How to Master Keyword Research (Even if SEO Makes You Feel Lost) | Maddy Osman | Skillshare

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How to Master Keyword Research (Even if SEO Makes You Feel Lost)

teacher avatar Maddy Osman, SEO Content Strategist at The Blogsmith

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      What You'll Learn in This Class


    • 2.

      #1: What is Keyword Research?


    • 3.

      #2: Focusing on the Long Tail


    • 4.

      #3: Starting with a Seed Keyword


    • 5.

      #4: Determining Keyword Intent/Relevance


    • 6.

      #5: The Implication of Search Volume


    • 7.

      #6: Finding Your Ideal Keyword Difficulty


    • 8.

      #7: Incorporating Semantic Keywords


    • 9.

      #8: Considering Timeliness


    • 10.

      #9: Effectively Using Keywords in Your Content


    • 11.

      #10: Using Competitor Research to Inform Content Decisions


    • 12.

      #11: Using Rank Tracking Tools to Benchmark Your Efforts


    • 13.

      #12: Tools to Assist Your Efforts


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About This Class

Keyword research is one of the most important foundational elements of SEO. SEO Content Strategist Maddy Osman shares her detailed approach to keyword research, which includes an emphasis on data and human intuition working in tandem with each other. 

In this keyword research-focused class, you'll learn:

  • The basics regarding how keyword research impacts efforts with onsite SEO, backlink building, and technical SEO (website structure).
  • Multiple different approaches to finding keywords, even if you're struggling to find the right terminology to start your search.
  • The importance of relevance and intent and how to create a content calendar that addresses searchers at various stages in the buyer's journey.
  • How to validate keyword ideas based on search volume and keyword difficulty.
  • How to rank for more than one primary keyword by incorporating semantic keywords.
  • How to effectively use keywords in content to properly signal Google.
  • Various tools for doing keyword research, tracking rankings, and spying on the competition (including free and paid options).
  • ...and so much more!

I created this class because keyword research is a multi-faceted topic with multiple sides that must be considered to be effective. This process is based on my work with high-authority publications like Search Engine Journal, Sprout Social, and Kinsta.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Maddy Osman

SEO Content Strategist at The Blogsmith


Hey all! I'm Maddy Osman, or as my clients know me, The Blogsmith. I write for high-authority publications like Search Engine Journal, GoDaddy, WPMU Dev, and Sprout Social.

Check out my new book, Writing for Humans and Robots: The New Rules of Content Style. It's an essential reference for online content creators and a modern-day homage to The Elements of Style.

It's hard for me to sit still, and I'm the co-organizer of WordCamp Denver and the Denver chapter of Freelancers Union. I'm also on the board for BMA Colorado in charge of social media.

