include your location and nearby locations. Or if you go out to people,
the locations that you serve. The best exercise that you
can do with keyword research is to just talk to your
customers when they come in, or when you’re talking to
them on the phone and say, “What would you search for
if you were looking for us?” You’ll get a whole bunch of
really random stuff, right? And you’re typically gonna
want to ignore the first answer and ask them “What else
would you search for? “What else would you search for?” And get them to kind of dig through until you get to those
really kind of basic, stupid Google searches that we all make. I don’t know if you’re like me when sometimes you search
something on Google, and you’re like “Oh my God, “I hope that no one’s
looking at my searches, “because that’s just really stupid.” I wanted to find the name
of a song the other day. So I was like, “What’s
the name of the song “fat synth, duh-duh-duh.” I got it eventually, but that
sort of useless search term, you kind of want to dig
into your customers’ psyches and just say “Alright, if
you had no idea about us, “what would you be searching for?” And you’ll get a whole bunch
of really random stuff. Another good thing you can do is listen to sales recordings
from inbound leads. What are the customers
actually asking for? Are they asking for onsite massage? Or are they saying “Hey,
can you come to my office “and do a massage,” right? Because that’s a very,
very different term. So your customers will often tell you their target keywords in sales recordings. So, you gotta start brainstorming and sticking all of your keywords in the Bitly keywurdz spreadsheet. So step two is to expand
your keywords with tools. Now, we’re going to use SEMrush because we always do
here at Exposure Ninja. Absolutely love SEMrush as a tool. Fantastic company as well. So you can go to if you want a free trial of SEMrush. Here we can see an example keyword research that we’re doing for the broad term disability equipment. Now disability equipment is
a fairly commercial term. It’s a fairly broad term as well. And what we’re doing here is firstly, we’re looking at the volume and the CPCs. But really what we want to
do is find related terms to this one that we can add
in to our brainstorm list. So for example, down here you can see the phrase match keyword,
so these are other keywords which include the phrase
disability equipment. So here we can see disability
equipment for the home, so we’d want to add that to our list. Second hand disability
equipment if we offer that, then we want to add that to our list. Disabled equipment shops, right? So we’d add that to our list. So you can start to expand your list here. You also see related keywords as well. So these are other terms
which are maybe similar. So disability aids. Disability aids is an alternative way of saying disability equipment. So we’d then have a whole bunch of disability aids phrases as well. So again, you’d add all of
these to your brainstorm list. You can go even further. You can then have a look into all of the organic search results. And if you click on any of these URLs, it’s going to show you all of the keywords that this particular
website is ranking for. So you’re brainstorming list by now is going to be like
100 million pages long. I’m only joking. Only pick the stuff
that’s relevant to you. That’ll keep it nice and snappy. And you can also have a look at the ads that are running too. So here we can see the different ads that people are running and we can see some of the
keywords that they’re targeting or that they think are
important in the ad headline. So for example, disability equipments, we can see equipment for disabled so there’s another kind of variation, keyword equipment for disabled, disabled equipment suppliers. So these might also be keywords that you might want to add to your list. So check out SEMrush, really useful tool. Let’s say that we click
on the related keywords and just have a bit more of a look at that and go a bit further in depth. So here we can see a full list of all the different related keywords. Again, we’re going to
add them to our list. And we’re also going to add in the search volumes and CPCs. That’ll save us a bit of time later on. You can click the little Export button in the top right hand
corner to export that so you don’t have to do it all manually. Who does things manually
these days, right? Who knows? Right? So we’ve got all of our keywords, we’ve brainstormed competitors, we’ve brainstormed different
stages of the buyer process, we’ve brainstormed the keywords that we’re already ranking for. We’ve brainstormed related keywords, phrase match keywords, the keywords being targeted in ads. We’ve got a big old list. Now it’s time to crunch some numbers. So the numbers that we’re
specifically looking at are the keyword search volumes, and the keyword CPC. Now CPC is a pay per click metric. It means the cost per click, so how much people are willing to spend to advertise for that particular keyword. Generally, the higher the CPC, the more profitable that
keyword will be to rank, although not always the case, and I’ll explain why in just a second. Now, the trap that people fall into here is when they start putting in their data, they look immediately for the keywords that have the highest search volume. Because you think, “Well, “if that keyword’s got
100,000 searches a month, “I could get 100,000 people
on my website every month, “yes, that’d be amazing.” And then they start doing the maths about what that would mean for sales. Well the trouble is the
highest volume keywords are often the broadest, so they don’t have as
much commercial intent. Size isn’t everything people. Often, going for a very specific keyword that has clear commercial intent, even if it’s lower search volume, will be more profitable for you, because A, that person is
more likely to be a buyer, but B, because it’s going
to be easier to rank for those more specific keywords. Now the high cost per click generally means that
there’s commercial intent, although it can mean if
it’s a very broad term, it can mean that there’s just
