Now more than ever, we’re depending on the online world for our day-to-day activities. We’re making use of the web for learning and studying, shopping, paying bills, and for the majority of our entertainment and social needs. This means the need for search engines to provide us with what we’re looking for has never been more relevant.
Google’s algorithm focuses on how to fulfill search intent, and we want Google to see us doing that. We know the accuracy and relevancy of content is imperative so Google thinks we’re the answer to the searcher’s query.
I lead Moz’s onboarding team in Ireland, and keywords are our most discussed topic in one-on-one walkthroughs — you all want to know how to find the best keywords, if you are currently using the most relevant keywords, and what keywords your competitors are using. The Moz Pro tool shows us all this and more.
We want our customers to know the most effective ways to use Moz Pro to get keyword data, so we’ve put together these Daily Fix videos to help you do just that! I would love to hear your opinion on fulfilling search intent and what has yielded good results for your website, so speak to you in the comments section!
Keyword suggestions groups
Is there any way to find keywords that have a similar meaning or are broadly related in meaning so I can focus on similar keywords? How can I see the volume of a group of similar keywords?
In this Daily Fix, Emilie guides you through how to use the “Grouped keywords” filter in the Keyword Explorer tool.
The “Grouped keywords” filter gives you an idea of the volume for your area of interest, rather than focusing solely on the volume of one keyword.
Does Moz have anything to help me create better content relating to my keywords, or to help me start my keyword competitive analysis?
In this Daily Fix, Megan shows us how to use the content suggestions section in the Page Optimization tool to help build better content in relation to your keyword topic.
This can also help you get ideas for keywords to research based on the content suggestions provided.
This section is based on a specific URL and keyword pairing, and shows other keywords commonly found in the highly-ranked search results which contain your initial keyword.
What keywords am I ranking for that I’m not aware of?
What if I start ranking for other keywords after I create my campaign, does Moz track this data?
In this Daily Fix, Emilie explains how to find keywords that may be sending your site traffic, and for which your site is already ranking but you’re not tracking.
Click on the “Track” button to add these opportunities to your campaign, and start collecting data to see where you’re ranking for each keyword.
Finding ranking keywords
How do I know what I’m already ranking for?
How can I see what keywords my competitors are ranking for?
In this Daily Fix, I demonstrate how to find any website’s ranking keywords. You can see your website’s ranking keywords, or find those of competitors. You can also see pages associated with ranking positions, which will help with content ideas.
Having this information allows you to start your competitor analysis. You can use your keyword list feature and have a list for each competitor to get a better understanding of potential keyword opportunities available to you.
The keyword list overview helps to compare metrics across groups of keywords, which will help you see low hanging fruit.
Can Moz give me suggestions of keywords I might not have thought of? How do I know what questions my customers could be asking?
In this Daily Fix, Michael shows you how to use the suggestions filter in Keyword Explorer to find useful keywords. This can be a great source for content suggestions, example ideas for your blog, or potential FAQs on your website.
It can also help you find topics that are related to your keyword so you can provide the content your customers really want to see.
For the last decade, I’ve touted the enormous long-term value of a dualistic approach to content marketing for SEO.
By leveraging data-centered campaigns, paired with personalized outreach to top publishers, we regularly garner earned media placements for our clients.
In rare cases, we create content that generates results so far beyond what was anticipated that a single project can greatly move the needle.
I’m going to walk through one such instance to reveal how it all works together, what can be learned from this experience, and the type of result it can achieve.
While typically you need to invest in ongoing content generation and promotion, extraordinary examples like these demonstrate the impact this kind of work has over the long-term.
Content marketing + digital PR case study: ADT
ADT is a household name with good domain authority, providing a great base to start from.
We knew that the content we’d create would likely have a leg up in terms of ranking potential, especially if that content addressed many potential high-intent keywords.
After speaking with ADT, we determined our joint goal was to create a piece of content that could earn dozens to hundreds of links from top publishers, with another focus on earning links from local news publications.
The client had the idea to create a crime map tool for ADT.com, and it fit the bill for everything we typically look for in a piece of content. But for the purpose of this article, I’ll examine what makes it ideal.
Say you were starting from scratch. You can start with a simple Google search of “crime,” which would serve as a reminder of how localized the topic is.
Just from this search alone, you can identify the desire for crime maps specifically, and you can consider why someone would search for a crime map:
To identify crime in their area
To investigate the crime in places they’re looking to visit
To investigate the crime in places they’re looking to move
Because people might not want to know just about the areas right around where they live, it was a strong idea to create a comprehensive, interactive crime mapping tool that gives users the ability to search local areas and see detailed, local-level crime statistics.
