Estimated reading time: 28 minutes
Most blogs will drive through a significant amount of their website traffic via organic search. Actually carrying out keyword research for blogs can be a tricky thing to do. The sheer scale of keywords that you need to look at can be a challenge in itself; not to mention the fact that blogs can span over many different genres and topics.
Within the below video, I’ve shared my full process for carrying out extensive keyword research for blogs, along with all the different tools that I use (both free and paid).
Hi, this is Matt from Find My Blog Way. I’m going to show you how to carry out keyword analysis in the same way that I do so that you can pull off a huge amount of keywords that you can then tack on your website to bring through traffic. Now, this can be in the form of long tail keywords, so much more specific query-related stuff, or we could be looking at some more short tail stuff. The example I’m going to use is my own travel blog, so if you own a travel blog, then you might find this particularly useful. But if you don’t, it doesn’t matter at all, because it’s going to be really transferable. I’m going to talk you through some of the tools that I’m going to use for this and also then through the exact processes.
The first tool that many of you may be already familiar with is Google Keyword Planner. This is just within AdWords and is completely free tool to use. The second tool that I’m going to show you today is Keyword Snatcher Tool. This is something that I’ve been using recently and it is pretty awesome for generating new keyword ideas. On top of this, which is kind of an alternative to Keyword Snatcher, is ScrapeBox. Some of you may be aware of ScrapeBox; some of you may not. I’ll talk to you briefly about how you can use that for keyword analysis. And then, finally, is Ubersuggest.org, a free tool which I’ve talked about in the past. This is another way where we can generate a load of keyword ideas.
Let me just talk about the starting point that I always do. The first thing I always do is search through – if we’re talking about an existing site where we want to do a bit of keyword analysis, so with my travel blog – I will copy this, go over to the Keyword Planner, and I’ll search for new ideas and ad groups. All I’m going to do is simply type in my landing page. That’s my home page I’m going to start with. Targeting here, I’m going to do that; I target all countries. What you could do if you only target specific countries, add that in there, specific languages. Obviously you don’t want Google Search Partners for this specific stuff. You can also type in any negative keywords. We don’t need that.
Within here, I want only keywords that bring at least 100 searches every month. Bear in mind when you’re doing keyword analysis that Page 1, position 1 of Google, the top of Google, you usually bring out between 26% to 30% of all of the monthly search volumes in traffic. So anything lower than 100 searches isn’t necessarily not worth it, but really, if you want to be bringing in much more keyword traffic, that’s kind of my bottom point. But you don’t need to necessarily go with that. “Show me any ideas closely related to my search terms.” We don’t need this, throw it out.
You could do it via product category if you wanted to. That can be a helpful thing for a broad point. You can also type in exact keywords. To start with, though, I always start just with the home page. What we’ve got here is a load of different keywords – sorry, just had the telephone going off. So I’ve got a load of different keywords that we can group into ad groups. They’ll show us a load of different search terms related to what’s been in the ad group “trip.” We can sort that by average monthly searches and find a few keywords. I’m not going to start adding keywords in yet; I’m just going to show you these. It also has “keywords like”; it’s obviously found Skydeck Melbourne, which is one of the blog titles I’ve talked about. It’s found a lot of keywords related to that as well.
Now, sometimes you’ll get loads of ad groups, if it’s really broad stuff that’s being mentioned on the pages; other times you won’t. The main thing that you’re going to find is within the keyword ideas part itself.
Just to give you an overview of what my blog talks about, it’s pretty much all kinds of travel stories from myself and a few friends, our personal travel stuff from around East Asia and a few other places. Mainly focusing around East Asia, to be honest, Thailand in particular. So that’s where I want to be having a look at things. I always sort it by average monthly searches. This time it’s only shown 12 keywords, probably because it’s my blog home page, to be honest. We’ll be able to get a bit more out of that as we go forward. But to start with, average monthly searches, we’ve got “Thailand trip,” “trip to Thailand.” When I’m doing things like a travel blog, I don’t want stuff that’s related to commercial style things, so we’re going to end up getting a load of stuff that’s like “flights,” “flight,” “hotels by…” – I don’t want commercial related keywords here, or “insurance,” don’t want that. “Hotel.” What else could we have? “Holiday,” maybe, “vacation,” maybe, that one would be right… I just want to get rid of anything with those keywords in, just because it’s just not relevant to me.