After a few years in sales, I was feeling unfulfilled and decided to go out on my own. Thanks to many years of blogging and web development (and networking!), I started my freelance career off with a bang, and ... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. What You'll Learn in This Class: Hey, still share. My name is Maddie Ottesen, and I recently created this class about keyword research based on the fact that most people I know who know that I do ASIO stuff always come to me with questions about keyword research and what it means, how to do it properly and what tools that you can use. Teoh. A sister efforts. So this class is going to go through both sort of the robot side of keyword research and how you have to use keywords to satisfy search engine spiders and Teoh align with the type of content that they want to serve up to people who are using search as well as the human element in terms of determining what's the right key word for a certain topic in order to satisfy that end users expectations in terms of what they typed in and what they expect to find in the content you're creating. So we're going to go and attack this topic from a lot of different angles again. This is based on my own process, creating a CEO content for brands like search engine journal, sprout social and big commerce. So if you want to create great s e o content. This is really the place where it starts. This is the most important foundational element. There are other pieces of the puzzle that factor in such as your technical website structure and you know whether or not you have any back links on your website. But even before you think about those things, this is what you need to focus on. And if you do a good job here, the rest of these things will fall into place, at least in terms of the back legs. So without further ado, um, here's my class and I'm excited to see what you think. And you know what feedback you having, what questions you have. I will be available for any sorts of, you know, additional information that you might need. 2. #1: What is Keyword Research?: you probably have some sort of basic idea of what keyword research is, maybe even how it relates Tosto in general. But I think right now it's worth taking a step back just to make sure we're on the same page and hopefully you'll learn something new. So my basic definition of keyword research is that it involves the process of using data and intuition to determine which keyword phrase to optimize a piece of content. For To me, this is kind of a relief that it's not just something that involves the use of data. You really also have toe have human judgment and order Teoh adequately find, you know, the right key word for the right content, peace and the into connect to the right audience. So this is something that you know you can learn, and this could be, you know, your drab, even, perhaps, and it's not something that could be easily taken over by a robot, so maybe you'll find some relief in that as well. But the point, but I'm trying to make is that in approach towards successful keyword, research has to involve both data and you know that human element it's not sufficient to just have one on its own. And we're going to attack this topic from, you know, multiple angles throughout this class. So if you watched any of my other s CEO classes on skill share or blogging classes, you'll probably be familiar with my idea that there are essentially three pillars of S e O . Other people might add some or that might have been combined some of these. This is the easiest way for me to describe it in terms of the types of things that I talked about on skill share. So the 1st 1 is your websites technical structure. These are more or less things that impact the user experience, but that Google can measure. So we're talking about, like how fast your website loads. Um, are you using an SSL certificate? Which is that https precursor in your URL to your domain, which Google recently decided that that was a ranking factor and actually told us that which is weird, because a lot of the time they don't tell us what the ranking factors are, and we have to guess on its things like does your website look good on mobile devices to scale nicely for tablet and desktop computer devices as well. Um, so you know, that's one area of S E O that you can affect. Another area by CEO is off site ASIO back links. So back links are kind of an area that are it's harder for you to affect back links because you have to involve third parties. Other websites have to ask them. Teoh, you know, consider you worthy enough to get it back, ling or earn back links by creating great content or otherwise being noteworthy. Um And then what we're gonna talk about in this class is on site ASIO, which has everything to do with content, starting with sort of the foundational element of keyword research. But then also, how do you use that keyword in your content? One thing I did want to mention is even though we're talking about back links as a separate area when compared to onside ASIO which involves content, thes things air definitely influenced by each other. Like I just said, if you if you create great content, that might be a reason for somebody to link to you. But also, um, how people use back links can influence how you'll be able to rank for the keywords that you're creating for your content. So we're not going to get super and death in terms of technical website structure or back links. But the good news is, if you want to learn more about these things, I have other skills share classes. Um, one of them is called something about technical ASIO. One of them's how to get back links without being annoying. So definitely check those out. If those air things that you want to learn more about and like this class, they're definitely geared towards a beginner audience. So don't worry about having any experience going into it. Last thing I want to talk about before we move on to the first up of this process is you need to come into this with an idea of realism around what you can ring for. So you know, Google their their big guys. Or, you know, maybe it's better to use an example that's not Google. Um, so, like, let's say, like the Wall Street Journal, you know, they want to rank for certain key word phrases there, you know, constantly publishing content. People are constantly linking to them, and so it's gonna be easier for them to rank for certain keywords. Then a new site, for example, a new website that hasn't, you know, done anything with US CEO or new site That just is brand new. And, you know it has to kind of earn its, uh, you know, placement on the search engine results pages. So a couple of things to keep in mind. There are over 200 Google ranking factors. Like I said before, we don't know all of that because Google doesn't want to give away all of their secret sauce. Every once in a while they'll confirm things like https, like mobile being a ranking effect, like page speed being a ranking effects. But there are so many things that we don't know keywords and the way that you use keywords or just one or two of those factors. So you know you don't want to put all of your eggs in one basket when it comes to ASIO and Onley focus on these things, but at the same time, keywords air such a great way to connect with your target audience that when you, um, execute a successful keyword research strategy, it can be really beneficial. And so it's definitely worth some of your time, or even, perhaps majority of your time. Um And so, like I said, keywords or just part of the picture. And then the last thing I wanted to mention Teoh is anything after Position 10 on a search engine Results Page is gonna be essentially useless if you Google like, um cerp, which is search engine results page for just an acronym CERP CTR. So click through rate study or something like that. You'll find information about you know what percentage of clicks in search go to the first result versus the second and the third results, and then it's pretty much zero after that. So, um, again, the idea being that you want to be realistic for what you can bring for because otherwise you're probably wasting your time If you're going, Teoh end up it after Position 10 for example. So we'll talk about one of the best strategies to be smart in terms of keyword research. As our first step 3. #2: Focusing on the Long Tail: one of the first things that I want to impress upon you in this topic, doing successful keyword research is the idea that you should focus on the long tail. And what is the long tail you might ask? Well, long tail keywords are simply keyword phrases that consists of more than two words. So you know my involved say, for example, four words, but in the same search frocks. And the way to think about why this is important is because you can use long tail keywords to establish relevance with your ideal target audience, which then, of course, helps you to attract them to your website but speaking their language. But let's get a little bit more specific was an example. So let's say that you have an e commerce store where you're selling sometimes of