This concept had a high chance of success for other reasons as well, including:
1. It has a practical use. Not all content necessarily needs to be practical — it depends on the industry you’re in and whether you can get by with entertainment value. If it’s not practical, it should reveal insights that speak to the human experience and inform a reader about their context in the world. We actually added this element in the crime map project by building in functionality where you can compare the crime rate in your area to national averages.
However, having a practical element (or actionable advice) means your content has built-in value. It communicates that you care about the person reading it, and they engage with the content more because they feel like they can do something with the information.
2. It’s data-based, making it authoritative and accurate. It’s very difficult these days to pitch publishers anything that isn’t data-based. Not only does it add credibility to what you’re working on, but showing that you did your research also indicates that you’re an authority (or becoming an authority) on the subject. I’ll dive into more on this toward the end of the article.
3. The data can be tailored to countless local angles. If your goal is to build as many valuable links and as much general brand awareness as possible, you should always consider how to localize your content.
This has to happen at the beginning when you’re collecting your data. Ask yourself: Is the data set comprehensive enough that insights about different segments, like geographic locations, can be gathered? The more people who can connect with and “see” themselves in your content by having it be as personalized as possible, the better.
4. It invokes emotions like safety and concern for loved ones. Tapping into emotional concepts is always a good strategy when creating content. Crime and security inherently come with some obvious emotions: fear, concern, pride in protecting your family, etc. If you’re in a niche that doesn’t seem to have straightforward ties to emotion, ask yourself these questions to reveal the emotions at work in the background:
Why do people care about this?
What is our audience’s biggest struggle?
What might our audience worry most about?
For example, while it doesn’t seem so on the surface, personal finance can be extremely emotional. It involves the way people lead their lives and is tied to the guilt of not saving enough, the pride of being on top of their finances, the fear they won’t have enough money to retire, etc. No matter what vertical you’re in, there are emotions involved, and tapping into them with empathy can make your content exponentially more compelling and helpful.
5. As a security company, it makes perfect sense for ADT to be the brand that’s offering a resource where people can check the crime rates all over the country. When you have this sort of brand alignment with an idea, it’s clear to publishers and readers alike why the brand created it, and it helps build trust.
Always consider these types of criteria when you move forward on a content concept.
Because of the local/regional aspect of the interactive, our outreach approach was to pitch regional news publishers with the exclusive coverage.
We customized pitches for publishers by state for our initial outreach. Here is a sample pitch similar to the one that successfully landed coverage:
Hi [Website Name] team,
In the wake of natural disasters like Hurricane Florence, fears of looting and other forms of crime are often heightened. The newly released ADT crime map wants residents to be aware of crime hot spots in their neighborhoods and use precautionary measures to prevent being victims of crime, especially during hurricane season.
The interactive map allows users to look up specific crime data and compare it to national averages to determine how much crime is happening in their area. For example, Florida’s overall crime rate is 1.21x higher than the national average. That said, the murder rate is relatively low when compared to the rest of the nation (0.03x less).
Interested in covering this so that your readers can stay as safe as possible under any circumstance? If so, feel free to use this press release or graphics from the map. We just ask that you attribute ADT by linking to the Crime Map somewhere in your coverage.
Each pitch was personalized by adjusting the first and second paragraph to include locally relevant details for that area.
This regional outreach strategy had a high chance of success because:
The content was highly relevant to local news publishers
Local news publications are often the best syndicators
We put together a new, exclusive resource that many consumers would find helpful
Offering content as an exclusive makes it especially newsworthy and appealing to writers
In this case, the exclusive was given to ABCActionNews.com, a Tampa Bay, Florida ABC affiliate.
Luckily, the publisher liked the story so much, they decided to include it in that day’s nightly news coverage. As one of the largest local news affiliates in that area, this coverage was likely seen on over 25,000 local televisions.
We continued pitching the story, attempting to exhaust our pitch list and support syndication of the exclusive picked up by ABCActionNews.com.
After roughly a month, we compiled a report on all coverage and syndications. We were happy to report to our client that the story was picked up by dozens of local news publishers, eventually generating links from 127 unique linking domains per Ahrefs.
The impact on search
A graph of acquired links shows a very organic progression — something we see often when a story syndicates well across many domains.
Almost immediately the page began ranking — likely a result of the ADT site’s awesome existing domain authority, topical relevance of the project related to the domain, and the massive injection of new unique links to the crime maps page.
Don’t have high domain authority?
While having an authoritative brand can make this whole strategy a bit easier, that doesn’t mean it can’t work for you if you are newer or are trying to keep up with huge, household-name competitors.