Bear in mind, I’ve filtered these as well. What I start doing is having a little look – “Thailand trip,” that could definitely be fitted in somewhere. Add that to my plan. You can see monthly search volume here. Also, another important thing that I would say to look at is if we look here, it’s got 110 searches on average every month. That’s one thing to bear in mind. I would imagine the “Full Moon Party” has much higher search volumes at other times of the year, so when we’re looking at January time for this search term here, actually, in January 2013, it received 260 monthly searches. Bear in mind this is only an average figure, so if you’ve got stuff that’s hitting around peak times in particular… Things to search for, look at this one: “Skydeck 88,” 480 on average, but actually goes all the way up to 720 monthly searches in July. So don’t just look at these search volumes on their own.
What I would do here is add in “Skydeck Melbourne,” “Skydeck 88,” “Melbourne Skydeck.” That could be all around one of my blog posts. “Tour to Thailand,” I don’t really want things with “tour” written in it. Again, that’s going to be more commercial focused anchor text. Anchor text, keywords, getting my SEO terminology mixed up. Okay, “trip to Thailand,” that’ll do. “Eureka Skydeck Melbourne,” “planning a trip to Thailand,” that’s another good one. I would imagine that’s – yeah, you can see that’s a bit more during January and March peak times where people are looking for that kind of thing. You can maybe also from this – which I’ll come on to later, have a little look at specific ways in which we can target timely content as well. “Chiang Mai travel blog.” Yeah, that works. I talk about Chiang Mai quite a lot. “Full Moon Party,” definitely. “Trip Thailand,” that works. “Thai trip,” I’m not going to put that in. I think that’s good enough.
Okay, now the thing I’ll do after this is look at specific pages across the site that can help me to bring in more keywords. Drilling down on specific logs – do the same here. This is kind of the first stage of things I always do. Have a look, get rid of… “airways,” “airline,” don’t want that in there. “Bangkok airports,” that’s a big search term. You could maybe write an article about the airports. I’m going to remove “airlines.” I actually don’t want “holidays” in there as well, because that’s a whole different type of thing. “Tours.” You’ll start to see the type of search terms come up that you don’t want, and you can just be adding them into the exclude files.
Likewise, you can include stuff if you only want stuff related to let’s say Bangkok. Only include search terms that have “Bangkok” in it, and there we’ll start getting a few other stuff. “Bangkok nightlife,” big search term. “Things to do in Bangkok.” “Weather in Bangkok,” that’s a good one. “Safari while at Bangkok.” “Shopping in Bangkok,” that’s another one. “Bangkok to Phuket,” personally took that journey. “What to do in Bangkok,” “places to visit…” So you start to see you find loads of stuff here.
And the way that I sometimes find some good – let’s remove this – a good way of finding a few different long tail stuff is understanding who, what, why, where, how, to. What you start finding from this is if you add it – I’ll just show you that again: who, what, why, where, how, and to. I always do this, and you find some real gold that’s really much more focused around blog titles. So “things to do in Thailand,” “places to visit in Thailand,” and generally you can find some real gold with these keywords that aren’t as competitive that you can target. If you look at these search volumes – “Bangkok to Pattaya,” that’s good. “Things to do in Pattaya.” So you can see, I’m just systematically going through all of these. “Cheap places to travel.” That’s a bit broad. “What to do in Thailand,” another good one. So loads of stuff here.
What I would be doing is I’d be going through all these and building up a huge list of all this stuff, because this can all be great, but it’s not always feasible to go through every single URL. So what I do is use a little trick and go into Excel – and if any of you use the SEO Tools plug-in, which you really should be doing – you can check out my full SEO Tools plug-in for Excel tutorial which I did. That’s on the YouTube channel, on the blog, so give that a watch as well, and that will talk you a bit more how to use this.