shoes, but you wouldn't try to optimize your content just for shoes. You want to get more specific you'd want to talk about, you know, are the shoes for men and women. Um, you know, what style are the issues air the sneakers or they high heels? Do you focus on offering certain colors? So, you know, maybe you wanted Teoh optimize around a keyword phrase. Women's, you know, black pumps or something like that. Um, you know, you have to let the keyword research guide you a little bit, but in general, you want to be thinking about these longer tail phrases because a there are a lot more specific than just saying shoes, as I hope that I have impressed upon you here. Of the other thing to keep in mind is that a lot of the low hanging fruits are already gone . So even if you could describe what you're doing with one word, or maybe to its, there's a pretty good chance that somebody's already successfully ranked for that. Which means that it would be harder for you to beat them, especially if you are new to doing S CEO and, you know, trying to rank these things take time. So you want to be focusing on what's realistic, what you can rank for. We're gonna talk a little bit more about metrics you can use to determine that. But again, this is just an important sort of foundational element to consider. Um, so one a couple tools that you can use to discover these long tail keywords based on entering those shorter freezes like shoes like women's shoes. Even, UM, answer the public and uber suggests both of these air free tools that give you data to expand keywords based on what people are actually searching for. A trust is my favorite tool of all time, but it's not free. It's about 100 bucks a month, which is why I will be making suggestions for other tools as well throughout this class. But if you're really serious about keyword research and of content, creation is a major part of your job, at highly suggested least considering investing in a trust and giving it a try after going through this class. So next we're going to talk about the beginnings of the keyword research process. 4. #3: Starting with a Seed Keyword: you'll be happy to know that one of these initial steps in doing Heward research doesn't involve really any sort of understanding of where you want to end up, minus just the basic topic behind what you are going to be creating content for so that a seed keyword is basically this very basic keyword phrase that you're going to be typing in to try to get ideas for what your eventual keyword choice is going to be. So let's just go with my shoe topic that we've been talking about. I've typed in women's high heels on a dress, and it gives me a list of key word ideas that I can expand. It also gives me additional, like report type things besides this having same terms title you see here there are other variations of that that we're gonna talk about in a bit, but as you can see it, Z turning that initial term women's high heels into several suggestions based on you know, the day that that they have in terms of what people are even searching for andan. If you were to click that view all button, you'd get additional data around. You know how likely it is that you could rank for those keywords, the point being that using a tool like a dress and using a basic seed keyword will help you to expand your mind a little bit and see, you know what other options there might be and also what people are actually searching for instead of just guessing at it. So kind of the flip side of a seed keyword is a parent topic. This is a feature that a trust has that I'm not sure how many other all in one S. E. O. Toole's offer. But as you can see a trust listed, the parent topic is high heels. And so, if you were to click through and go there, you might even get in a whole lot of other different keyword ideas. Using this parent topic can be helpful if your fake freezing and that seed keyword is off from the way that people traditionally, you know, type and search the words that they typically use. So that's kind of what I use it for. It's just a guy lined to see if I'm even using the right terminology, but you might also use it to get additional keyword ideas 5. #4: Determining Keyword Intent/Relevance: we're really close to the section. We're going to talk about the implications of data and how that affects your ability to rank in which keywords you should choose. But before we go into that, it's worth discussing the human element of being good at keyword research. And part of that involves determining that the right Heward intent and relevant so keyword intent involves a method of scrutiny for determining what stage someone's at in the buyers journey, what they're looking for based on what they've typed into search. Um, it's worth noting that the best keyword won't do you any favors if it's a relevant to your target customers needs. And you're not doing a good job of matching your content to what that person was hoping to get out of search. Um, and we talk about in this definition, the buyers journey. So we're talking about, you know, people. They're not gonna be always ready to buy the minute that they go to your website. You know, whatever it is you're selling or you're writing about, they might not be ready to convert in whatever way that you're hoping to convert them. And so we use keyword and 10 and understanding the terms around intent Teoh root people, you know, whether they're just merely considering making a purchase, whether they are ready to make a purchase or, you know, even if they weren't considering the what you offer it all. But you wanna make yourself aware or you want to make them aware of U. S. So it's probably easier to talk about this in terms of the different types of intent of keyword intent. So, um, you know, starting from the left side here we have commercial and transactional intent, which involves craze is that people are using Teoh show you and into show search that they're ready to make a purchase. And so they want surge to help facility that and they want content that will help do that in terms of things like, you know, a top 10 guide. Teoh the best TVs of 2019 or, um, you know, a coupon proceeded by that brands name. You know, TV deals get a quote for insurance or something. So these are just a couple of the phrases that you might see used. But if you were to Google keyword intent, you could get a longer list if that's what you're trying to do in terms of commercial and transactional intent, navigational intent is probably not something that you're gonna want to spend a lot of time . I'm trying to optimize content for It usually involves something to do with your brand name and a specific part of your website. So my example here is Facebook. Log in. You know, for people who type that in instead of just typing in www dot facebook dot com. We probably don't want to optimize for these texted people. They're probably not in our target audience here, Um, you know, depending on the nature of what you saw it, you know, if you're trying to reach technologically savvy users and stuff like this is probably not going to reach them. But it's worth monitoring for these tasty keywords to see if perhaps you have, you know, some user experience problems with your websites navigation. So you know, you can see what keywords people are using to search for your brand and landing on your website, using tools like Who will search console? So if you haven't connected back to your website yet, let this be your wake up call it's free. It's fairly easy to set up, Um, and you'll get a lot of useful date out of it. So the last one we have yours Informational, intense keyword phrases that might include words like how to features benefits. These are people who are very early in the buyers journey. They are probably not ready to purchase. Yet based on what they're saying, they're but they're willing to learn. And so these are the type of people that you definitely want to create content for, but you shouldn't expect them to convert right away, which is why you'd want to incorporate things like lead magnets or, you know, other types of opt in form so that you can at least get their contact information, which you can use to deep in your relationship. So there's another type of intense, kind of in the middle of these, um, you know, larger types of intent, and that's called commercial investigation. This is a term coined by Rand Fishkin, past CEO of Mas. Now he is starting a new company called Spark Toro. Ah, but he's, you know, generally considered to be one of the kings of S CEO. And so this might include terms like reviews, deals, pricing, you know, commercial investigation. Because people are that much closer to making a sale, but not or making a purchase, but not quite to the extent of commercial and transactional keyword and tech. So all things to keep in minds. There's another layer to this, too, which is what Google refers to his bike row moments. So these air just different ways of conceptualizing intent. They don't match exactly to the ones that I've just shared with you. But it's worth keeping these in mind as Google has cold these out of the data that they have access to around surgeons. So you know, it's definitely important. And so these include things like I want to know I want to go. I want to do I want to buy. Most of these involves some type of concert commercial intent. Besides, maybe the 1st 1 I want to know, um, and so just another way to think about how you want to create content and time. This all together is the fact that you know you should be using these types of intent to create a content calendar that focuses on creating content around the different types of intent, you know, making sure that you're not just creating content that leads people to buy, but that also encourages people to get to know you and build a relationship. So actually wrote a piece about how Teoh, you know, create content calendars and how Teoh, you know, consider s CEO in content. Creation is part of that. If you go to search engine Journal and look up my name Maddy as mean, you'll find it there. 