The easiest strategy to steadily gain visibility on Google? It’s clear: you have to systematically cover keywords by publishing content that is tailored to the search intention.
Each of these content pieces must in turn be specifically optimized for one or more keywords.
This strategy leads to more traffic step by step , because you cover all the topics that really interest your target group.
You want the entire long-term customer journey accompany your customers so that you will be perceived as the subjects of authority in your niche.
The prerequisite for being successful with this approach is professional keyword research.
In the following, we will dive deeply into the subject and you will learn how to choose the right keywords , generate a logical page structure from them and cover the keywords with the right content as best as possible .
Don’t forget: Basically, Google is not concerned with keywords , but rather with the search intention behind them. If you understand this principle, you will be light years ahead of most other webmasters and companies ?
This guide has been written with a lot of passion and contains tons of examples, graphics and videos to convey this very extensive topic as well as possible.
Let’s get started with our keyword analysis!
What are keywords?
Properties, types and specification of search terms
If in the course of keywords is mentioned, then so searches are meant for on Google to type in to solve a problem, answer a question or to buy a product (and a thousand other things).
Characteristics of keywords
- Search volume: How often is the term searched?
- Cost Per Click: How much does a click cost on AdWords?
- Clicks Per Search: How many results does a user click per search?
- Click potential: Will the click potential of the organic results be reduced by SERP features such as Google Featured Snippets?
- Distribution of clicks between organic results and AdWords: How are the clicks distributed between organic and paid search results?
- Search intention: What does the user want to achieve with this search?
- Word count: How many words does the search term consist of?
- Conversion rate in connection with landing page: What is the percentage of users who come to my website via this particular keyword and become paying customers there?
- Phase in the customer or buyers journey: At what point is the user in the buying process?
Search terms according to specification and search volume
In the field of search engine optimization, keywords are basically categorized as follows:
- Head or short tail: high search volume, very general, poor conversion rate
- Mid Tail: Average search volume, more specific than the head tail, average conversion rate
- Long Tail: Low search volume, very specific, high conversion rate
So-called short-tail and long-tail keywords are often used. Basically, these terms have less to do with the search volume, but more with the specification of the search intention . In most cases, however, search terms with a high search volume are referred to as short tail keywords and search terms with a low search volume as long tail keywords.
In principle, it is only important to know that long tail keywords make up the majority of the search volume . The Google algorithm even sees 15% of search queries for the first time. Your SEO strategy should always address all three types.
There is no such thing as a purely long-tail strategy, even if it is often claimed to sell you keyword tools .
If you look at the search intention behind the typed keywords, you can distinguish between the following search queries:
- Informational Queries: Maintain Cashmere Wool, Oak Wood
- Transactional Queries: seo guide download, seo master media seo video, mozbar, eichentisch buy
- Commercial Investigation Queries: oak table, seo support, toys
- Navigational Queries: Seo master link construction online shops, Seo master youtube
- Brand queries: Seo master, youtube
- News queries: gold price, donald trump blunder, coronavirus
- Local queries: dentist berlin, tax advisor
It is very important to the success of your Google SEO campaign that you can distinguish and recognize these types of keywords . They already roughly categorize the different search intentions that a user can have. The best thing to do is to look at all the examples – this will give you a feel for which SERP features Google is displaying depending on the intention.
So much for the basics about keywords. Now we come to fine-tuning our keyword research process. What are the right keywords?
What are the right keywords?
AIDA model and the user intent funnel
Most marketers and search engine optimizers waste their time compulsively trying to get ahead on certain keywords instead of focusing on more organic sales .
A company’s focus is profit. That’s why search engine optimization is also about generating profit . For example, a short tail keyword can bring you a lot of traffic, but only little and small sales. So you’ve invested a lot of money in search engine optimization for that search term, but hardly anything comes out of it. And that although there may be smaller, more specific keywords that bring the desired sales!
In this section you will learn how to find the right keywords!
What is the AIDA model?
The sales conversion funnel based on the AIDA model is known to many from the film ” Glengarry Glen Ross ” with Alec Baldwin. It consists of the following levels:
- Attention : Draw the consumer’s attention to your brand.
- Interest : Generate interest in your brand or product.