But what I’m going to do here is I’ve clicked on the Google Analytics tab here and I’ve pulled in my travel blog’s Google Analytic stuff. Selected the metrics here as traffic sources, organic searches. Just done the interval of this year, the data, dimensions, host name, and landing page path, and I’ve segmented it by search traffic. Max results by 1,000, that’ll be fine. Values, site index at 1. I don’t want any more filtering, so I’m just going to press “Insert,” and in a split second I’ve got a load of good stuff.
Now I’m just going to add in an extra column here and just press “=A2 and B2.” What I’m going to just do is I’m just going to combine – it might be AdSense stuff – I’m just going to combine the URL here, the host name, with the actual landing page path to create the full URL. You’ll see what I mean when I scroll this down. Copy that. Just going to insert another cell here, Ctrl C, and then what I’m doing is I’m just going to paste the values in, so that I can delete these. What you’ll see there is all of the URLs in their full format.
What you might also want to do, if you want to do a bit more analysis into this kind of thing, you might want to also do the same by – in fact, I’ll do it now. One thing I always do. Http… add this in before. Insert, and do the same thing: “=” this and this. What this has essentially done is it’s pulled in all of the URLs that bring in through search traffic from the travel blog, and what that means I can do, to have a look – I’m just a bit obsessed with having good formatting, as you may have noticed in a few of my other videos. Once I’ve just finished having an OCD freak out – okay, there we go.
What I’m now going to do is I’m just going to sort these URLs. Filter, largest to smallest. Sorry, I should’ve explained a bit better. The reason why I just did this is just in case you want to easily grab, copy, and paste this into the Google Keyword Planner, it’s all in a nice format. We don’t have to be copying three cells at a time. It just saves a lot of time for you.
What I’ve got here is the list of the web pages on the site that bring in the most organic search volume as it is, so what I can then do is see, “Okay, which of these pages have a big potential to bring in probably more such traffic?” What I would do then is copy this, Ctrl C, just go back into Google Chrome, add this in. This is one of the main pages that brings in traffic to the blog, actually. It was all about our time at the Full Moon Party. Just scroll up… what we can find here is a load of different keywords. Obviously, we’ve still got the who, what, why, where, and other ones like that within there, and we start finding a load of keywords related to this page.
We don’t want “trips to Thailand,” get rid of – that’s made me notice another, “trips and packages. “What is the next full moon?” No. “Best season to visit Thailand?” You’ll see, like what I said before, you look at it and you go, “Okay, there’s only a few searches. There were actually the potential to bring in 320 searches, if not more, in the future.
What I’m just going to do for this is just move a few of these. “Full Moon Party,” huge amounts of traffic can be coming in for that, all the way up to 60,500. I was on like Page 2 for that search term, I was bringing in shedload of traffic. So there’s lots of stuff going on there. “Full moon calendar.”As you can see, 74,000 searches just in January. So the start of the year, people are after that. That could be good. “Italian nightlife,” again, all stuff… “Full Moon Party Thailand.” “Full Moon Party Koh Phangan.” “Koh Phangan Full Moon Party.” So you can start to see the systematic process is go through, and this is what I do on things like e-commerce websites, I do on blogs, I do on just information websites all the time. Just start going through all of these URLs to start with. You can see already how many keywords I’ve started gathering, and it’s a really good process to do.
Likewise with this, we’ve started teaching English. I want to only have things related to teaching English in Thailand, really. So Thailand. Don’t want to… jobs… “teaching English in Thailand,” “teach English in Thailand,” “teaching in Thailand.” Because this was a post that was all focused around teaching English in Thailand and how you can go about it. “Teaching Thailand,” “international schools in Thailand,” yep. So loads of extra keywords there. That’s where I start saying, okay, we can rinse and repeat that.
What I’m going to do is, because you don’t always get as many freeform results from doing this. You’re always going to get quite a few good results, but if you’re struggling a bit finding ones that have good monthly searches, then there’s some other tools that we want to start looking at.