It just means it’s even more important that you use data-focused content. We’ve always thought that using data as a foundation for content was the best way to build authority, but a recent study we did with BuzzStream about authoritative content confirmed that.
Having an authoritative methodology can increase the chances people trust your content — and thus your brand — by extension. And when you’re trying to get attention in competitive spaces, every authority signal matters.
Regarding promotions, all of the tips I’ve provided in this article should work for you. Perhaps when pitching, you can provide a sentence or two describing your brand. It’s also best practice to have someone at your company, either the person who knows the most about the topic or the person who did the research, ready to answer questions that writers may have about the content.
But in general, promotional success will be heavily based on the quality of the content you’re pitching, especially if the writer isn’t familiar with who you are.
Is this type of strategy easy? No. It’s much simpler to pay for links or churn out quick blog posts.
But if you’re looking for long-lasting, sustainable, never-to-be-penalized, link-and-authority-building content, this is your best route.
As we can see here, a combination of existing domain authority, an injection of a large number of new high-authority links, and a topically relevant/related piece of content for the brand can generate huge numbers of new ranking keywords extremely quickly.
If you don’t have that level of domain authority, don’t worry! This strategy can still work for you — just don’t expect it to happen overnight (as that’s so rarely the case for anyone).
It’s an investment, but as we’ve seen time and time again, it pays off exponentially.
To learn more about keyword research, visit the Keyword Research Master Guide!
You don’t want to try to rank for every one of your competitors’ keywords. Like most things with SEO, it’s important to be strategic and intentional with your decisions. In this fan favorite Whiteboard Friday, Rand shares his recommended process for understanding your funnel, identifying the right competitors to track, and prioritizing which of their keywords you ought to target.
Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!
Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. So this week we’re chatting about your competitors’ keywords and which of those competitive keywords you might want to actually target versus not.
Many folks use tools, like SEMrush and Ahrefs and KeywordSpy and Spyfu and Moz’s Keyword Explorer, which now has this feature too, where they look at: What are the keywords that my competitors rank for, that I may be interested in? This is actually a pretty smart way to do keyword research. Not the only way, but a smart way to do it. But the challenge comes in when you start looking at your competitors’ keywords and then realizing actually which of these should I go after and in what priority order. In the world of competitive keywords, there’s actually a little bit of a difference between classic keyword research.
So here I’ve plugged in Hammer and Heels, which is a small, online furniture store that has some cool designer furniture, and Dania Furniture, which is a competitor of theirs — they’re local in the Seattle area, but carry sort of modern, Scandinavian furniture — and IndustrialHome.com, similar space. So all three of these in a similar space, and you can see sort of keywords that return that several of these, one or more of these rank for. I put together difficulty, volume, and organic click-through rate, which are some of the metrics that you’ll find. You’ll find these metrics actually in most of the tools that I just mentioned.
So when I’m looking at this list, which ones do I want to actually go after and not, and how do I choose? Well, this is the process I would recommend.
I. Try and make sure you first understand your keyword to conversion funnel.
So if you’ve got a classic sort of funnel, you have people buying down here — this is a purchase — and you have people who search for particular keywords up here, and if you understand which people you lose and which people actually make it through the buying process, that’s going to be very helpful in knowing which of these terms and phrases and which types of these terms and phrases to actually go after, because in general, when you’re prioritizing competitive keywords, you probably don’t want to be going after these keywords that send traffic but don’t turn into conversions, unless that’s actually your goal. If your goal is raw traffic only, maybe because you serve advertising or other things, or because you know that you can capture a lot of folks very well through retargeting, for example maybe Hammer and Heels says, “Hey, the biggest traffic funnel we can get because we know, with our retargeting campaigns, even if a keyword brings us someone who doesn’t convert, we can convert them later very successfully,” fine. Go ahead.
II. Choose competitors that tend to target the same audience(s).
So the people you plug in here should tend to be competitors that tend to target the same audiences. Otherwise, your relevance and your conversion get really hard. For example, I could have used West Elm, which does generally modern furniture as well, but they’re very, very broad. They target just about everyone. I could have done Ethan Allen, which is sort of a very classic, old-school furniture maker. Probably a really different audience than these three websites. I could have done IKEA, which is sort of a low market brand for everybody. Again, not kind of the match. So when you are targeting conversion heavy, assuming that these folks were going after mostly conversion focused or retargeting focused rather than raw traffic, my suggestion would be strongly to go after sites with the same audience as you.