- Desire, alternatively Consideration : Convince the consumer that your product or service best meets their needs.
- Action, alternatively conversion (plot): Take the consumer by the hand and guide him to the desired action.
AIDA is a classic advertising effectiveness principle , but it can be perfectly transferred to the digital world and to search engines. The model ultimately covers exactly what the user wants to achieve when he enters certain search terms on Google or other platforms.
Let’s apply the keyword types to the AIDA model :
- Awareness = Informational, e.g. B. ” what is seo ” or ” learn to write seo texts “
- Interest = Navigational, e.g. B. “seo master seo texter” or “seo master youtube”
- Desire = Commercial Investigation, e.g. B. ” best seo agency ” or “seo agency comparison”
- Action = Transactional, e.g. B. “seo master monthly seo support” or “seo master prices”
According to this Penn State whitepaper , 80% of searches fall into the Informational Searching category. The intention of the informative search is to find content on a specific topic in order to satisfy an information need.
- Stage : Top Of The Funnel, ToFu for short
- Conversion : The user is still far away from a purchase or not at all interested in a purchase.
- Search volume : high
- Potential : Brand awareness, generate traffic, make offer known, promote natural backlinks, attract the attention of bloggers and journalists, newsletter registrations
- Value : medium
- Typical formulations : “What is”, “How”
- Keyword examples : what is seo, onpage optimization , seo 2020 , spaghetti bolognese, pocket knife
- The user only needs information on a specific topic or needs help to concretise his problem.
- Guides are the perfect content type for informational keywords.
- If the question can be answered briefly and crisply, the Google algorithm will display a featured snippet for these search terms.
When the user searches for a navigational keyword, he wants to find something that he already knows exists. This can e.g. Be a brand, mini-tool, specific website, or any other entity .
- Stage : Middle Of The Funnel (MoFu)
- Conversion : If the user is looking for your brand or product, that is a good sign that they are interested in it.
- Search volume : medium to low
- Potential : You can try to draw the user to your side by ranking for other brands. Affiliate sites typically do that. Otherwise you are hopefully ahead for your own brand anyway.
- Value : low
- Examples : Seo master keyword research, seo master youtube, innsbruck airport, amazon pocket knife
- The landing page should offer a specific solution or a next step.
- It is not yet entirely clear to the user how to solve his problem.
- There is no specific type of content, as the user is looking for an entity that he already knows exists.
Commercial Investigation Keywords
The user already knows what he wants, but not yet which exact product or which provider.
- Stage : Bottom Of The Funnel (BoFu)
- Conversion : The user almost has his credit card in hand.
- Search volume : medium to low
- Potential : micro-conversions, influence purchase decision
- Value : high
- Typical formulations : The keyword is expanded with gender, size, comparison, price, ratings, etc.
- Examples : monthly seo support , keyword research agency, hotels on the achensee, stone pine bed 200 × 200, seo agency comparison, best katana under 200 euros, seo costs, best cold steel pocket knife
- The user’s question is: “Which product best meets my needs?”
- At this stage, the desire for the product increases. The consumer sees himself with the product.
- Information that leads the user to buy: testimonials, reviews, product comparisons, etc.
We are right at the bottom of the user intent funnel. The user is ready to buy. He has his credit card at hand and his emotions have taken over. All they have to do now is know how to get the product or service as quickly, cheaply and simply as possible.
- Stage : Bottom Of The Funnel (BoFu)
- Conversion : The user only needs to know how to carry out the transaction most conveniently.
- Search volume : low
- Potential : Generate conversions or leads
- Value : very high
- Typical formulations : cheap, buy online, cheap, coupon, free shipping, close by
- Examples : seo master monthly seo support, 7 day hike karwendel package, wordpress hosting coupon, order e cigarette set online, cold steel pocket knife tanto cheap
- The user knows exactly what he wants and only has to find out how and where he is buying.
- The landing page must clarify the benefits of the product or service. There must also be a convenient way to buy.
- The user must be taken by the hand. Because if the process is too cumbersome, the potential buyer will look for another provider.
You want to be in front for the right keywords. (Almost) anyone can generate worthless traffic.
