HOW TO CREATE A SEO KEYWORD LIST

Matthew Carter
Hello friends, my name is Matthew Carter. I’m a professional link builder for a large SEO agency in New York City.

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Another way to add relevant keywords to your list is to find out what keywords your competitors are targeting. You can get this information using Google Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest.

In an environment where you can feel creative, jot down what your business is about. Explain a few of your goals: what you want to achieve for yourself and for your customers. Describe some of your products and where you get them from (local companies, international resellers, etc.).

If you can’t speak directly with your customers, get input from the people who speak to your customers regularly: your sales and customer support teams.

Here are a few ways to come up with overarching topics to use as the basis for your keyword research.

If you don’t have any/many reviews, check your competitors’ reviews. Look for keywords and phrases you can use in your own marketing to attract customers who are looking to solve similar problems.

3. Discover Trending Keywords with Google Trends.

Open your keyword research tool of choice, and enter the homepage URL for a competitor’s website.

But what typically happens when people can’t find the answers they’re looking for with a general Google search is that they turn to Q&A sites and forums for answers. That makes these sites another treasure trove of potential keywords for your list:

Scroll down on the results page until you see the “Related queries” box. This will show you any searches related to your main topic that are currently being searched for more often than usual.

Start by writing down different topics that are related to your business and its products/services.

You can also get this data using AuthorityLabs’ Now Provided feature. Just add your site to AuthorityLabs and connect it to Google Analytics. The Now Provided report will show you a list of your site’s top-performing pages. Click into any page to see a list of the keywords that page ranks for.

And if you have Keywords Everywhere installed, it will also show you the search volumes for auto-suggest keywords on Amazon.

If you went through all of these exercises, you likely have a lot of data—way more potential keywords than you’ll likely be able to target in your lifetime. Don’t worry: you don’t need to target every keyword. You just need to dig through the data, find the best keywords to target, and add those keywords to your main keyword list.

This report shows you all of the keywords your site visitors have typed into your search bar, which can be particularly helpful for large ecommerce sites. Look through the list to find things people are searching for but not finding (i.e. things people search for that you don’t have pages/content for).

When you’re finished, go ahead and conduct the search for your keyword and look at the other features on the search results page.

Brainstorm Some Broad Topics That Are Related to Your Business.

Every day, AuthorityLabs will crawl the search results to see where each site is ranking for the keywords you’re tracking, producing a report that shows how your rankings for those keywords stack up against your competitors’ rankings.

If you’re creating videos that you plan to publish to YouTube and/or embed on your website, you may also want to consider adding YouTube-specific keywords to your SEO keyword list.

Download the list of keyword ideas as a CSV file, then repeat this process for each of the other topics you came up with during your brainstorming session. At the end of the exercise, you’ll likely have lists of tens of thousands of broad and long-tail SEO keywords to consider.

Log in to Google Analytics, expand the “Behavior” tab, expand the “Site Search” tab, and then click “Search Terms.”

Enter your main topic into Google Trends’ search bar, and select “Topic.”

It tells you what questions your audience is asking, what problems your potential customers are trying to solve, and what content you can write to drive them to your site for solutions.

Get Input from Your Sales and/or Customer Service Teams.

You can get a complete list of all of the keywords your site ranks for using Google Search Console. Just open Google Search Console, click the performance tab, and scroll down to see your list of queries.

When you’re finished brainstorming, read through your notes and look for phrases that best describe your business, your products/services, and any topics you plan to cover on your blog. Note these topics on a separate list; you’ll use them as the starting point for further keyword research.

Of the trillions of searches that Google sees every year, 15% of those searches are for queries that have never been searched before. A lot of those questions go unanswered, too—so many, in fact, that Google currently has a tool in beta called Question Hub that allows publishers to see users’ unanswered questions.

With a list of broad topics that are related to your business in hand, you’re ready to start your keyword research. Use one or more of these nine free methods to find keywords and create a long SEO keyword list:

Read through the reviews your customers have written about your business on different sites. What words do they use to describe your product/service? What features do they mention, and how do they describe them? What problems do they say your business solves?

Going through everything will take a lot of time, but remember, you don’t have to go through everything right away. You can add keywords to your master list iteratively as needed; it will be easy since you already have all of the research and data you need.

Google Search itself has several tools you can use to find SEO keywords. Open Google Search and type in one of the topics you came up with during your brainstorming session. Before conducting the search, take a look at Google’s auto-suggest searches:

14. Use Your Website’s Internal Search.

12. Invest In Online Search Advertising.

4. Look For Areas Where Competition Is Lower.

Before you think of search intent, you need a solid list of core keywords that are relevant to the core business. Utilize keyword research tools. For starters, I personally use Google Keyword Planner and Yoast’s Google Suggest Expander. These are effective tools to help add keywords. – Mo Ghoneim, OUTFRONT Media Canada.