If you’re having trouble figuring out who those people are, one suggestion is to check out a tool called SimilarWeb. It’s expensive, but very powerful. You can plug in a domain and see what other domains people are likely to visit in that same space and what has audience overlap.
III. The keyword selection process should follow some of these rules:
A. Are easiest first.
So I would go after the ones that tend to be, that I think are going to be most likely for me to be able to rank for easiest. Why do I recommend that? Because it’s tough in SEO with a lot of campaigns to get budget and buy-in unless you can show progress early. So any time you can choose the easiest ones first, you’re going to be more successful. That’s low difficulty, high odds of success, high odds that you actually have the team needed to make the content necessary to rank. I wouldn’t go after competitive brands here.
B. Are similar to keywords you target that convert well now.
So if you understand this funnel well, you can use your AdWords campaign particularly well for this. So you look at your paid keywords and which ones send you highly converting traffic, boom. If you see that lighting is really successful for our furniture brand, “Oh, well look, glass globe chandelier, that’s got some nice volume. Let’s go after that because lighting already works for us.”
Of course, you want ones that fit your existing site structure. So if you say, “Oh, we’re going to have to make a blog for this, oh we need a news section, oh we need a different type of UI or UX experience before we can successfully target the content for this keyword,” I’d push that down a little further.
C. High volume, low difficulty, high organic click-through rate, or SERP features you can reach.
So basically, when you look at difficulty, that’s telling you how hard is it for me to rank for this potential keyword. If I look in here and I see some 50 and 60s, but I actually see a good number in the 30s and 40s, I would think that glass globe chandelier, S-shaped couch, industrial home furniture, these are pretty approachable. That’s impressive stuff.
Volume, I want as high as I can get, but oftentimes high volume leads to very high difficulty. Organic click-through rate percentage, this is essentially saying what percent of people click on the 10 blue link style, organic search results. Classic SEO will help get me there. However, if you see low numbers, like a 55% for this type of chair, you might take a look at those search results and see that a lot of images are taking up the other organic click-through, and you might say, “Hey, let’s go after image SEO as well.” So it’s not just organic click-through rate. You can also target SERP features.
D. Are brands you carry/serve, generally not competitor’s brand names.
Then last, but not least, I would urge you to go after brands when you carry and serve them, but not when you don’t. So if this Ekornes chair is something that your furniture store, that Hammers and Heels actually carries, great. But if it’s something that’s exclusive to Dania, I wouldn’t go after it. I would generally not go after competitors’ brand names or branded product names with an exception, and I actually used this site to highlight this. Industrial Home Furniture is both a branded term, because it’s the name of this website — Industrial Home Furniture is their brand — and it’s also a generic. So in those cases, I would tell you, yes, it probably makes sense to go after a category like that.
If you follow these rules, you can generally use competitive intel on keywords to build up a really nice portfolio of targetable, high potential keywords that can bring you some serious SEO returns.
Look forward to your comments and we’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.
For more on competitor analysis, join our upcoming webinar on Wednesday March 11 at 10am PST: Competitive Analysis for SEO: Size Up & Surpass Your Search Rivals, hosted by Moz’s Director of Growth Marketing Kelly Cooper:
What keywords do your top competitors both rank for that you’re missing out on? How do you know how much top real estate your URL or page owns in the SERPs? How can you discover answers to your searchers’ most common questions and beef up that FAQ page?
We can answer all of those questions with some super-simple workflows using Keyword Explorer. In our last post in this series, we covered how to find ranking keywords, uncover new opportunities, check rankings, and more. This time around, we’re diving into three more quick and easy workflows you can use to bolster your keyword research and work smarter, not harder.
Ready to get started? Follow along in the tool with Britney Muller as she shares her very favorite Keyword Explorer features:
And remember, if you have a Moz Community account that you use to thumbs-up and comment on Moz Blog posts, you already have free access to Keyword Explorer — let’s show you how to use it!
1. How to discover competitive keyword opportunities
This is my favorite feature of all in Keyword Explorer and let me explain why. Let’s say that you’re this website, pimylifeup.com. They create projects and tutorials on Raspberry Pis. The two competing websites for Raspberry Pi, which is a mini computer, are raspberrypi.org and canakit.com.
If this is your site, we could paste that in here, select Root Domain, and do a search. Then we’re going to grab these other two sites. We’re going to copy their URLs and enter them in these additional site areas.
This is essentially going to look at the ranking keywords for your competitive sites that your site doesn’t rank for. So it’s a really great, high-level overview of what those keywords are.