Understand search intent on Google
The role of buyer personas, the customer journey, and content types
When a user types in a search term, he wants to achieve a specific goal , has a specific idea of the results or wants to solve a problem . This is the so-called search intention. User intent. Your site must fulfill this requirement, otherwise a top ranking is as good as impossible.
The search intention should decide what content you offer for the respective keyword and how it is designed and sorted. You can only cover 100% of the search intention if the user can meet their end goal.
In this context you should know:
- Mostly there is a main intention and several secondary intentions .
- A distinction is made between implicit and explicit search intentions . A good example of this is “seo” and “what is seo”. In most cases, the user just wants a definition and an explanation.
- The Google Hummingbird , Google RankBrain and Google BERT updates made the algorithm very good at understanding the user intent.
- To understand search intent, all you need to do is look at the top results and the SERP features displayed . Then you know exactly what most users want to see, because Google aligns the search results with it.
Google SERP Overlap Score
The search intention also shows when you need a separate page for a keyword and when it is alternatively possible to group several keywords and thus rank with a single page. We use the so-called SERP Overlap Score for this. (By the way, SERP stands for Search Engine Result Pages.)
In contrast to the target group, a buyer persona has a specific face . It is a made-up person who represents a typical target group.
By sketching a buyer persona, it is much easier for you to put yourself in the shoes of your customers’ challenges and motivations for action . After all, empathy is the key to successful SEO, not to mention successful marketing in general.
Definition of a buyer persona
- Name: Epictetus
- Background: Stoic, formerly a slave
- Demographics: male, 40 to 50, no income
- Distinguishing features: calm demeanor, does not want anything
- Goals: to become a free person
- Challenges: human emotions, social programming, environment
It’s best to base your personas on information about existing customers. Ideally, you will conduct interviews with existing customers and look out for similarities.
Users are only excited about content that is appealing, relevant and useful for them. He goes through different phases. This journey is known as the customer journey or buyers journey .
If we know the journey, we can provide the right content for each intermediate step. Depending on which phase the user is in, he uses different keywords. At this point, we weave together buyer personas, the customer journey and keyword research.
Incidentally, a somewhat more extensive customer journey mapping looks like this:
- Awareness (inspiration): Awareness of the product is raised.
- Favorability: The interest in the product is increased.
- Consideration: The customer is considering purchasing the product.
- Intent to Purchase: The purchase intention becomes concrete.
- Conversion: The product is bought.
So we now know who our customer is, where they are in the customer journey and what they are looking for. Now the question arises, what type of content he wants to see …
There are many different types of content. What type of content you create for a particular keyword is determined by the user’s search intention.
Most of the time, the user already has a relatively clear idea of what he wants to see and, above all, what not. We humans are excellent at making quick decisions. One look is enough and bang, we jumped off again.
Some examples of page and content types:
- Guide / Evergreen Content.
- Blog article.
- Performance side.
- Shop category page.
- Shop product page.
- Glossary Page.
- Home page.
Expert tipIdeally, you look at the top 3 for each keyword and look for similarities. If all three are extensive guides , for example on the subject of intestinal flu, and they cover the sub-topics (symptoms, treatment, duration, …), you will probably not be able to rank with your shop category page with intestinal flu remedies.
To conclude this chapter, we want to offer a simple and quick solution for determining the search intention …
The 3-C search intent model according to Ahrefs
So that you can always quickly determine what type of content the user wants to see, there is this ingenious concept from Ahrefs :
- Content type
- Home page
- Performance side
- Shop category page
- Shop product page
- Glossary Page
- Blog article
- Content format
- Step-by-step instructions
- Experience report
- Content approach
- according to target group: B. for beginners
- by price: z. B. Free keyword tools
- by quality: z. B. high quality leather bag
- by period: e.g. B. lose weight quickly
Categorize the first three Google results for your search term based on these points and derive your page on this keyword. By now, you’ve already given your keywords and content a hundred times more thought than anyone else in your niche. Congratulations!
The best keyword tools for Google SEO
These tools will help you find the best search terms!
Still using the Google AdWords Keyword Planner? Then it’s time to take your keyword research toolbox to the next level:
- Keyword Everywhere : Keyword data and list management
- Google Trends
- Google Search Console
Are you still convinced of the Google Keyword Planner? Then you should at least reach its full potential.