6. #5: The Implication of Search Volume: This will probably be the shortest lesson of this class because we're going to do a little bit of myth busting, but it's not going to take a whole lot of time to Dio. And, of course, the topic at hand is the implication of search volume on your success with Seo as really secured research. So, um, the news here is that search volume is really not that big of a factor. So don't let it distract you when you're considering different keyword phrases and you see one that you're pretty sure you can ring for, based on what we're going to talk about it the next section. But you see another one, and it's probably less likely that you're gonna rank for that. But you know, it's the case where people are searching for that 1000 times a month versus maybe, ah, 100 times a month. On this other term, it's easy to think Oh, you know why not go for that one with 1000 monthly search is over. You know this other one because you see the numbers and you get distracted and you think, Oh, that's going to translate into, like all these people coming to my website. The problem is that if you're choosing keywords Bert, based on search volume, you're not really considering relevance as being the most important factor. Besides, he were difficult to which we're going to talk about in a second, Um, at the end of the day, volume really is an indicative of success, so try to consider it this way. Would you rather get 10 qualified buyers that come to your website from search or readers if you're not selling anything? Or would you rather have 1000 unqualified people who come to your website but bounce? They leave your website after that first cage. They never signed up for your e mails. They never buy anything. What is more valuable to you? For? As for me, I'm gonna take those 10 people every day. That's a lot more useful. So in terms of like, what's the lowest benchmark in terms of how much search volume is worth optimizing for? Honestly, I think anything over 20 monthly searches is worth at least considering, depending on the nature of the content you're creating and the type of business you have, because the more specific you get again with those long tail keywords, the more likely you are to reach this ideal qualified prospect for what you crew did your website for in the first place. So, you know, going back to that. She you example. If we're trying to optimize for shoes, if we somehow manage to rank for the keyword shoes You know, a lot of people are gonna go to that website, but nobody's gonna find what they want because they don't even know what they want. When they're typing in, just choose without any qualifiers. You know, on the flip side, if somebody is, you know, typing in women's black heels or something like that, um, it's more likely that those people are going to take some sort of action as long as your website is serving them what they're looking for. So, you know, don't let a low number make you think that it's not worth going after, especially if you are using really specific terminology that speaks directly to your target customer. 7. #6: Finding Your Ideal Keyword Difficulty: For those of you who either haven't done keyword research before or haven't used any specific tools to help guide their efforts, this is probably going to be the most actionable lesson for you. I know it was one of the most actionable things I ever learned about the process, and that's how Teoh find the ideal keyword difficulty for your website and what that means . So he were. Difficulty provides realistic data regarding if a target keyword is something that you can actually rank for. This metric is based on measuring your back links and as a result, your websites authority, you know, in a given topic area. And it's actually kind of nice. If you use a trust specifically as your keyword research tool, because it will literally tell you how many back links you will need to rank for a given keyword. It's granted. It's an estimate, but it's still something that's useful, and I'll show you a screenshot in a moment of what that looks like. But before we do that, I want to talk about how you were difficulty is measured and how to understand it. So, basically like domain authority, which is another important s CEO, uh, metric to keep in mind. Um, especially as it comes to ranking, he were. Difficulty is measured on the same scale from 1 to 100 it becomes exponentially harder to reach 100 as the number gets larger. So if any of you used Teoh be on the cloud platform R i p, they had the same sort of metric for measuring your social influence. It got harder to grow that number as you got closer to 100. So the same thing can be said about key were difficulty. Personally, I usually aim for something that below 20 out of 100 in terms of keyword difficulty for my website. The dash blocks with dot com um, my domain. It's called grading instead of domain authority on E trust, but they mean essentially the same thing. So my domain reading is something like, it's something between 50 and 60 right now, according to a dress, so I probably could try to raise this number, but I've found it to be a really nice sweet spot. Even if stuff doesn't rank for me within, you know, week of publishing in terms of the keywords that chosen at that. You know, 20 or so key were difficult to mark. They usually end up ranking in the top 10 even the top five within a couple of weeks. Um, because that's just the number that I found a work for my website. It's definitely going to be different for you. If you use any traps, you'll want to plug in your own domain to track what your domain reading is. Um, you know, in general, I would recommend for a brand new website to probably stay under 10 or, you know, for a website that hasn't done a lot of work with S E. O. You know, it doesn't have a lot of back legs or hasn't focused on technical structure yet. That's probably a good sweet spot for you, but you'll have to play around with that. But as we'll see from this screenshot here, this is taken from a dress. Um, that same example we've been using women's high heels gives us a difficulty of 12 which they rate is medium, and it says we estimate that you need back links for about 13 websites to rank in the top 10 for this keyword, so good to keep in mind for when you are doing your keyword research in and again being realistic about what you can ring for. To me, he were Difficulty is one of the most important metrics, if not the important or the most important, measurable metric that you can use for doing keyword research. Because, you know, if you're choosing something that has, like a 99 he were difficulty and you ignore that, then you're just shooting yourself in the foot in terms of the effort you're gonna put into creating that content that's literally never going to rank. So, um, you know, after relevance, this is the most important thing for you to keep in mind. 8. #7: Incorporating Semantic Keywords: So let's do a little bit more myth busting this time around. The idea that you could Onley optimize a piece of content for one keyword That's absolutely not true. And semantic keywords are a way that you can find additional opportunities to rank in tandem with whatever the primary key word that you're going to be using is. And maybe before we talk about that, it's worth, um, giving you some definitions around different ways to describe keywords. First of all, a primary keyword is just kind of the main keyword that you're trying to optimize a piece of content for You might have secondary keywords, which are related in some way to that keyword. They might in fact, be semantic keywords. But let's give you a definition now, in terms of what semantic keywords are so put. Basically, semantic keywords involved related phrases interspersed in your content for additional ranking opportunities. Again, this might be whatever you've does ig nated, a secondary keyword to be, or it could be, you know, multiple different keywords that you're using to sort of boost that primary key word by involving related subjects in these other keywords. In the thing that I want to make clear is just because you use semantic keywords