Pi My Life Up is pretty good. Then you can view the Domain Authority for the sites. Where it gets really exciting is over in Ranking Keywords. Here you can see this is raspberrypi.org, and this is the amount of keywords that they rank for. This blue circle is Pi My Life Up, and then the yellow is CanaKit.
What you want to look at are the keywords that both CanaKit and raspberrypi.org right here rank for that you don’t. So you click on the competing overlap keywords, and they will populate here below. You can export all of them, which is great.
Or you could filter by various things, like search volume or difficulty in ranking. What I suggest doing is going through some of these by hand and selecting the keywords that you think might be opportunities for your site.
From here, what you can do is, after you select and click around to the ones that you want, you can add them to a keyword list. So you can keep track of all of these keywords. Let’s do Pi Opportunities. I’ve already saved these in a list over here that’s populated.
From a high-level overview, you can see what the popular SERP features are. There are lots of images for these competing keywords. If I want to be competitive in those keyword spaces, I know I need to create content that has images. There are also lots of related questions.
Then from here, I can filter by SERP features or organic click-through rates. Maybe most interestingly I can add a URL. Let’s say we’ll enter Pi My Life Up, and again we’re not seeing any rankings here because this was that overlap that Pi My Life Up didn’t rank for but the two competitive sites do.
This is confirming that we don’t currently rank for any of these keywords, but we can work on that. What’s so great about these saved lists is that you can come back after a couple of weeks or a couple of months and you can select all of the keywords and refresh the data.
You might want to come back to this keyword list, refresh it, enter in your URL, and then filter by rank and see where you’re starting to pop up for these keyword terms. It’s a really exciting way to dig into the competitive keyword space. There’s tons you can do with this, but this was the high-level overview of finding those keywords that your competitors currently rank for that you don’t.
2. How to discover a URL or an exact page’s ranking distribution of keywords
You can just paste in the URL or an exact page into Keyword Explorer. Let’s just use webmd.com. From here, you get the Overview page. But if you scroll down to the very bottom, you see the ranking distribution.
You can see how many keywords are currently in positions 1 to 3 versus 4 to 10, all the way down to 41 to 50.
3. How to discover common keyword questions
This is one of my favorite features that we offer with Keyword Explorer. Just put in your keyword. Click Search, and from here you can navigate over to Keyword Suggestions. In this view, you can filter display keyword suggestions that are questions.
Here you’ll see all of the results that are questions, and you can sort by various things. You can add all of these to a list, incorporate them into an FAQ page, whatever your end goal is.
Discover anything new or especially useful? Let us know on Twitter or here in the comments, and keep an eye out for more ways to use your everyday SEO tools to level up your workflows.
Have you ever wished there were an easy way to see all the top keywords your site is ranking for? How about a competitor’s? What about those times when you’re stumped trying to come up with keywords related to your core topic, or want to know the questions people are asking around your keywords?
There’s plenty of keyword research workflow gold to be uncovered in Keyword Explorer. It’s a tool that can save you a ton of time when it comes to both general keyword research and the nitty-gritty details. And time and again, we hear from folks who are surprised that a tool they use all the time can do [insert cool and helpful thing here] — they had no idea!
Well, let’s remedy that! Starting with today’s post, we’ll be publishing a series of quick videos put together by our own brilliant SEO scientist (and, according to Google, the smartest SEO in the world) Britney Muller. Each one will highlight one super useful workflow to solve a keyword research problem, and most are quick — just under a couple of minutes. Take a gander at the videos or skim the transcripts to find a workflow that catches your eye, and if you’re the type of person who likes to try it out in real time, head to the tool and give it a spin (if you have a Moz Community account like most Moz Blog readers, you already have free access):
You can do this a couple of ways. One is just to enter in a head keyword term that you want to explore — so maybe that’s “SEO” — and you can click Search. From here, you can go to Keyword Suggestions, where you can find all sorts of other keywords relevant to the keyword “SEO.”
We have a couple filters available to help you narrow down that search a little bit better. Here, without doing any filtering, you can see all of these keywords, and they’re ranked by relevancy and then search volume. So you do tend to see the higher search volume keywords at the top.
Save keyword suggestions in a list
But you can go through here and click the keywords that you want to save for your list. You can also do some filtering. We could group keywords by low lexical similarity. What this means is it’s basically just going to take somewhat similar keywords and batch them together for you to make it a bit easier.
Here you can see there are 141 group keywords under “SEO.” Fifty keywords have fallen under “SEO services” and so on. This gives you a higher level, topical awareness of what the keywords look like. If you were to select these groups, you could add a list for these.
When I say add list, I mean you can just save them in a keyword list that you can refer back to time and time again. These lists are amazing, one of my favorite features. What you would basically do is create a new list. I’m just going to call it Test. That adds all of your selected keywords to a list. You can continue adding keywords by different filters.
