How do you decide which SEO keywords to focus on for your business?
If you’re still getting started, you might be wondering what’s the best niche to enter?
What market or niche topic should you write content about?
Researching keywords for your niche is something that can really make or break your success online.
Simply regurgitating a list of popular keywords on your website doesn’t ensure you’ll be found for the right concepts.
Ranking for keywords with little search demand sets you up for failure.
In this post, I’ll show you a proven method to hack SEO keywords and be found for the right search terms. By the end, you’ll learn how to analyse the traffic potential of any keywords in your niche.
1. Topic Modelling and Semantic Keywords
To rank in Google today, you have to create contextually rich content.
After Google’s Hummingbird Algorithm update, it was able to understand the relationships between words and topics.
Google doesn’t just crawl billion of webpages for individual keywords. It’s ranking algorithm is looking for words with related meaning – semantic context.
By creating semantically related content, you can rank for hundreds of keywords in your niche. Nailing this will help you determine the true traffic potential of your niche topic.
You can do this by creating content with topic modelling.
How to create a topic model for your content
Topic modelling is simply grouping similar topics and keywords together.
It’s a content strategy that focuses on topic clusters, instead of specific keywords.
Step 1: Think about your seed keyword and searcher intent
Your seed keyword is the main focus topic of your article.
The best way to find your keywords is discovering searcher intent. What do people mean when they’re searching for something? What questions do they have?
Why are searchers using specific search terms? What is the difference between backpacking and hiking?
What’s the difference searchers are expecting when they search for “hotel” and “resort”?
This is the part when you think critically about the keywords you’re researching.
Step 2: Brainstorm related keywords with SEMrush
We’ll be using SEMrush keyword analytics tool to find a large variety of keywords.
Let’s use “vegan diet” and see what related keywords ideas we’ve got:
These related keywords people add to the generic keyword “vegan diet”, to be more specific about their goal and intent.
We see keyword phrases like:
- raw vegan diet
- vegan bodybuilding diet
- vegan ketogenic diet
- vegan diet plan for weight loss
Now we are seeing many different motivations, destinations and ideas in people’s heads. So the general term doesn’t always tell us what people want.
I wrote about searcher intent here, How to Squeeze Maximum SEO Traffic From an Article. Read on to learn step-by-step how to understand and nail searcher intent.
Step 3: Create an umbrella of related sub-topics and related keywords
Use an excel spreadsheet and create 3 columns resembling this:
Step 4: Evaluate your keywords
Go to Google Keyword Planner and get the avg. monthly search volume of your list of keywords.
Naturally, your seed keyword should have the largest search volume. The long-tail keywords should have lesser search volume.
Filter down your keywords from largest to smallest, and remove those with 0-10 searches.
Next, you want to add another dimension to your keyword strategy by looking at search trends. I love using Google Trends to gauge the popularity of a keyword.
Evaluating ‘vegan diet’ and ‘vegan recipes’ terms on Google Trends
We can see that ‘vegan recipes’ is searched for much more than ‘vegan diet’. And we can get a sense of when it is searched for.
For this keyword, we can see that July is the high point for this keyword.
Nearly every industry has annual trends and forces within the year they need to be aware of. By comparing historic search demand, you can get a sense of how to predict search demand the next year or two.
Analysing Keyword Traffic Potential Using Ahrefs
Traffic is not search volume, it’s not the no. of likes you get. It’s not the no. of people on your email list or social following.
Traffic is the amount of targeted, relevant clicks to your website.
In organic search, traffic potential is an estimation of CTR based on search demand.
Remember our goal to rank on Google is to get relevant traffic, and to do so we need clicks.
The estimated CTR is 30% for a page ranking on position #1. Followed by 15% and 10% for position #2 and #3.
That is how much search traffic you’ll get if you rank on the first page of Google. The above statistic is from a study by AWR, which looked at the organic CTR (click through rate) coming from over 1.5M keywords.
For example, if I have a business selling natural skincare in Australia.
And the keyword term, “natural skincare” gets about 600 monthly searches per month.
If I rank on position #1 for this keyword, I would get 180 clicks based on the 30% CTR estimate. Followed by 60 – 90 clicks if I rank in position #2 and #3.
Now these numbers look pretty bleak. But don’t let these numbers sway you just yet.
Because a page can rank for many, many, many keywords.
One of the best tools for this is with Ahrefs Keyword Explorer tool.
This is the moment we’ll uncover the fullest traffic potential in a given niche.
As you can see, nourishedlife.com.au page ranks for over 312 other keywords.
And happyskincare.com.au page ranks for 506 other keywords too.
This is a super important takeaway – don’t make content strategy decisions based on the search volume of a single keyword.
To develop your keyword strategy, find out what other keywords the top ranking pages ranks for.
On Ahrefs, you can simply click on the keywords column and be directed to the Organic Keywords Ranking Report:
From here we know that nourishedlife.com also ranks for “organic skincare australia”, “organic skincare”, “organic face cream”, “organic face products”.
This gives us some insight into what keyword topics are proven to work and what users are searching for.
Armed with this huge list of long-tail keywords and sub topic ideas, you can get a sense of the true traffic potential of this niche.
Keyword universe is the full amount of keywords that are available to your business and industry.
Earlier we talked about how a single website can rank for hundreds and even thousands of keywords.
Now let’s bring that concept to full circle by developing your keyword universe.
The term, “universe” sounds pretty cool. Rightfully so.
Your keyword universe is the total number of keywords and search term phrases you want to rank for. These keywords bring targeted, relevant traffic to your site and contributes to your bottomline ($$$).
Divide your keyword universe into 2 groups
(i) Goal keywords: These are keywords you want to rank for
- New keywords that you are not tracking or ranking for but highly relevant to your business
- Significant search volume, with at least 100 monthly searches
- No content created yet to target these keywords
(ii) Tracked keywords: These are keywords you already rank for
- Current keywords you are already tracking and may be ranking for. But not ranking in page 1-5.
- Existing content needs optimisation to improve ranking
Track your current keyword positioning with Google Search Console.
Find out what keywords you are ranking for and which pages drive traffic to your site with Google search console.
It’s free to use and one of the best tools at our disposal.
If you have’t set up your search console property yet, stop reading this article and do it now.
Here are some handy guides to help you get started:
How to use Google Search Console for Keyword Insights
Google search console is a treasure trove of keyword insights. Here are 3 of the most valuable info you can find about your website with it:
- what search queries are leading people to your site?
- what search queries are you appearing for?
- what pages are doing well and driving traffic to your site?
Step 1: Login to search console, in the ‘Search Analytics’ report
Step 2: Select ‘Queries’
Voila! You’ve gathered a massive list of keywords and their traffic potential to kickstart your SEO strategy. How did these tactics work for you? Share your comments below 🙂