The first one is another free tool, and that is Übersuggest. I’m just going to put in here, “English, U.S.” Let’s just say “Chiang Mai,” one of the places in Thailand. It’s a lot less popular than Bangkok, I’d say, so it might have less results, which is kind of what I want to show. There’s a bit more representation on a lot more if you might be able to relate to – then we just press “Suggest.” So you just put in a very broad term. What Übersuggest will do is it does a similar thing to what Google does here, when we go “Chiang Mai,” and it finds a few semantically related terms. Now, Übersuggest scrapes theses kind of results on a mass scale to provide you with loads of different stuff. “Chiang Mai Thai,” “Chiang Mai hotels,” “Chiang Mai boys,” “investing, real estate Thailand.” You can start seeing breaks it down on suffixes that start with a, e, c, d, blah blah blah blah blah.
What we can do is select all keywords, Ctrl A, copy. We can modify our search, take away the landing page, paste these in. What we need to have a look now is just to have a look through some search volume. Obviously we’ve got the filter set up so we filter out stuff that we don’t want. Also only searched the terms with 100 searches or more. And now we can start adding a few here, so “Chiang Mai weather,” maybe, talk about weather in a blog post. “Chiang Mai Thailand,” “Chiang Mai zoo,” “Chiang Mai university” maybe, “nightlife, “night safari.” You start getting loads of search terms. You start doing this for anything.
Just to kind of show you, let’s just do web designs. Something completely different. Suggest this. It’ll get us loads of keywords here. “Web design inspiration,” “web design software,” “designer salary,” “web design jobs,” “tutorials, templates, portfolio, blogs, tools, agency Atlanta, hosting, awards, Austin, apps.” So there’s loads of different things that you could gather. So Übersuggest, I talk about Übersuggest all the time when it comes to keywords. This is a very powerful tool to use.
Another tool which I love is Keyword Snatcher. This is a paid for tool, and it is just awesome. It does essentially what Übersuggest does, but on a mass scale, and I think – I’m trying to remember how much keyword search costs. It certainly is ridiculously cheap. I think it’s like $48. The link will be in the video description; you can also go through to it via the blog post, so have a little look at it there. I would really advise getting Keyword Snatcher, and I will show you why.
What we can do here is select our country, so if we do United States, let’s get Bangkok here. “Bangkok.” Now filtered keywords; we can also skip keywords containing any of these terms. I’m just going to actually do… in fact, we’ll filter those after. Leave that unfiltered for now. What I’ll do is, you want to keep all of these sources on, so it will look across YouTube, eBay, Amazon, Bing, Yahoo!, and Google as opposed to just what Google AdWords Keyword Planner does, just look at Google, to find semantically similar terms. All you need to do is press Get Suggestions.
You can see, I’m not going to pause the video; I’m just going to let this run in real time. This is how many keywords it’s finding. We’ve got 400, nearly 500, coming on to nearly 600. And this has been running for what, 10 seconds? We can just start looking at all of these keywords, and the beauty of this tool is, it will just keep going. It will just keep going deeper and deeper and deeper, finding more and more searches.
Just to give you an idea, I did – another great feature of Keyword Snatcher is you can just not type in a keyword, press Start, and it will just find recent popular keywords that have been searched for regularly. I’ve been running a search for about an hour now, and it’s delivered back 200,000, nearly 201,000 search terms across all sorts of stuff that’s regularly searched for. You can imagine the value in this information. I could maybe use this to go out and buy some exact match domains, set up affiliate sites, or blog articles or whatever I want to do. There’s all sorts that can be done with this kind of information. You can see where this tool might be slightly handy. I mean, we’ve been running this now for a minute and it’s got 1,600 search terms that it’s found.
I’m just going to press Stop. You can stop it at any time, really. What we’ll do is download – this is CSV – “Download Suggestions.” That’s now downloaded at Bangkok.csv. Now what we’ll do is Modify Search and just delete all of this; press Choose File, so in “get search volume for a list of keywords,” we’ll group them into ad groups. Choose File; Bangkok; Get Search Volume. Now this will come up with an error in a second. Errors in uploaded file: keywords can’t contain this. A good thing to do is to get rid of any extra symbols within the CSV beforehand. No huge issue if not. I’m just going to ignore and upload that for this sake.