doesn't necessarily mean that you're also going to rank for those related phrases. But it definitely helps your efforts with that primary he word. And I'm going to show you an example of how semantic keywords can actually be something that help you rank in general in a moment. But before we talk about one of my favorite hacks that involves Google Search Consul, we're gonna talk about some other free Google tools you can use to find semantic keywords. So the 1st 1 is just when you're on Google and you're typing and the surge so you can find Samantha keywords by typing received keywords into Google and seeing what auto complete suggests. So, like you can see here, most of the suggestions involved the term seed keyword, which I guess have used ironically here. And, um so they're just like modifications on that base raise. So we have CIA keywords versus keyword ideas. Seem keywords. AdWords finding seed keywords online, seek yours, etcetera. You can start to see how these related topics can also help to inform your content creation process. They give you ideas for you know subheadings that you might want to discuss or, you know, aspects of the topic. You want to make sure that you're talking about because these auto complete suggestions are based on what people are actually searching for. And so, um, it's easy and free way to make sure that you're creating the best content for your keyword and also creating additional opportunities. Drink another thing you can dio even in the same space that you're making. That search is to hit enter after you type in your seed keyword, which in my case is literally seem skewered. Then scroll down to the searches related to section um on the first page. And so this is just a screenshot of what that would look like for the phrase seed keyword. And you'll notice here that these suggestions don't all include the words seed keywords. So it's good to compare both of these types of data in terms of finding semantic keywords but also finding topic ideas to expand on in your content. Um, so, you know, don't forget Teoh. Use this data that's already available to you while you are creating your content, we're gonna look at one more free tool, Google Search Consul, which I've already talked about a little bit during this class. But I'm going to show you something really cool that I hope we'll, um you make you see why I really need this. So this is the performance report on Google Search Council. There are not a whole lot of areas to navigate from a Google Search council. In fact, I'm going to address this windows. So you guys concede it's just here in the left hand side. You know, under the name of your website. You can also toggle to see different properties that you manage if you are running more than one website and it's, you know, right here under overview performance, and so I'm gonna just does back That looks good. Okay, So, um, the page that you're seeing right now isn't the default performance view. What I've done is I just added one specific girl from my website a blawg closed, actually a black post about skill shares. I thought that would be the most relevant to talk about here so that I could show you specifically Ah, you know what other terms this pages ranking for? And I'll get to that in a second. But I wanna show you some other things up here too. So I left the date range to what the system defaults to, which is the last three months. But you could adjust this out especially, Um, you know, if you've just started to get serious about content, you might wanna have a longer range view of this or, you know, if it's performed while in the past, that maybe isn't performing well now, you might one a justice out and you can also compare, um, you compare can compare different, um, data period, different time periods and things like that. You can add additional modifiers appear as well, but we're just going to go pretty simple with us. I don't want to overwhelm you with too much information. Um, you can also adjust, like what type of search that it's looking through. Like if you haven't made your video assets. But for this I'm not going to touch that. I just want to know you know how this is Ranking on the World Wide Web. In general, you can see some basic time based data here in terms of performance by four different elements appear first of all, is how many people have actually clicked through from search. Um, versus how many total people saw, you know, the search results that I was ranking in And, you know, then the click through rate is just how many people clicked versus how many people saw. And, um and then we also get some data about where I'm ranking on average for keywords related to this page. So here's where it gets interesting. We're looking at the queries report, or like a subsection here, and you can see the specific things that people have typed into Google Search. And then you can also see how this relates to my ability to ring for these terms. So volume is like How many people are searching for these things, at least in terms of this time period, the last three months that we've displayed above? There's even some interesting data here about the cost per click If if there is one associated with that term, if somebody's trying Teoh, um you know, run ads around that content said this could be, um, back to the topic of keyword intent. This convey be a good signal for commercial intent for people who are ready to buy if there is cost per click data associated with it. Um, I actually can't remember what this is about. Competition. Maybe, but I'm not really sure how to read this data. Either way, there's usually not a lot of it, so I'm not gonna waste too much time on that. We already talked about clicks, impressions, and see. TRNC can see how your Web say fears in terms of these things, but this is the thing that I'm most interested in in this discussion right now, which is that my average position and ranking for these queries right here. So this is really useful because it's data that comes straight to us from Google. Excuse me? They even give us information about how it relieves in terms of clicks, impressions and click through rate to see how effectively your capturing that search traffic because, you know, of course, ranking is one thing, But getting people to actually click through to your website is a total. You know, another thing entirely, and, you know, even volume, like, you know, it says, Oh, I have a 46 point to click through rate for skills. Your Teacher Review. But look, the search volume zero. So I don't know how useful that is. It must be on taking this click through rate data from maybe even another time period. So, um, again, just a great report to look back, Teoh. So this is something that you have Teoh consider after the fact. It's not necessarily going to be useful to you when you're creating a new piece of content . But what it can help you with is going back in after the fact and updating your old content , which you absolutely need to do because Google considers relevance and freshness as part of , you know, one of their 200 ranking factors. 9. #8: Considering Timeliness: While we're talking about keyword research and how it relates to content strategy, I wanted to draw your attention to another important factor, which is that of timeliness and perhaps more specifically, the fact that it definitely does take time to rank after you publish new content in terms of how long it's going to take you to rank, there are a lot of different factors to consider, you know, like a website that is consistently putting out new content and has established a good reputation with Google. You know that has good technical structure and doesn't have a lot of errors. And Google Search Consul probably be easier for them. Teoh get their content ranking in a shorter amount of time, then say, for example, somebody who hasn't really done anything with a CEO up until this point and is just starting to implement changes on their website. Whether that's around, you know, the technical structure of their website, or even just the basics of a keyword research strategy implemented with the content that they're publishing. So I can't give you an exact date for how long it's going to take. Just keeping in mind the fact that there are different things that can affect this. Um, I would say a good general rule issue expected to take at least a few weeks, especially if you're more on the newer side. I've seen content of mind rig in a day or a matter of days. But again, this is because I have covered my bases in terms of technical structure, and I have a lot of back links and all my content is optimized for S e O. And you know all the other things that I mentioned. But I'm more of an extreme case. I've seen clients stuff ranking, you know, in less than a day because, you know, they have even more manpower than me. Teoh, um you know, have all these things, have all these things checked and, um, a solid basis in S e O. But for a new website again, it can. It could take longer than a few weeks. It could take a month. Whether thing to keep in mind is when you first rank, that doesn't necessarily