Why Worry about Keywords?

Whether you’re an SEO expert, or simply a casual blogger, it’s easy to see the impact of keywords in online strategy.

After all, our content is literally made up of keywords.

Keywords research and the SEO industry as a whole may seem intimidating, but luckily there are some very simple ways to engage in research and optimize your website and content for organic success.

I’m no expert in the SEO community, but I’ve managed to stumble across quite a few helpful tips and strategies that any beginner can focus on.

Today, I’ll be discussing an easy way to build out keyword lists which will work to help guide us in our content strategy.

Intro to Google keyword planner

There are a lot of highly-rated SEO tools on the market, such as Moz, SEMRush, and Majestic.

Regardless, if you’re a beginner and not looking to shell out any cash just yet, you’re probably looking for a free alternative.

Luckily, Google has it’s “Keyword Planner” tool which will help you to quickly and easily build out lists of keywords.

This tool can be found in the Google Adwords interface, so sign on up and take advantage.

In the old AdWords interface, here’s how to find it:

How to find the Google AdWords Keyword planner tool

And in the new Adwords interface:

How to Find the new Google AdWords Keyword Planner

Once you click over to the tool, you will be prompted to select from a series of possibilities which are self-explanatory.

At the moment, the feature you will be using is the top one, “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category.”

Google AdWords Keyword Planner

We’ll come back to this in a moment. First, we have to get an idea of the keywords we want to start off with.

Keyword Topics

We need to step back for a moment and consider our keyword topics.

This means asking ourselves what our target audience is typing into Google.

If they were searching for what your website offers, what would be their search query?

"What should I search for?" search query

Start with the major topics that you cover on your website.

Let’s pretend that you have a business blog and cover topics such as “marketing”, “sales”, and “human resources”.

These are the keystone topics, but you shouldn’t expect to rank anytime soon for these large, general keywords.

Just keep in mind that our keyword strategy and keyword builds should align with our content marketing strategy.

If it’s what your audience wants to read, then focus on it.

To build out an initial list, we can break up our keywords into the topics that we cover.

Below, I’ve added in some subtopics as we start to expand our lists.

Topic breakdwon example

If you’re not an idiot like me, you’ll be able to come up with a lot more keywords than this.

Regardless, the beauty of the Keyword Planner is that it does much of the work for us.

So if you do struggle with coming up with keywords off the top of your head, you’re all set.

Using the Keyword Planner

Now we can simply copy and paste our keywords into the keyword planner tool. We can do this by category to make sure that our keywords remain in their respective topics.

We’ll start with marketing. Simply enter your keywords in and click “Get ideas”.

Enter keywords into the Keyword planner tool

When the results are generated, you’ll be presented with a whole set of possible keywords.

Don’t worry if a lot of the keywords aren’t relevant, we will fix this quickly.

Simply navigate to the top of the chart of keywords and click “Download”.

Download the keywords generated

Now we have an excel version that we can comb through to eliminate unnecessary keywords.

Excel document with keyword lists

Now we have a whole lot of keywords to choose from.

This is a good thing, but it can also be time-consuming.

If you don’t have that many irrelevant keywords in your excel doc, simply go through it quickly and delete unnecessary ones.

In our example, there are over 700 keywords. This would take forever to do manually.

Luckily, we can hop back into the keyword planner and set up some filters to get more selective in our keyword search.

Keyword Filters in the Keyword Planner tool

For example, perhaps we would like to find keywords with a search volume of at least 10,000 per month but with low competition.

Setting up keyword filters

We went from 700+ keywords to 61.

The best part about narrowing down the search is that we can find more relevant keywords that will help guide our SEO and content strategy.

Furthermore, we can take these keywords and re-enter them to find even more relevant keywords.

After copying those 61 keywords and pasting them back in, we now have 87:

Building a relevant keyword list

Now we can take this same strategy and apply it to our other categories of keywords.

In this effect, we can build out silos that pertain to certain subjects, but most likely are also interrelated.

How Powerful are Keywords?

In the end, none of this really matters unless we’re able to craft relevant, informative, funny, helpful content. Or some mix of those elements, it depends on your audience.

The reason for this is that Google is starting to focus more on searcher intent than it is on the density of keyword in a post, the length of content, or the meta description you provide. Basically, these on-page SEO tactics aren’t working as well as they used to.

Google is getting smarter. To capitalize, we have to use the right keywords and write valuable content for our target audience.

Otherwise, we lose.

Best of luck in your keyword searching and content marketing efforts!