Filter by which keywords are questions
One of my other favorite things to filter by is “Are questions.” This will give you keywords that are actual questions, and it’s really neat to be able to try to bake these into your content marketing or an FAQ page. Really helpful. You can select all up here. Then I can just add that to that SEO Test list that we already created. I hope this gives you an idea of how to use some of these general filters.
Filter based on closely or broadly related topics and synonyms
You can also filter based on closely related topics, broadly related topics and synonyms. Keywords with similar result pages is very interesting. You can really play around with both of these filters.
Filter by volume
You can also filter by volume. If you are trying to go after those high volume keywords, maybe you set a filter for here. Maybe you’re looking for long tail keywords, and then you’re going to look a little bit on the smaller search volume end here. These can all help in playing around and discovering more keywords.
Find the keywords a domain currently ranks for
Another thing that you can do to expand your keyword research is by entering in a domain. You can see that this changed to root domain when I entered moz.com. If you click Search, you’re going to get all of the keywords that that domain currently ranks for, which is really powerful. You could see all of the ranking keywords, add that to a list, and monitor how your website is performing.
Find competitors’ keywords
If you want to get really strategic, you can plug in some of your competitor sites and see what their keywords are. These are all things that you can do to expand your keyword research set. From there, you’re going to hopefully have one or a couple keyword lists that house all of this data for you to better strategically route your SEO strategy.
If we know that related questions are occurring most often, you can create strategic content around that. The opportunities here with these filters and sorts for keyword opportunities are endless.
2. How to discover ranking keywords for a particular domain or an exact page
See all the keywords a particular domain ranks for
This is super easy to do in Keyword Explorer. You just go to the main search bar. Let’s just throw in moz.com for example. I can see all the keywords that currently rank for moz.com.
We’re seeing over 114,000, and we get this really beautiful, high-level overview as to what that looks like. You can see the ranking distribution, and then you can even go into all of those ranking keywords in this tab here, which is really cool.
See all the keywords a specific page ranks for
You can do the same exact thing for a specific page. So let’s take the Beginner’s Guide. This will toggle to Exact Page, and you just click Search. Here we’re going to see that it ranks for 804 keywords. You get to know exactly what those are, what the difficulty is, the monthly search volume.
Keep track of those keywords in a list
You can add these things to a list to keep an eye on. It’s also great to do for competitive pages that appear to be doing very well or popular things occurring in your space. But this is just a quick and easy way to see what root domains or exact pages are currently ranking for.
3. How to quickly find keyword opportunities for a URL or a specific page
Find lower-ranking keywords that could be improved upon
I’m just going to paste in the URL to the Beginner’s Guide to SEO in Keyword Explorer. I’m going to look at all of the ranking keywords for this URL, and what I want to do is I want to sort by rank.
I want to see what’s ranking between 4 to 50 and see where or what keywords aren’t doing so well that we could improve upon. Right away we’re seeing this huge monthly search volume keyword, “SEO best practices,” and we’re ranking number 4.
It can definitely be improved upon. You can also go ahead and take a look at keywords that you rank for outside of page 1, meaning you rank 11 or beyond for these keywords. These could definitely also be improved upon. You can save these keywords to a list.
You can export them and strategically create content to improve those results.
4. How to check rankings for a set of keywords
Use keyword lists to check rankings for a subset of keywords
This is pretty easy. So let’s say you have a keyword list for your target keywords. Here I’ve got an SEO Test keyword list. I want to see how Moz is ranking for these keywords.
This is where you would just add Check Rankings For and add your URL. I’m just going to put moz.com, check rankings, and I can immediately see how well we’re doing for these specific keywords.
I can filter highest to lowest and vice versa.
5. How to track your keywords
Set up a Campaign
If you don’t already have a list of your keywords that you would like to track, I suggest watching the General Keyword Research video above to help discover some of those keywords. But if you already have the keywords you know that you want to track for a particular site, definitely set up an account with Moz Pro and set up a Campaign.
It walks you through all of the steps to set up a particular Campaign for a URL. If you already have your Campaign set up, for example this is my Moz Campaign and I want to add say a new list of keywords to track, what you can do is you can come into this dashboard view and then go to Rankings.
If you scroll down here, you can add keywords. So let’s say Moz is breaking into the conversion rate optimization space. I can paste in a list of my CRO keywords, and then I can add a label.
Use keyword labels to track progress on topics over time
Now that’s going to append that tag so I can filter by just CRO keywords. Then I’m going to click Add Keywords. This is going to take a little while to start to kick into gear basically.