Now we’ve got a huge range, which we filtered within Google Keyword Planner instead of in Keyword Snatcher. You can skip keywords here and filter it within Keyword Snatcher, but it can cause you to miss out some search terms that might potentially be good for you, so I prefer to filter them inside here. Now what we’ve got is loads of stuff, so I want to see Bangkok… we’ve got loads of searches for that. It’s too broad for me, to be honest. “Bangkok Thai,” “Bangkok Thailand,” “Bangkok University,” all sorts of stuff. We’ve got 558 keywords that actually match our criteria, so there’s loads of stuff here that we can use to bring in masses of traffic through to the blog, and that is just pretty awesome, to be honest. And that was in the space of what, a few minutes? So yeah, this tool in particular is very powerful.
The other tool that I talked about, ScrapeBox, does a very similar job to Keyword Snatcher, if not the exact same. Interface is slightly different. If you have ScrapeBox, you can do the exact same thing, really. Now within ScrapeBox, you just go to Keyword Scraper, and what we can do is enter a few different terms. “Bangkok,” “Chiang Mai,” “Koh Tao,” “Koh Chang,” just a few different places in Thailand that we can get some keywords for. “Koh Samui,” “Koh Phangan.” Select that. We’re going to go really deep here. You can just do it on a single level, but I really want to find a shedload of keywords, so I’m just going to press Start Scraping.
What ScrapeBox will actually do is it will find keywords related to the search terms, and then from those search terms move down levels and find more keywords related to the initial pages that they’ve been looking for keywords for, so you can get huge, huge amounts of keywords, and you’ll see here it just is essentially transferred. All the keywords it found on the first scrape into this section, and it’s scraping on a second level. I’m going to doing four levels we can go through and just rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat, finding more and more and more. This is very, very similar. Again, you can abort this at any time, and then it’s just a case of doing the same thing. You can send this to ScrapeBox, keywords added to keyword list, and then we can add all of those keywords into Google Keyword Planner.
So it’s the same process, really, as Keyword Snatcher, ScrapeBox. It really depends on your preference. I suppose with ScrapeBox, I’ve found that you do find quite a lot of the more specific search terms, but at the same time, it depends on your query. You can see, we’ve just scraped through and found 1,307 different results, so very powerful tool that you can get here, especially for within blogs.
Once we’ve gathered all the keywords, that’s not the final stage. What I’ll do is download this. Include monthly searches, segment by month, Excel.csv. Download that. One important thing to remember with Google Keyword Planner is that it actually pulls off the monthly search stats always ask exact match; it doesn’t do broad match stuff anymore, like the Keyword Tool used to do. Now I’m just going to get rid of a few fields. So you see it says broad match; that’s actually gathered average monthly results for exact match searches, so ignore that. Delete… right.
Difficulty, I’ve just added in another layer here. What I always do is get the most difficulty score for all of the keywords that I’m trying to target. For the purpose of this, we’ve got loads of keywords here. What I’m going to do is I’m just going to get rid of a few of them, just to show you the kind of way that I find opportunities a lot easier. You’ll see the reason why I’ve just picked 20. It’s because I can just easily plop those into Moz.
I’m going to go over to Moz, if you’ve got a Moz subscription. This isn’t essential, but it’s a good way of having a bit of competitive research as well, so it’s not just keyword data on its own. I’m just going to go to Keyword Ranking Tools. Keyword difficulty. Such a great tool, this particular tool that’s by Moz. Okay, I’m just going to enter that in for the United States search terms. Search, should I say. Then I can just wait for those to come in. In the meantime, I’ll show you some bits of formatting that I do. I always just change these to the dates. June 13, March 13… June, July 13, August 13. What we’ve got obviously here, just to separate that, we’ll format this a different color, just a light gray.