mean that that's were you're always going to rank, so, you know, you might show up in search results a day or two or week after you publish content. But I wouldn't necessarily expect to you to be ranking at the top of what you're capable of until it's been, you know, a couple weeks, for example, eso. The other thing that I wanted to talk to you about in tandem with this topic is the importance of finding a balance between publishing content that's timely. And, um, you know, things that have to do with, like, the holidays or I'm not coming about versus Evergreen content, which some people also referred to his cornerstone content. This is content that's aimed at bringing in people no matter what time of the year it is. You know, it should still be relevant if you're considering it. Evergreen content, Really regardless of one, people are looking at it. Uh, so when you're creating a content calendar, you want to keep these two things in mind. You know, what can you create that's going to be beneficial to you as a content asset throughout the year versus what are some things that we need to strategize around that are probably only going to be relevant for a certain time of the year, or maybe even once ever, depending on the nature of what the contents covering or the event it's associated with. So I'm the note of the fact that it takes time to ring is the fact that when you're creating timely content, you really want to get ahead of, you know, one people would be reading it. So say, for example, we're creating a holiday gift guide for Christmas shopping. And, um, you know, we want to get ahead of one. People are making purchases, so we might publish that as early as October because, you know, people start to buy stuff in November. We have black Friday, then, if we were to publish it, say, for example, instead in December it might be too late because it's first of all going to take time for it to rank. But second of all, people might have already made the majority of their purchases by the time they come across this guide. So it's really important to know your audience and no, some basics around how they're making decisions around the information that you're sharing in this content you create. It kind of goes back to you, intent in some ways, you know, to understand, um, you know if you're trying to get someone to buy something, how are you creating? Are you optimizing keywords or out that and things like that? Um, but yeah. So, in general, just what I wanted to make sure to impress upon use that you should definitely have a mix of evergreen and timely content for me. Personally, I'm really more about evergreen content on most of the sites that I work with. Unless the client has something in particular that they want to draw attention, Teoh. 10. #9: Effectively Using Keywords in Your Content: If you've watched my ASIO for bloggers class or by how to write a kid gas block post class , you could probably skip this section because we're gonna talk about the same places to in court great keywords in your content. But for those of you who haven't watched those classes, um, this is just going to be a crash course on. Once you've done the keyword research, how do you effectively implement those keywords into your content to effectively signal to Google? You know that this is what you're creating content about and making sure that you're sending those signals in the places where they matter the most. So first thing to make sure that you're using your cut or your keyword in is the euro, also known as the slow. Especially in WordPress. There's suddenly a hierarchy of importance when it comes to using keywords in the euro is one of the most important places to put it, so kind of like you can see here. The key word should be a part of the URL in terms of it being, you know, something like www dot your block dot com for it slash keyword And if your keyword phrases made up of more than one word, which after watching this class, it absolutely should be. Make sure to add dashes in between the words of the keyword phrase so that Google understands you know where one word starts in one word stops. Also, another as Theo tip to keep in mind in general is you'll notice that the girl example I gave you here is pretty short and simple. You're gonna want to make sure that if you're Perma link settings include adding things like categories or whatever the date is that you published the article. Get rid of that stuff. Don't do it without redirecting, which is kind of outside the scope of this class. But we've talked a little bit about how to do that. Earlier, you could look into a plug in like, yo, csto premium or redirection is a free version. Either way, you know, make sure that you aren't, um creating any 404 issues. But if you're starting a new black, make sure that you're you are all structure is just very basic. It's just, you know, the slug associated with the content with the block post, because it's just less stuff for Google to read to make sense of. So the quicker that you can help Google makes sense of your content, the easier it will be freed up to recommend it. The next most important area for you to put your keywords are titles and headings. Specifically that H one heading, which is the title of your posts. There should only be one of these per page. It confuses Google if you have more than one h one tab. So heading tags. Um, the other thing to keep in mind is it's different. You can make a difference H one heading like the title of your post and also have a different meta title tag so you can have one heading. Essentially, that appeals to your human readers. Um, you know, the people that land on your block and are just looking around and they come across your post in the process of browsing. But you can also have a specific title that's optimized for search that includes your keyword on. Do you know, I would say the best reason why you might wanna have two different titles, as if you have say, for example, on awkward keyword or if you just have a really great way of, um, presenting your title without your keyword eso The way that you would enable the ability to have pulls a title and a meta title is by using a plug in like Joost. It lets you set a separate meta title. Um, and you want to make sure that you're using that keyword in the meta title. But if you have two separate ones, you don't necessarily have to use it in the H one heading tag anyway. So the other place that you're gonna want to consider using your keyword is in the meta description, which is just the description that displays under the title on a search engine results page that kind of compels people to click through. So I I would say, in general it's better to use that space to convince somebody to go to your website versus trying to make a keyword work. I honestly still tried up, make the keywords work because I don't trust that Google doesn't completely care about the key word being used in the meta description. Although other S CEOs would disagree with me, it's all about her personal preference But at the end of the day, I would say, Um ultimately, that's, you know, a way to market your content So all else equal focus on that. So then subheadings it's h one to h six are the standard subheading tags you choose from. And, um, you know, as you get down to H six, it's just subheadings of the subheading before it. So depending on how long your content is, you know how in depth of a content piece you're creating, you might use all of them. But honestly, I only usually use between H one and H two. You know, maybe I have subheadings within the H two tags, so I'll use maybe up to age through. In most cases, it doesn't matter. It just really depends on your content to let your content dictate this. So, um, the CEO advice here is to add your primary keyword to at least one age to tag if you can, um, another subheadings, if possible. Um, and so, like I said, you can use those between the H two N h six tags, but it's not gonna be a strong as a signal if you're using your keyword there as long as you've used it in the H to tag you can, whose multiple age to through age six tags on every page. Just remember that you can't use multiple H one tabs. So the next thing that you're gonna want to think about, and probably the easiest thing to conceptualize if you've had any experience with using keywords before, is just implementing that within the body content off the content that you created. So add keywords to content as many times as possible. But don't overdo it, especially if it's starting to sound weird and overdone. Um, my general rule of thumb is you add the keywords of content at least four times for 50 words. Honestly, everybody has their own opinion as to what the ideal keyword density should be. I think yo suggests, like around 2% maybe less. Um, but you know, it's really all about finding a balance. It's definitely become less important to use the keyword multiple times and content in terms of Google. Understanding relevance so long as you have used the key word in those other important signal areas have already mentioned in terms of you are was meta title. You