Keyword research, perhaps one of the most important aspects when starting out with any SEO campaign / search campaign. Keyword research is fundamental, because, choosing the right keywords for your strategy can mean the difference between failure and success. Keyword research is not just about plucking out keywords that seem like a good match, it’s about digging deep to find out if keywords have various qualities.
In today’s quick tip we look at a simple, yet useful factor for evaluating keyword value.
Most keywords selected for a campaign are done on the basis of relevance and coverage (relating to the product/service/brand). The decision to use specific keywords will often come from search volume, however, search volume alone isn’t really an indicator of value, in fact, for the most part, search volume data is VERY generic.
SO, How do I know if a keyword has value?
Well think about the type of keyword you are going to be optimising for, what do you want or expect from that keyword? more sales? enquiries?. Well, it’s actually very easy to see if a keyword is likely to offer a yield of business, how do we know this?
CPC – Cost Per Click
Yes, that’s right! CPC or cost per click is the amount you would likely pay if you were to advertise for that specific keyword in Google Ads.
So why does CPC matter for SEO Keyword Research?
Well, think about it, if a keyword has a higher CPC cost, it’s because it is more likely to generate ROI. Advertisers wouldn’t look to pay more for a click unless there was a higher potential to generate an enquiry/sale.
So where can I get this data?
Most modern keyword tools now include CPC data. SEMRUSH, AHREFS and other keyword platforms incorporate CPC data. You can also get this data from Google Ads Keyword Planner although you will need an account.
1. When undertaking KEYWORD RESEARCH create 2 groups of keywords (1 core set of keywords – less than 3 words in length, higher competitiveness/keyword difficulty and another set of keywords which are layered long-tail keywords – 3 words in length or more, lower competitiveness, typically lower search volume
2. Only pick 1 keyword to focus on per page from your core keyword list, and a handful from your long-tail list, as long as the long-tail incorporates your focal term or derivative terms
3. Use SEMRUSH’s keyword difficulty evaluation / filtering to identify keywords with search volume and a lower keyword difficulty, this will be easier to rank
4. Pick keywords with a higher CPC, the CPC will vary massively depending on the niche, so, you’ll want to look at all the keywords and get a rough idea of the average CPC, then pick out higher CPC keywords
5. When picking keywords, also look for the long-tail opportunities from that keyword, you can do this by searching Google for your target keyword and looking at related searches, keywords in meta descriptions highlighted in bold (SEMANTICALLY RELEVANT) etc.
6. Pick keywords that show less bigger brands – do a search, if page 1 is littered with big, well known brands it’s likely to be extremely competitive and not something you could rank for in any short time-frame, you don’t have to discount completely, but maybe add it as a long-term keyword.
Keyword Research – Let’s take a look at an example >
Let’s say we run an eCommerce website, and we’re looking to optimise for keywords that can help us shift as many trainers through online sales as possible.
Using Google Ads Keyword Planner for this example, we can see the search volume and CPC data (uk search).
Now the data above isn’t actually that great as the CPC costs across the board are quite low and, for some reason Google has incorporated online sales training which is irrelevant. But, we can use the example here >
So looking at the example above, we have “NIKE UK SALE” and “DISCOUNT TRAINERS ONLINE” both of which are very different search terms with significantly different figures for search volume. However, look at the CPC, we can see that whilst NIKE UK SALE has over 9000 searches, the CPC is very low, why? well, firstly, it’s not “trainer” specific and it’s not really a term that carries any commerce wait behind it.
Looking at discount trainers online, the term itself shows that it is commerce related (discount / online) – meaning that people are looking to buy discount trainers online. Because of the search intent, the keyword has more commercial value and therefore a higher CPC.
Undertaking Your Keyword Research
1. When looking at keywords as part of your keyword research make sure you generate a SEED list (5-10 keywords is usually enough) you can do this in notepad
2. Using an SEO Tool like SEMRUSH we can begin “keyword mining”
3. Conduct the search to begin finding phrase match and related keywords >
4. Export the keywords from both PHRASE MATCH and RELATED keywords into an EXCEL CSV
5. Copy the contents of the sheet into a GOOGLE SHEET, this way, we can work anywhere on our keyword research, we can also merge all of the data quickly and easily>
Freeze the top rows and then delete the TREND column as this will not be required.
6. Now organise the data by filtering > We want to sort by CPC (highest to lowest)
7. Then, you can begin highlighting keywords where the CPC is higher and where there is sufficient search volume. Selecting high CPC very low search terms is probably not a great idea unless the terms are highly relevant and are core for your business/service. You’ll be wanting to find keywords that have at least some search volume (more than 100 searches a month) to get anything out of it.
Below, I have highlighted keywords that I would make my “MAIN KEYWORDS” to optimise for.
Layering your keyword research >
Keyword research layering is important, because, you can combine a core keyword with a long-tail strategy. For example, focusing on SEO Agency as a keyword, we’d likely rank for other variants of the search by default (Keyword association).
Layering your keywords will mean you can have a better approach and content strategy to align
CORE KEYWORD >
London, Birmingham, UK, Top, Best, Local