But once it starts tracking, once these keywords are added, you’ll get to see them historically over time and even you against your competitors. It’s a really great way to monitor how you’re doing with keywords, where you’re seeing big drops or gains, and how you can better pivot your strategy to target those things.
Discover anything new or especially useful? Let us know on Twitter or here in the comments, and keep an eye out for more quick and fun keyword research workflow videos in the coming weeks — we’ve got some good stuff coming your way, from finding organic CTR for a keyword to discovering SERP feature opportunities and more.
Even though blogging has been around for a while, it looks a lot different today than it did in the early 2000s. In those days, people read your blog because they followed it (anyone else have a few old .blogspot blogs floating around out there?) or subscribed to your RSS feed.
Online behavior has changed since then. While some people might stumble onto a blog they like and subscribe to its email list for updates, many people discover blog content through search engines. With more people searching than ever before, it’s a great time for bloggers to explore using keyword research in their content strategy.
This post was written for those that may be new to blogging, as well as those who have been blogging for some time but are just now starting to explore keyword research.
Ready? It’s time to dive into the beginner’s guide to keyword research for bloggers!
What are keywords?
Keywords are the words someone types (or speaks!) into a search engine.
People use search engines for all sorts of things — things like looking up movie times, seeing what the day’s weather will be like, or getting their local pizza place’s number. Every search is a quest for information, and the goal of search engines like Google is to supply the searcher with a satisfying answer as quickly as possible.
What does this mean for you as a blogger? It means that if you want to write for these searchers, you’ll need to know the questions they’re asking (keywords) and deliver the answer in your blog posts.
How will keywords change my blog strategy?
Blog posts developed on the basis of keyword research are different from other types of blog posts in that they focus on answering an existing question.
Contrast this with something like a blog post about a personal experience, or a post introducing a completely new idea — in both these scenarios, because your content doesn’t answer an existing question, it likely won’t get much traffic from search engines like Google, simply because no one is searching for it.
Does that mean you can only write to answer existing questions? Not at all! Even topics with no search demand could get great engagement and traffic on other channels like Facebook or Twitter, but if you want long-term free traffic, the best place to get it is from Google, and the best way to get Google to send you that traffic is to build your blogs on the foundation of keyword research.
This tool allows you to find new keyword ideas two main ways: by typing in a word or a phrase and getting back related keywords (the “Explore by Keyword” feature):
…or by typing in a page/website and getting back keywords that page or website ranks for (the “Explore by Site” feature):
Another great feature is the filter for “are questions” — this allows you to see only keywords that are formatted as questions. Since answering your audience’s questions is such a key component of optimizing your content for search, this is a great tool to give you insight into what your audience wants to know.
What keywords do I pick?
Just because you found a keyword in a keyword research tool doesn’t necessarily mean you should use it in your blogging strategy. Once you have a list of keywords, it’s a good idea to whittle it down. Here’s how.
Choose keywords that match your audience
Knowing your audience is a prerequisite for keyword research because it helps you filter out keywords that, although technically related to your topic, are a mismatch for your audience.
If you haven’t done so yet, document an ideal audience for your blog. For example, if you run a fitness blog, you could write down something as simple as “fitness enthusiasts.” You could also go a bit deeper and create audience personas, full profiles of your ideal audience that include things like age, demographics, and interests.
The deeper your understanding of your ideal audience, the easier it will be to detect which keywords out of the bunch they would have searched for.
Evaluate each keyword’s difficulty score
You may also want to whittle down your keyword list to leave only those with an appropriate Difficulty Score, which Keyword Explorer will assign to every keyword. That score is determined by the strength of the pages that are currently ranking on page 1 for that keyword.
Search volume gives you an estimate of how many people are searching for that keyword every month. It’s great to choose keywords that lots of people are searching for, but remember that quantity doesn’t always equal quality. You may opt for a lower-volume keyword because it’s much more relevant to your audience and your goals.
How do I use the keywords on my page?
When Google’s algorithm was less mature than it is today, it was easy to get your page to rank at the top of search results for certain phrases by repeating that keyword many times on the page.
Over the years though, Google has gotten better at ranking pages that answer the query, rather than just repeat it on the page. This is important to keep in mind because it’s tempting to think that all you have to do with your keyword list is add those words to your pages. To perform well in search engines though, you have to provide an answer to those queries that’s better than anything else out there.
Here are some tips for using keywords to guide your blog content:
Keywords are the input. You’re creating the output. Instead of asking yourself “How can I include this keyword on my page?” ask yourself, “How can I answer this question?”