know potentially meta description and subheadings. Another thing that you can do that's questionably helpful, but that I've heard is the best practice is to use various text decorations to draw additional relevance to your primary keyword in the tax. So, like, you know, use it and then underline, italicize it bold. It don't force yourself to do all of these things, but if it makes sense to do even one of these things, that could potentially help your case and and then don't forget to also implement the use of your keyword on your images. And it starts with the name of the file when you upload it Like what I said about using the key word in the euro. Add dashes between each word and the keyword phrase in terms of that email or sorry image violin. But don't forget to also use it in the all tag. The thing about the old tag is that it actually exists to help with accessibility for people who use screen readers, you know, for people who might be blind or not able to read the screen without assistant. So in addition to incorporating your keyword in the all tag fridge, image. Try to make it also descriptive of what? The images to help that screen reader make sense of, what your images and its relevance to the content. Um, some themes make it so that you don't necessarily see what the image title is, so I would just add your keyword in the title field. If that's the case, just sort of the backup again. It's one of those things where it's not really clear if that's going to help you from an SDO standpoint or not, but it doesn't hurt to do it, especially if you're themes not going to show that output. And again, I'm I guess I'm assuming that you're using WordPress when I say that. But that's just cause we're presses the best, Um final. No on images. Make sure to do this for every image on the cage, especially the feature image, but any sort of like screenshots or examples that use within the body of the content as well. And then I also have a plug and suggestion for a majeste CEO. That's WP smasher. I think it's just called smush now, or short pixels another one, and they help you to optimize your images to make them smaller again because page speed is such an important factor for S e o in general. So when you're uploading images, especially if they're really have the images, you're gonna want to make sure Teoh, you know, optimize them as you're uploading them and making sure that their smallest but still quality looking files. So besides black content, the one last thing I wanted Teoh having think about in terms of using keywords and your content is making sure that you're optimizing things like categories. You know, for your blogger, if you have a portfolio, for example, top level pages. So, like your about page or service page, even like your contact page. So don't forget that you can also use keywords and create content with these guidelines on those specific pages. So don't pass up the opportunity to rank really every page on your website. If youth handled it properly, can be a new opportunity direct, so don't miss it 11. #10: Using Competitor Research to Inform Content Decisions: effective keyword research doesn't start and end with their own investigations. As described in all these previous lessons, it should also be informed by what your competition is doing. So I'm going to share a couple really quick, easy tips to use to determine how you should be considering your competition in the keyword research process. The first and honestly, the easiest way to do some competitive research is just to search for whatever primary key word that you want to target your content for. I'm Google to see what's coming up in the search results. And, um, you know, the first thing that you want to look for even outside of competition is just to see if the type of content that you have in mind for that keyword is going to correctly match the intent of, you know, these other search results that you're seeing so say, for example, you know you want to create, um, some content that encourages someone to buy something, and you think you've found a key word that is based on that transactional intent. But then you search it and then you see. But all the content has more to do with education of, you know, that could be a sign that you're not on the right track in terms of what you're looking to dio. Another thing that helps is to see if you're just way out of your league. If there are, you know, really solid websites that are already ranking for that keyword that are big players in the space that have a really high domain authority. And, you know, so it can help you to just gauge the competition in general to see if it's gonna be hard for your little website to rank against the big guys. Um, the other thing that this very simple process helps you to do is to see what contents already out there. You know, assuming that you correctly matched intent and assuming that you're seeing competition that you can be, um, you know, it'll just help you see the nature of how people have created content around the keyword, and it can help you to see what you're gonna need to do to make it 10 times better. Or, you know, however marginally better you'll need to be in order to beat them in search. But again, you know, just being able to see that stuff is a lot more tangible than guessing and hoping and praying. Um, and just the fact to that if you're not improving on existing content options, your content probably isn't going to ring. So this really is a critical element in terms of making sure that you come out on top. So the last thing that I wanted to talk about here is using also tools available to you through all in one sdo Solutions like a trust or some rushes another good one that's actually better associated with doing competitors. A research. So this screenshot that I pulled pulled excuse me, is from a dress on, and it lets you to find a content gap. This is for um, this is for content. That you've already created is the idea behind this, and it lets you compare yourself to other competitors that are targeting the same types of keywords. And also, you know, comparing that against your website to see weird opportunities may lie. But they have other tools and dash words that you can use Teoh. Compare yourself against the competition. But this is using these tools is maybe a little bit more high level than the scenario that I just described to you. So something to look into after you've mastered the basics. 12. #11: Using Rank Tracking Tools to Benchmark Your Efforts: so this will be another pretty short lesson. I just wanted to share the U S. Strategy that I have been using lately to make sure that my content stays updated and relevant. Um, and it centers around the idea of using ring track and tools to bunch mark your efforts. So again, I use a trust. I'm obsessed with it. There are other rain trapping tools out there, but honestly, a truss has one of the best indexes in terms of, you know, being able to detect back legs as they happen. And Teoh measure, you know, keyword ranking changes as close to real time. It's possible. So I'm not gonna make recommendations, brother ones, because I feel like they would be lacking in comparison to this particular tool. Um, I would say that like some Russian mas which are the other big players in this space would probably have comparable options and results. But again, this is what I know. So this is what I'm going to share, and it works. So it's I feel like that's a fair thing to say. Um, this is a screenshot of what I look out when I log in to a dress, and I just click on the rain tracking report. Um, I have inputted thes keywords into a traps manually, but they also give me suggestions as they noticed new keywords that I'm naturally ranking for. So you can you condone do either or both methods in terms of populating this with information. So this is the online dash word. But I also get an email at least once a week. It might be twice a week. Um, that shares. You know what? My latest rank tracking updates are, you know, has anything dropped? Was anything. We're reason on the search engine results page. And as you can see, it gives a lot of data in terms of my average position. Ah, the Associated search. Flying with the particular keyword, uh, Mikey were difficulty and other related information that you can dig into depending on what you're working on, including the associate ID girl with that keyword in terms of what's ranking. So I use this data Teoh help inform when I should be making updates to content. Because if I had noticed that something is starting to drop in rankings that was doing really well, that might be a sign that my competition is getting a leg up on me. You know, maybe they just publish something that, um, you know, really expands on the topic more than what I was able to do. And so I really pay attention to the state of to determine when I need Teoh. Consider updating old content, so this is a strategy to keep in mind. After you start publishing more and more content, that's optimized for keywords. It's it's data that obviously it's not going to be beneficial to you unless you have