Expert tipFor keyword analysis, I would strongly recommend a professional keyword tool. Yes, they are not free, but they offer reliable, extensive data and save you a lot of time. Time = money. You are warned!
The right keyword tools are half the battle, so a small investment is recommended.
Keyword research: step by step
This is how professional keyword research works in practice!
There are basically two approaches to keyword analysis, which also applies to the associated tools:
- It all starts with a seed keyword: the tool provides more or less relevant keyword suggestions.
- Or it all starts with my competitors: For which keywords does my competition rank and optimize? Where are my competitors ranked, but not me? Which other keywords should I cover? Which keywords is the competition bidding on with AdWords?
Before you start your keyword analysis, you should brainstorm:
- What do you call the product or service?
- What do your customers call the product or service?
- What problems do your customers face in the context of your product or your service?
The terms you write down in this process are your so-called seed keywords. These are exactly those keywords that you type into your keyword tool at the beginning.
Focus keywords or cornerstone keywords are the key search terms for your SEO campaign . These 30 to 50 keywords get the most attention.
They meet one or more of the following criteria:
- High search volume + towards the end of the customer journey: the best keywords
- High search volume + early in the customer journey: in order to establish as many points of contact with your brand as possible or to influence the purchase decision as early as possible
- Good relationship between expense and income
- You can guarantee that the search terms will convert (e.g. through an AdWords campaign)
- Specific, concrete, a clear search intention
Step 1: Gather ideas
Traditional (seed set)
- Generate keyword ideas based on a few seed keywords
- Pick out the keywords that match the customer journey, from awareness to intent to purchase
In this phase, we are primarily concerned with generating as many keywords as possible so that we do not overlook any potential . Only later do we refine our keyword list into a usable utensil.
Expert tipPick five competitors that you will come across repeatedly when entering your focus keywords.
Using a tool like Ahrefs Keyword Explorer or the SEMRush Keyword Magic Tool we answer the following questions:
- Which keywords are my competitors ranking for?
- For which keywords is my competition ranking but my website is not?
- For which keywords does my competition run AdWords ads?
You will learn how to use the Ahrefs content gap correctly in this video:
Let’s say your competition is really well positioned. Of course, this is problematic on the one hand, but on the other hand it means: The better your competitors are in search engine optimization, the better the keyword data you get from a competition-based analysis.
Step 2: sort, group and grade
This is where keyword analysis stops for most. A gigantic list has been drawn up, but nobody can work with it. So it was obviously a lot of work … well done.
In reality, the real work is only now beginning. At this point the keywords are grouped and cleared out . In addition, the prioritization of the individual topics and keywords takes place at this point.
Which search terms to sort out?
- not relevant to my offer
- usually do not appear in the target group’s customer journey
- relevant only after purchase (only interesting in the long term)
You will probably ask yourself why keywords that are too difficult are not included. Well, “too difficult” is relative and often cannot be reliably predicted.
Grouping and structuring
- Which terms have the same search intention? Which keywords can be ranked with a page?
- What are my focus keywords?
- Where is the search query in the customer journey?
- Which buyer personas are looking for in this way?
- How do the search terms relate to each other?
You should do the grouping in your Excel sheet right away. Create a suitable column for this.
Keyword Difficulty Level
How difficult it is to rank a certain keyword and how long it takes to rank in the top 3, nobody can say for sure. On the one hand, the Google search results are dynamic and, on the other hand , the competition does not stand still .
At least an estimate is needed to decide which keywords have priority . At this point you would certainly like to have fixed SEO metrics for assessing the situation, but unfortunately they do not exist. Everything depends on:
- your link authority and link growth
- your website
- the link authority of the competition and its growth
- the websites of the competition
- Google updates that change the weighting of the ranking factors
- … and an infinite number of other little things
Expert tip Even today, domain popularity at the domain and page level is one of the best indicators of rankings. The two metrics from Ahrefs are particularly helpful in this context: Domain Rating and URL Rating.
When we start a new website at Seo Master, we like to take a look at KWFinder’s Keyword Difficulty . We learned:
- Everything under 30 can be climbed within 6 months.
- Everything between 31 and 35 can be climbed in a year.
- Everything between 35 and 44 can be climbed in one to two years.