You don’t have to have a separate page for every keyword you want to rank for. If you’re writing a blog post about “choosing the best running shoes,” for example, it makes perfect sense to answer multiple questions related to that topic within the same post, such as “road vs. trail running shoes” and “running shoe features.”
Check out the pages that are currently ranking for your target keyword and think about how you can create a page better than that.
Where do I go from here?
The best thing to do next is to dive in and try it for yourself! As with most things, keyword research gets easier once you start to apply it.
A huge part of growing your blog effectively is developing a content strategy. There’s a fantastic free video course from HubSpot that walks you through developing your own content strategy, including how to use Moz Keyword Explorer for your keyword research. If you’re a visual learner like me, you should find it helpful!
The most important thing to remember is that offering the right content tells you what your audience wants to know. As a blogger, this insight is invaluable! Write to answer their questions, and they’ll be more likely to find your content in search engines.
If you’re old in SEO years, you remember the day [not provided] was introduced. It was a dark, dark day. SEOs lost a vast amount of trusty information. Click data. Conversion data. This was incredibly valuable, allowing SEOs to prioritize their targets.
Google said the info was removed for security purposes, while suspicious SEOs thought this was a push towards spending more on AdWords (now Google Ads). I get it — since AdWords would give you the keyword data SEOs cherished, the “controversy” was warranted, in my opinion. The truth is out there.
But we’ve moved on, and learned to live with the situation. Then a few years later, Google Webmaster Tools (now Search Console) started providing some of the keyword data in the Search Analytics report. Through the years, the report got better and better.
But there’s still a finite set of keywords in the interface. You can’t get more than 999 in your report.
Guess what? Google has more data for you!
The Google Search Console API is your friend. This summer it became even friendlier, providing 16 months worth of data. What you may not know is this API can give you more than 999 keywords. By way of example, the API provides more than 45,000 for our Greenlane site. And we’re not even a very large site. That’s right — the API can give you keywords, clicks, average position, impressions, and CTR %.
How to easily leverage the API
If you’re not very technical and the thought of an API frightens you, I promise there’s nothing to fear. I’m going to show you a way to leverage the data using Google Sheets.
If you haven’t heard of Google Sheets, it’s one of several tools Google provides for free. This directly competes with Microsoft Excel. It’s a cloud-based spreadsheet that works exceptionally well.
If you aren’t familiar with Supermetrics, it’s an add-on for Google Sheets that allows data to be pulled in from other sources. In this case, one of the sources will be Google Search Console. Now, while Supermetrics has a free trial, paid is the way to go. It’s worth it!
Installation of Supermetrics:
Open Google Sheets and click the Add-On option
Click Get Add-Ons
A window will open where you can search for Supermetrics. It will look like this:
From there, just follow the steps. It will immediately ask to connect to your Google account. I’m sure you’ve seen this kind of dialog box before:
You’ll be greeted with a message for launching the newly installed add-on. Just follow the prompts to launch. Next you’ll see a new window to the right of your Google Sheet.
At this point, you should see the following note:
Great, you’re logged into Google Search Console! Now let’s run your first query. Pick an account from the list below.
Next, all you have to do is work down the list in Supermetrics. Data Source, Select Sites, and Select Dates are pretty self-explanatory. When you reach the “Select metrics” toggle, choose Impressions, Clicks, CTR (%), and Average Position.
When you reach “Split by,” choose Search Query as the Split to rows option. And pick a large number for number of rows to fetch. If you also want the page URLs (perhaps you’d like your data divided by the page level), you just need to add Full URL as well.
You can play with the other Filter and Options if you’d like, but you’re ready to click Apply Changes and receive the data. It should compile like this:
Got the data. Now what?
Sometimes optimization is about taking something that’s working, and making it work better. This data can show you which keywords and topics are important to your audience. It’s also a clue towards what Google thinks you’re important for (thus, rewarding you with clicks).
SEMrush and Ahrefs can provide ranking keyword data with their estimated clicks, but impressions is an interesting metric here. High impression and low clicks? Maybe your title and description tags aren’t compelling enough. It’s also fun to VLOOKUP their data against this, to see just how accurate they are (or are not). Or you can use a tool like PowerBI to append other customer or paid search metrics to paint a bigger picture of your visitors’ mindset.
Sometimes the littlest hacks are the most fun. Google commonly holds some data back through their free products (the Greenlane Indexation Tester is a good example with the old interface). We know Search Planner and Google Analytics have more than they share. But in those cases, where directional information can sometimes be enough, digging out even more of your impactful keyword data is pure gold.