started to collect. It's not something that's going to be relevant until you have a little bit more of a long term look at it. But, you know, having those updates once or twice a week is definitely essential for staying on top search engine rankings especially, you know, depending on how competitive your industry is, um, you know things things could change pretty often. So you want to be implementing some sort of keyword rink tracking tool, if only for your own sanity, to know how effectively you are using this s e o tactic 13. #12: Tools to Assist Your Efforts: who? You made it to the final lesson, and we're just going to spend a few more minutes talking about some awesome tools that can assist your keyword research efforts. The 1st 1 is one that you might already be familiar with. It's called yos Desio. It's a plug in for WordPress. There's a free version, and there's a premium version. The free version can do a lot, honestly. Use the free version on all my websites for a couple of years. But I recently upgraded todo csco premium because it had some additional useful features like It lets you bulk at it things like meta titles and descriptions, which could be really good if you have a website with a lot of pages that you weren't optimizing for keywords in the past and want to make changes now, um, it also allows you to set up link redirects if you change the U URLs, which you know you might change two euros because you're trying to incorporate your keywords and so just make sure that you're doing it the right way without causing an indexing error that could ultimately hurt your seo efforts. But as you can see from this screenshot here. Essentially, you enter a focus key phrase, and then Yost tells you how effectively you leverage that in your content. It lets you customize a custom meta title so that you could have a different, um, you know, content title, a different person facing title versus what's shown and search results. Let's he set a meta description you can customize that you are out on, and then it just gives you other tips in terms of how effectively give used a keyword. Another thing that you can't stand. This screenshot is the readability analysis, which is a slightly newer feature of Yost. But it helps you to see, um, things like, you know, argue writing for your target audience correctly in terms of what they're reading. Level is, you know what you seem they're reading level to be, you know, Are you needlessly complicating your content or using run on sentences and things like that ? It's not the perfect tool. That's not always, you know, right in terms of effectively telling you if you're doing things the right way or not, but it's definitely a tool that I use to check myself. Um Dios premium yo says Theo Premium also offers some options for setting open graph tags, which is what gets shared on social like Twitter and Facebook. So again, it's just a really good tool. The only thing that I want to mention about Yost is that it can tell you how effectively your using a key word. But it can't tell you if the keyword phrase that you want to use is your focus. Key phrase is effective. It can't tell you things like you were difficulty can't tell you things like search volume . So, you know, use it for what it's meant for to make sure that you're optimizing content but don't use it is the keyword research tool. That's not what it is. Uh, Google keyword planner is a tool that a lot of people recommended in the past because it's free because it does involve sharing data, you know, from Google Search. Unfortunately, Google keyword planner had more to do with pay per click data in terms of like Google ads, um, then organic s CEO. And so a lot of the data that you'd see there, though it would be sort of relevant Teoh organic ASIO it really was you know more completely relevant to this paid part of search engine marketing. So, you know, I think it's out just because of that. But the other thing is that they've shut down the ability to use Google keyword planner unless you have an active adds account that you're paying for. So really, just for a couple of reasons, it's not ideal. There are free keyword tools out there that are going to be a better fit for what you want , which I have shared on Search Engine journal. If you just, you know, Google my name on search engine journal Argus Search on their own search. You can find an article I wrote that includes six free keyword research told trying to remember if I've already said that. So sorry if I have, but you don't use Google keyword planner. It's a waste of your time. Uh, we've talked about a draft. There's a lot of great functionality contained with this all in one S e o toole. This is something I referred to in an earlier West. In their keyword ideas lists. They have four different lists that come up for each keyword that you type in, which is awesome. If you are struggling to figure out exactly what keyword you want to use our you know, if you're in an industry where that little hanging fruit is already gone, you have to get really specific and you need help. Teoh figure out what people are actually searching for and what's realistic to rank. So we have one column is having the same terms kind of like the semantic keywords stuff we looked at that incorporated that, you know, seed, keyword and then, like modifiers. We have questions, which is really good for that informational about, like how to intent. We have also rang for which is like the semantic keywords that don't incorporate the same exact words but are related topics and the newly discovered which speaks to timeliness. Um, you know, new things that people are searching for a new trends and things like that. So, um, uh, there's There are other tools on a trust that I find useful in relation to the topic of he would research like we talked about rank tracking in a previous lesson. Another one. Another feature, a dress that's worth looking into is the Content Explorer, which allows you to dig into already published articles and, um, you know, competitors, er doing sort of competitors, er, research to see, you know what made those articles take why they're ranking and different stats around them . So there's there's a lot you can do with a dress. I could do a whole, honestly, still share class just about that. So let me know if that's something you want me this do in the future. Um, and then another thing we talked about in another lesson was timeliness. On Google Trends is another free tool that you can use to see how search volume is affected over time to see if there is a seasonality to it. So, for example, we're looking at the term high feels you can actually compare more than one search term to each other. As you can see in the top right hand corner here, which could be really interesting. I just I just put in one term to take the screenshot, but as you can see for this specific term, there's not a whole lot of seasonality to it. The trend line has some ups and downs, but overall it's pretty straight. But you know, you search a term that involves maybe, like some trending news about a celebrity. Or you know something about the Christmas shopping season, and this line will change significantly. So if you're trying to create a balance of evergreen content and timely content, this could be something that's helpful in terms of gut checking. You know what's timely and what's evergreen. We talked a lot about Google Search Council, but don't forget the benefits of Google analytics. This particular screenshot is from a tool that I use that's called keyword hero. And it's really interesting because a lot of the times when you go to Google Analytics and you look at the queries that people have used to get to your website, there's this area, these words in parentheses it's has not provided, and it's because people were using ah, Google Chrome, probably an incognito mode in some way. They've, you know, made that data they've hit in that data behind a wall of privacy, but I'm not exactly sure how they do it. A keyword hero unveils that data so that you can see those words that were previously hidden. And usually it's the majority of the information on this report so another thing to consider And, you know, just using Google analytics in general to see, um you know what content is performing Well, you know how that inspires how people interact with other pages on your website. It is something that you're gonna want to get familiar with again. It's kind of outside the scope of this, uh, this class. But one thing I would recommend is if you're really serious about content, um, go through Google Analytics Free certification program. There are a lot of free classes and, um, you know, having that certification is also beneficial, depending on what job you have or what job you want. So with that, we are officially done with this class. You are officially keyword research expert, at least in terms of my opinions, after having gone through this content, assuming that you taken it all to heart. So I'd love to see, um, you know what you're coming up with as a result, and we'll talk more in the discussion for this class