We discuss how keyword research is a fundamental aspect of the SEO discipline and as Google has evolved so has the way in which we use keyword research to inform our search engine strategy.
In this video we dive into the fundamentals of keyword research in 2020 to understand the users intent and the SERP layout to better choose our target keywords.
With Google now showing over 50% no click SERPs, understanding the keywords that trigger these is very important as the search console data they show, will be totally different to a more transactional term with impressions higher and clicks lower.
In particular, we show you how our professional SEO agency, do keyword research to include the intent of the searcher, helping you to understand, Commercial, Informational and Conversational intent in each of the queries.
The topics we go over are:
Google Engineer, John Muller, on keyword research
How to work out user intent
Keyword research fundamentals
Different types of user intent
Finding keyword topics
Keyword research tools free to cheap to expensive
How to categorise your keywords with Excel formulas
Understanding the SERP
Introducing search console data to find content gaps
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- This week, Google Engineer John Miller was asked if keyword research was still a thing in SEO and he was like,
- What he actually said is, keyword research isn't going away, but that one day search engines will be able to use more than just words on a page.
- I think in general, that there is probably always gonna be a little bit of room for keyword research, because you're providing those words to users and even if search engines are trying to understand more than just those words, showing specific words to users can make it a little bit easier for them to understand what your pages are about and can sometimes drive a little bit of that conversion process, so I don't see these things going away completely, but I'm sure search engines will get better over time to understand more than just the words on a page.
- Now the SEO industry love to reinvent the wheel with some sort of fancy sounding way of doing things. I just feel sorry for our poor clients sitting in those pitch meetings with SEO people like,
- Work has been preceding on the crudely conceived idea of an instrument that would not only provide inverse reactive current for use in unilateral phase detractors--
- Now all that being said, there's a lot to be said for intent based research, but the fundamentals of keyword research still apply. So as a modern SEO, how do we work out user intent and build it into our keyword research? So in this video, we're gonna be going over how to do your keyword research and gap analysis to understand the keywords we need to target the user with intent baked into everything we do. If you're wanting the free Google sheet template that goes with this tutorial, you can get it in this week's Canonical Chronicle email newsletter, link down below. And while you're in that description box, please do click that like button to help us manipulate the YouTube algorithm because, well, SEO. The fundamentals of keyword research are essentially finding the keywords that have search volume that are related to what you're actually selling. And when we talk about intent, we can usually split it into three main categories. We have transactional intent, i.e. something that they want to buy, we have informational intent, i.e. something that they want to learn, and then conversational intent, so they're kinda surfing for entertainment or to have fun with their friends. Now when it comes to understanding your exact customer journey and therefore keyword intent, just like everything in SEO, it depends, but you're doing SEO to make money, so surely your focus should be transactional keywords.
- Maybe, maybe not, maybe yourself.
- Like I said, it depends on things like if you're an Ecommerce or a lead generation website, and also the niche that you're actually in. For example, if you're an Ecommerce website, the way in which a person searches is gonna be a lot more transactional and conversational and it's really unlikely that you're getting a lot of customers looking to learn things from you, unless it's a complex product like medicine or health. Like I said before, it depends.
- It depends upon what the meaning of the word is, yes.
- If you're in a lead generation website, you're much more likely to be heavily informational. A good example of an informationally led industry is actually the SEO industry. We have no head terms as such, but tons of chunky middle and lots of long-tail with informational intent. Okay, so let's get down to business. First we're gonna get the topics related to our site and the searches our customers are actually making. We then need to find the keywords inside of each topic and we then need to categorize them according to individual intent. After we've got all that, we then need to get search volume and competition metrics, and then we need to compare all of that research data to our Google Search Console account so we can see where all the gaps in our content is. Okay, so first let's define the topics. For this, I'm gonna manually be looking about the website and start kinda pulling in top level topics according to the navigation and the products on the website. If you want to go super high tech, you can drop some content into Google's NLP system and it's gonna give you the top entities in your content and you can use that as a starting position for your keyword research. Okay, so after we have our topics, we need to get the keywords into a sheet so we can start to analyze them. Now there are a million ways to do this, but here are some tools you can use to help get keyword data from free to cheap to expensive. Now the difference between them all is the free ones require a lot more manual work and the expensive ones cut down on your time, but it's essentially the same data. Okay, the first one is Adwords, so you've got to go to Google Keyword Planner and it's gonna give you a bunch of data right off the bat. Another one would be Answer the Public, it's a keyword visualization tool that pulls out keywords and their relationships. Or maybe Ubersuggest, if you put a keyword in it spits out a bunch more that's related. And then we've got Keywords Everywhere, they have a paid version, but the nice bit about this is you can actually go on Google and as you're Googling, it's giving you more keyword information. You've then got AHREFS, which is like in a super charged database and they've got their own click stream data. And then finally, our weapon of choice, the SEMrush API. It's fast, it's accurate and it's got hundreds of countries. Pair it up with Supermetrics and it goes straight onto Google Sheets instantly. So once we have our keywords in our sheet, we then need to categorize them according to intent. Now typically, this is just a manual process. You can speed it up by filtering in the table according to the question keywords, so looking for can, what, where, things like that. You can also get very smart about tagging them by using formula. There's a formula called If Is Number Search. It essentially looks up a list of the tags and tries to find them in your keyword list. Now, this is a much more advanced way of doing things, but it is all available in the Google Sheet provided in this week's Canonical Chronicle newsletter. When categorizing keywords for intent, we also need to know what is going on in the SERP itself. Is it an Ecommerce SERP with product carousels? Is it an informational one with FAQ boxes? Is it a conversational one with things like answer boxes? Is it local with a map? Is it images in the SERP or is a mixture of all of them? If you're using SEMrush like us, you can check the SERP composition of every single keyword to help you make decisions about intent. For example, does it have a product carousel? Yes, well it's transactional. Does it have FAQs in the SERP? Okay, it's conversational. Does it have an answer box? Yes? Well then it's a click-through rate stealing son of a bitch.
- You son of a bitch.
- No, I'm only kidding, it's informational. Once you understand what the SERP looks like and what the user is thinking, this gets us a very long way to understanding the intent behind that keyword. Now we need to bring it all together with your search console data to see where your content gaps are, so you can start creating the content you need to drive that traffic. To do this, we are really simply gonna download all the URLs and all the queries from search console and then we're gonna look up the keywords in your research to try and find them in the search console. If they don't exist, that's a gap. If they do exist but you don't rank well, that's an opportunity to optimize. And if they do exist and you rank well, move on. Now remember, if you want to download the free keyword research sheet, you can do so by signing up for this week's Canonical Chronicle email newsletter. I hope you've found this tutorial on keyword intent useful. If you want help troubleshooting anything in that sheet we've given you, ask me in the comments down below and I'll jump in and I'll try and answer and help troubleshoot any issues that you have. If you like this video, please hit like. If you loved it, please hit subscribe. And until next time, we will see you later.