Keyword research is an integral part of a solid SEO strategy. In fact, improper keyword research can result in an SEO foundation full of weak spots. This foundation is sure to crack and will ultimately lead to a collapse of the beautiful strategy you hoped to create. Outside of using traditional SEO tools like Ahrefs, Moz, and Google Keyword Planner, how can you be sure that you’re finding all potential keyword opportunities?
Let’s dive into 8 strategies that you can use for your next keyword research process. Not every tactic will work for all applications so give them a try to determine what works best for you.
Make sure that basic information like city name and zip code is on your website. That’s a pretty basic concept. Showing NAP (name, address, phone number) information is practically local SEO 101. But how can you take it a step further? Do you include neighbouring cities in your content as well?
What about neighbourhoods that people might be familiar with? For example, a local mold remediation company in New York might benefit from targeting “mold removal Harlem” or “mold removal upper east side” as part of their mold removal SEO campaign.
Harlem and the upper east side are both specific neighbourhoods that mean something to the people who live there. A keyword tool probably isn’t going to pick that up. But market knowledge will.
Problems and Solutions:
Think about the problems your potential customers experience on a day-to-day basis. What if something happened to the air conditioner in their home? One person might search for a solution “local A/C company near me” while another person may search for the problem “A/C not working.”
You see how both the problem and the solution offer more keyword opportunities. By looking at situations through the eyes of your prospective customers you’ll instantly discover keyword ideas that would otherwise elude you.
Synonyms are another great way to find keyword ideas. Popular websites like thesaurus.com are great for that. This tactic is particularly helpful if you sell products online. A simple example here is the keyword “french fries.” In some cultures, “french fries” make a lot of sense. In other cultures, “chips” is the right word. In order cultures, “frites” is common. You’re not going to find all of the variations with a single tool but it will be worth your time to understand how your products appeal to different cultures and how they will try to find it.
Sales Calls and Customer Interaction:
Sales calls and interactions with customers are an irreplaceable source of keyword knowledge. Why? Because no other company has access to your information. If you aren’t handling sales within your organization, see if you can get recordings of the calls. You want to be on the lookout for how customers phrase things. Chances are, they won’t refer to things the way you do within your company. We’re often blinded by our expertise.
If you can get access to customers who are new to your world that is often the best. These customers haven’t been indoctrinated into your culture, process, and products or service. They’ll phrase things in a way that is raw and at the core of their concerns. Long-term customers will behave differently. Look at support tickets and in-house forums. Anything you can to get keywords directly from the source.
Hack Your Competitors:
It’s never a good idea to rely completely on your competitors for keyword research. They may not have uncovered all of the opportunities that you will. However, after you’ve established your list compare it against the competition. What are they ranking for?
What are they targeting? Read their service pages, product listings, and blogs. Watch their videos on YouTube. Do you have any gaps in your keyword list? You can benefit from the work they’ve already done. This is as easy as it’s ever going to get.
Search Engine Auto-suggestion:
Using auto-suggestion for your keyword planning is probably not new to you. Simply typing a phrase into Google will return hundreds of suggestions. But how can you level up your autosuggestion keyword research? Try using other search engines to round out your research. Different platforms appeal to different audiences with different intents. Throw your keywords into YouTube, Google, Bing, Pinterest, Amazon, and any other platform that might have your customers.
Don’t Leave Keywords Up To Chance:
What do we mean? Let’s take the idea of abbreviations. If you operate a business that served Los Angeles, think of how many different ways people could search for that geography. LA, L.A, Los Angeles, etc. New York City has even more variations.
We expect that Google is sophisticated to group all of those queries together. And they probably will. But don’t leave it to chance. If you can control it, control it. Cover your most common option and sprinkle in the other options within your content.
Google Related Searches:
Do a Google search and scroll to the bottom of page 1. What do you see? You’ll see a section that says “Related searches.” Typically you’ll see eight additional keywords that are relevant to the keyword you searched for.
You can take any one of those related terms and repeat the process. Within minutes you’ll have hundreds of relevant keywords directly from the company that knows best.
Keyword tools have their place and they can certainly cut down on the time it takes to conduct your keyword research. But they aren’t a one-stop-shop. They never will be. They’ll always be limited by the information in their database. Broaden out and build your own little keyword database. By doing this, you’ll have an unfair advantage over your competitors.