Then what I like to do here is obviously what we’re talking about is we’ve got a load of monthly searches here, but in different times through the year, there might actually be bigger searches for these search terms. So this might not necessarily be representational, especially if there’s a really high standard deviation. What I’ll do is highlight from October to August. I’m just going to go to Conditional Formatting, Top and Bottom Rules, and then More Rules. I just want to find format values that rank in the top 1. Format. Just fill that till it’s green.
What that’s done is it’s highlighted the highest search volumes within those months. I’m just going to go down, format this for each row. I’m going to do this each row at a time, just because otherwise it would just search across all of the data. You can see as I’m doing this, actually you can find some search terms that aren’t as obvious or aren’t as low search volume as we initially thought, and we can also find them that have much bigger potential. I always find that Conditional Formatting like this within Excel is one of my favorite features, to be honest, because it does highlight things and bring things to your attention much easier, especially in big datasets. Bear in mind, though, most of the keyword analysis I do for things I blog will be into the tens of thousands of keywords, so it can be a minefield.
So you can start having a bit more of a better representation here of stuff. I’m just going to go back to Moz, because that should’ve finished by now. Messing with the zoom. Just scroll down here. I’m just going to add in the difficulty score, so 66, 45, 55, 45, 56, 46, 44… it’s just a bit of a manual process, but to be honest, it’s really worth doing it. Sometimes ones like this, where I do this on a mass scale, like when I’m talking about 10,000 different keywords, I like to outsource that by oDesk and just get that done nice and quickly by someone. That means that I’m not spending a shedload of time going through and adding in data that could be easily added in by a freelancer. Where were we? 54, 54, 53. Good, I didn’t make any mistakes.
Right. Now that’s all added in, what I’m going to do is go to Data Filter and then filter these from largest to smallest. We can remove that. Then just highlight these cells, go back to my favorite thing of Conditional Formatting, go to Color Scales, and do a red, yellow, green color scale. What that’ll do is start highlighting ones that are slightly harder to rank for and also, in green, ones that are really a bit easier to rank for. Now, if you’ve got green ones showing up in the top here, they’re going to be for really high volume search terms, so we can instantly say “that’s a great one to target.”
For example, this specific keyword, “Bangkok to Phuket,” is a very good search term for us to target. “Safari World Bangkok” looks like a great one to target. Even “Skydeck Melbourne,” that doesn’t look too competitive; likewise these. So you can start to see where Conditional Formatting really does come into its own and starts showing you a lot more actual data than what just these kind of things do. One thing that I’ve done as well is if I’m targeting specific keywords, you can also use this kind of data to do things like graphs and stuff, so you can plot out say over time. Insert line graph. Start to do that. Hide this. We could do this, insert the line graph. Start to get… might be better, actually, formatted in a different way. Let me just reconfigure this. Move that to a chart of its own.
Keyword search. And we can start to see some of the keywords. Actually, these series need swapping around. Select data… switch around column. And now you can quickly see an overview of some of the peak times across all of your keywords for search volumes that are going to be really big. Now, for these terms, you can see here January is really a peak time for loads of keywords, and they all actually follow a solid trend. This kind of data is really valuable on big scale SEO projects across your blogs, across e-commerce websites. You can pick and choose a few, take some of these out. If you were to refer back to this, do it over a monthly basis, you can then overlay it with your own traffic data as well, which can be another good analysis tool.
So you can really see using a combination of tools, so with Keyword Snatcher, Übersuggest, ScrapeBox, and Google Keyword Planner, you can really find loads and loads of keywords. We can be talking into the thousands of different keywords. And this is a process that I always do across any website SEO project, and you can get some really good results. Check out the blog and some of the other videos where I talk a bit more about SEO tools as well that you can go into. Also, I did a bit of a post on where you can use ScrapeBox for link prospecting as well. I mean, there’s loads of documentation out there on different things you can do with some of the other tools.
So check it out; let me know what you think of the video, and hopefully it will help a few of you out, and make sure that you subscribe to the YouTube channel. Thanks, guys.
A UK based digital marketing consultant, Matt oversees digital strategy at Wyatt International. He is a columnist for many different SEO publications, a lecturer for the Digital Marketing Institute and speaks at events across the UK.