- From 45 onwards, it gets tough when you don’t really know what you’re doing or don’t have a budget.
But be careful: some things look simple, but in reality they are extremely difficult to rank. So these numbers are really only a very rough guide. The question is always: Can your content be equally good technically and surpass the link profile (or vice versa)?
Step 3: from keywords to content
Basically, the SEO potential is at the top of the marketing funnel or at the beginning of the customer journey. The majority of search queries fall into the “information” category. According to various sources, between 50 and 80% of the queries on Google are so-called “informational keywords”. In other words, the information keywords are the greatest SEO lever.
It is also important to note that SEO usually does not have a good ROI in the first year . No matter what others say. Search engine optimization is particularly worthwhile because of the snowball effect that occurs after a while (with us after about a year). The accumulated authority and relevance makes it easier and easier to rank new keywords.
In addition, the domain age (or, as I call it, the age of the link profile) is becoming increasingly important.
Maybe in 2009 there was “a quick ranken”, today the story looks very different. Patience and staying power are required!
Expert tip: You can save yourself a lot of anger and frustration if you understand that there is no such thing as fast rankings, or only very rarely. SEO is organic and not advertising. Accordingly, it is important to build authority and a reputation. It’s like gardening: You can’t do it overnight!
Determine content type and topic
Now that we have our keywords set, it is time to plan what topics and content we will cover these keywords with. In case you remember, we already talked about the content type above. Below are some examples of content types depending on the level in the marketing funnel:
Top of the funnel
- Explanatory videos.
- Resource lists.
Middle of the funnel
- Landing page.
- Buying guide.
- Category Pages
- Case studies.
Bottom of the funnel
- Testimonials and references
- Product Pages
We determine the content type at this point. To do this, let’s look at the top 3 for the keyword and the SERP features displayed . This tells us what the user wants to see and what content we have to offer accordingly in order to rank.
Example of content type determination
Keyword: lose weight quickly
So what the user wants to see:
- a guide
- also in list form
- simple, short, understandable sentences
- many pictures
- User generated content / feedback from real people
- serious content, see stern.de, is of secondary importance
- The user wants to hear what they want to hear and not necessarily receive healthy advice.
This of course results in the topic and the information for the web copywriter.
In this lecture I explain exactly what is important in SEO texts (or, as I prefer to say, in-depth content).
Step 4: from keywords to page structure
Without the right page structure, the best website is of no use. Search engines and users need a logical structure so that they can find their way around.
In recent years, the silo page structure has become more and more important in this context , because Google prefers websites with such a topic structure.
Instructions for siloing
The topic silos should be kept in mind when doing keyword research. The following two points are particularly important:
- What are the main topics of my website in comparison with my keywords?
- Based on this, what should the directory structure and the URL structure look like?
Example of a silo side structure
Solid wood furniture> Solid wood beds> Stone pine beds> Floating stone pine beds
URL structure: moebelpankratz.com/massivholzmoebel/ Betten/zirbe/schwebend/
The following applies to the URL: meaningful, short and optimized for keywords.
Have I covered all of the important keywords in my target group’s entire customer journey with content / pages?
Ongoing work with the keyword list and the keyword map
This is the best way to use the keyword research you’ve created!
Yes, a professional keyword analysis is a lot of work , but this is the only way you can …
- cover all important keywords
- provide the right content
- create a meaningful structure
- get to know your target group even better
- guide users step by step to completion.
How often do the documents need to be updated?
The keyword research as well as the keyword map must be updated continuously. They are the roadmap for your SEO campaign , show potential and help you decide what the next steps are.
The keyword list itself should be updated annually . The keyword map you must always adapt when a change is a focus keyword page / URL. This is the only way to guarantee that you can keep track of things and process the project with maximum efficiency.Expert tipYou always have to be honest with yourself. If your content is worse or less suited to the search intent than the top results, then you have to revise it for better or for worse. Many webmasters are so in love with their own content that they stand in their own way and cannot admit mistakes.
We prefer to use the SEMRush On Page Checker to monitor the keyword page pairs.
How long does such a research usually take?
On an average project, keyword research like the one described above will certainly take 2-4 working days to begin with. But with this amount of time you have at least created the perfect starting situation and can look forward to the results of your efforts.