Stay on top of trends and audience interests. Tools like Google Trends allow you to use real-time data to your advantage to better understand what your audience is searching for in the moment. You can then use this data to research high-volume keywords and craft content that will most effectively meet the consumer’s interests and drive them further down the sales funnel. – Melissa Rivers, Mattress Firm.

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Before you go all out for your intent-based keywords, master your core keywords. After you see your core keywords perform at their peak for a year, start your work on intent-based keywords. In the starting days, I used tools like Answer the Public, which helped, but you always have to tweak it. For intent-based keywords start with words like “(product)”, “how does (product) work?”, “compare (product)”. – Dipalli Bhatt, Incognito Software Systems Inc.

Below, these 15 professionals from Forbes Communications Council share several proven tips to aid marketers in building useful intent-based marketing keyword lists.

Spend more time on keyword qualification than keyword research. Most SEOs become so obsessed with vanity metrics like search volume, they fail to consider whether their website can actually rank for that target keyword. Because, let’s not forget, we’re all using the same tools for this process – which means we need to be clever about the actual keywords we decide to pursue. – Brian Schofield, Market 8.

Members share their recommendations for curating an effective SEO keyword list.

9. Identify Keywords Around Customer Persona.

8. Spend More Time On Keyword Qualification.

My background is in product/CPG marketing, so I recommend starting with keywords that ladder to a feature or benefit where you have a right to win. Additionally, look for areas where competition is lower and you can rank organically. In the context of Amazon search, find words where the Amazon choice badge isn’t assigned to a brand or where you can meet the unit sales per week to rank on page one. – Sean Lee, Amify.

Consider investing in online search advertising and optimize further with A/B testing. Not only will you be better able to track the keywords that deliver traffic to your website, but also you’ll be able to see which of those keywords convert into leads and final sales. Additionally, leverage online A/B web testing tools to see which messages, colors and imagery resonate most with your audience. – Maria Sotra, GEOTAB.

It can be more of an art than science. The key is to approach the process like you would an art project. Know what you are trying to shape, what colors you’ll use, how it may make people feel. Understand each element of the process. In science, you start with a hypothesis and test your theory, in art you mold the piece to your creative vision. Understand your vision, and you will be effective. – Layla Barbur, Trextel.

13. Leverage Social Listening.

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11. Understand Each Element Of The Process.

Photos courtesy of the individual members.

A good exercise to master the art of effective keywords is sitting down and thinking about your target customer. If you can define who your customer is, you can create specific keywords around that persona. These keywords should be specific but not so specific that they become esoteric. Ask yourself, “What does this type of customer look for, and how can we address that need with a targeted keyword?” – Melissa Kandel, little word studio.

Anyone who has done keyword marketing in the last few years has realized that Google’s algorithm has shifted toward intent-based search results. What this means for many professionals engaged in keyword research is that they need to change the way they think about searches.

2. Ensure Website Keyword Consistency.

The keywords that are most relevant to your community are the ones they’re using in everyday conversation. By leveraging tools like social listening, marketers can analyze conversational trends and surface terms that are frequently used by new and existing audiences. This ensures their content aligns with the language people intuitively use to discuss related products, industries or brands. – Andrew Caravella, Sprout Social.

Building an intent-based keyword list is more of an art than a science. Businesses that want to raise up the SERP effectively need to utilize intent-based keywords, employing them strategically to direct traffic to their websites. It’s a rare skill that marketers need to master to remain relevant in the modern age of search.

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6. Leverage Keyword Research Tools.

15. Pick Keywords Unique To Your Goals.

Once you’ve cast a wide net of at least 50 keywords core to your business, nothing can replace Googling those terms for yourself and attaching five long-tail phrases to each one of the core keywords. Pay close attention to Google SERP features like snippets, answer boxes and “related searches.” These additional elements – particularly local results – will show you which terms are high intent. – Aaron Orendorff, Common Thread Collective.

There are a lot of free keyword tools, including the one that Google offers. The key to online success is not just using the right terms for marketing campaigns (i.e. SEO, paid search), but also making sure that the same keywords and phrases are on the website or landing page. There must be content continuity (pre-click and post-click) or people will abandon your site quickly. – Stacy Sherman, Customer Experience Expert.

Effective pay-per-click campaigns start with using terms and phrases that your target market commonly uses; therefore, it’s important to know your audience. I would recommend interviewing your target audience to ask the right questions to understand common linguistics that the audience uses. A first round of keywords can be built from these conversations and then revised after testing the campaign. – Thu-Lynn (TL) Nguyen, NRL Mortgage.

Your website’s internal site search queries report is a great place to identify high intent search modifiers. Your website visitors are already showing an intent to purchase by being on your site. By looking at your internal site searches, you can learn a lot about user intent and the search phrases tied to it. The best part is that it’s free and available in Google Analytics. – Beth Shockley, TopSpot Internet Marketing.

1. Interview Your Target Audience.

Forbes Communications Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?

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