Keyword research is the foundation of any successful SEO strategy. Finding the right keywords to target can make or break your ability to rank highly in search engines and drive qualified traffic to your site. That’s why top SEOs invest so much time and effort into perfecting their keyword research process.
In this post, I’ll reveal some of the killer keyword research tactics used by the leading experts in the industry. These are the secret weapons they use to uncover high-value keyword opportunities and dominate the first page of Google.
This is the good stuff most SEO guides don’t reveal.
Start with Seed Keywords
Rather than trying to come up with keywords from scratch, savvy SEOs use seed keywords to kickstart the research process. These are keywords closely related to your core focus area.
Let’s say you run an ecommerce store selling pet products, some potential seed keywords would be “pet supplies” and “pet care”.
You can then use these seeds to find extended keyword variations and phrases using tools like Google Keyword Planner and SEMrush. This method provides a quick way to build an expansive list of relevant keywords to investigate further.
Analyze the Competition
Once you have a list of target keywords, top SEOs dig into the competition around those terms. Understanding which sites currently rank well for a given keyword provides valuable intelligence.
You can uncover the top-ranking domains for a keyword using SEMrush’s Organic Research tool or Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. Study these sites to identify optimization opportunities based on gaps in how they target the keyword.
If the top results only briefly mention the keyword, you may have an opportunity to create dedicated, in-depth content around that phrase. This competitive analysis ensures you build content optimized to outrank existing players.
Mine Search Autocomplete
Here’s a power user keyword research tactic employed by elite SEOs. Use Google’s autocomplete feature to uncover additional keyword variations and opportunities.
Start typing a seed keyword or phrase into Google’s search bar. The suggested autocomplete terms that appear are directly based on what real people are searching for.
These autocomplete keywords make fantastic additions to your research. They represent search demand from users in their own words. Prioritize these natural language keywords in your content to align with search intent.
Expand Your Reach with LSI Keywords
Many top SEOs swear by latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords as part of their research. LSI keywords are relevant words and phrases that are closely related to your core keywords.
For example, “puppy”, “canine”, and “dog food” are LSI terms for the keyword “dog”. LSI keywords help search engines better understand your content’s topic and expand the reach of your pages.
Free tools like LSI Graph and UberSuggest‘s LSI Keyword Generator make it easy to find LSI keyword variations. Weave these natural phrasing alternatives into your content to hit more searches.
Refine with Keyword Difficulty
The very best SEOs filter their keyword list based on difficulty and competitiveness. Keyword difficulty measures how hard it is to rank for a given term based on factors like existing authority sites competing for the keyword.
Use Keyword Difficulty tools like SEMrush’s Keyword Difficulty score or Ahrefs’ Keyword Difficulty to gauge which keywords will be relatively easy or hard to rank for.
Focus your optimization efforts on easier keywords first to gain quick wins. Then work your way up to harder terms once you build more authority.
Track Keyword Performance
Leading SEOs don’t stop optimizing and researching once their content is published. They track keyword performance and search trends over time to identify new opportunities.
Use Google Search Console and Google Analytics to monitor your important keywords. See which ones drive the most traffic and conversions for your site.
You can also set up tracking for competitor keywords you don’t rank for yet. Monitor their difficulty periodically to find good candidates to target and take over in the future.
To get better understanding about how to do proper keyword research I suggest you check out some previous posts:
My Final Words: Keyword research takes time, but it’s the single most impactful SEO activity. Master these inside tactics used by top experts, and you’ll be on your way to search engine domination.
Get out there and find those SEO-boosting, traffic-driving keywords! Let me know if you discover any other killer keyword research secrets in your journey!