lots of dumb money piling in. So it’s all about the
relevance as well as the CPC. There’s no definitive
formula that you can use that says “Yes, this is a great keyword.” Because like I say, you
have to pass everything through the filter of your brain. Is that a sensible phrase
for you to be targeting? Or is it very broad? So you’re going to fill in
the volume and CPC channels in your keyword sheet. And you can export it all
from the SEMrush if you like using that super thing. So what you can do is just download it, you can use the little export thing. And then you can just get that in a CSV, copy and paste it all
into your keyword sheet so you don’t have to or manually. So by now you’ve got your keywords, you might have even categorised them. You’ve got your search volume,
and you’ve got your CPC. So next we’re going to look at how to prioritise them and are they in your very top priority, your priority 10 list? Here’s how we generally
prioritise keywords. The most commercial
and most exact keywords tend to be the keywords
that you’d be targeting in the short term. So short term really
depends on how much work you’re putting in and how
competitive your market is. But for us at Exposure Ninja, short term keywords are usually the ones that we would expect to see some ranking improvement over maybe the first three
to four months, okay? So they’re going to be the
most commercial and most exact. Obviously it depends on
how competitive they are as to what sort of improvement
you’re going to see. But that’s a good kind
of short term guide. The ones that are slightly broader or slightly less commercial
may be more informational. They will typically be
your medium term keywords. And actually, as we go
from exact too broad, the competition tends to go up, which is a big kind of defining factor on how long it will take you to improve ranking for these phrases. And then the most broad,
the most informational, they are your long term target. So those are the ones that
you’re going to be targeting really over the long term. So here are some quick
kind of prioritisation things that you can use. So your short term keywords are generally going to be the ones that you want to target immediately. So you’re expecting to
see some improvement over the next three to nine months if you’re not doing much work or you’re in a very competitive market. They’re going to have a healthy CPC. So there’s going to be
some commercial intent. They might not be the highest
commercial intent ones, they might take a little
bit longer to rank for. But there is going to be
some commercial intent there. They’re going to have
a lower search volume or competition level, and they’re going to be super relevant. Now your medium term keywords are generally gonna have
a higher search volume. So short term ones are going
to have a lower search volume, but they’re going to
be easier to rank for. As you start getting into
medium and long term, they’re going to have
much higher search volume. Medium term phrases might
have a higher cost per clicks, there might be more competition for them. They may or may not be more commercial, but there’s always going
to be more competition for your medium term phrases, which generally means
that they’re going to have a higher CPC. And they might be phrases
that you’ll be targeting over the next six to 18 months. And then your long term phrases are the most competitive ones of all. They’re generally going to be the broader, shorter tail phrases. Things like Range Rover
or engagement rings. These are really, really
long term keywords if you’re a brand new business, or if you’re effectively a
brand new website, right? You haven’t done much SEO before, then they’re just going
to be long term keywords because you’re not going to rank for Range Rover very quickly. And they also tend to be a lot of informational searches as well. So you can target things
like knowledge base content around those as you start
building out the content on your site. Now the CPC might be
low or it might be high. Really helpful there, right? CPC might be low because they’re informational
research keywords, so your competitors might not be valuing these people as much as they should do. On the other hand, your CPCs might be high because if you’re targeting a phrase like divorce lawyer, London, for example, that’s going to have a massive CPC because there are loads of
divorce listers in London that want to target that phrase. So it’s broad, it’s
informational and commercial, and it’s very high competition, which means that it
therefore has a high CPC. And they’re going to be the ones that you’re looking
for ranking improvement over the 12 months plus. Typically at Exposure Ninja we won’t necessarily be
targeting long term keywords on a day to day basis. We’ll be targeting shorter
and medium term variants, and that will bring us
a ranking improvement for the long term phrases over time. For example, if you’re targeting a term like engagement rings, what you might do is put together a
knowledge base on the site, which is all about different
types of engagement rings and buyers’ guides and stuff like that. So you’re not specifically targeting engagement rings, because
you might be targeting platinum engagement ring,
gold engagement ring, silver engagement rings, the perfect guide to
choosing an engagement ring, but you know that by
doing all of that work, you’re going to pick up better ranking for your broader and longer term phrases. So I hope you found this video useful. Remember, if you have any questions about the keyword
research, process outlined, stick them in the comments
and we will reply to them. Don’t forget also, if you
want some help with your SEO, if you want to improve the
ranking of your website, then check out the Exposure
Ninja free website review. It is awesome. Go to,
and you’ll be able to fill in a bit of info
about your business. Someone on the team will prepare
you a 15 to 20 minute video which shows you how to increase
your website’s ranking. There’s no charge, no obligation. This review is killer, so I definitely recommend that you do it. Until the next video, see you soon.

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