I love Keysearch. As a writer who writes SEO optimized content, I love how cheap their keyword research is–and how many things I can do with it. Although there are other keyword research tools, both Sophie and I use Keysearch. This post will be an in-depth Keysearch tutorial going over how to do effective keyword research using Keysearch to find your ideal audience, which keywords to target, and how to figure out if you will rank for a post using Keysearch.
We go over some of the basics of keysearch research in a previous post. This one is intermediate level.
What you need to know before doing keyword research
- Your domain authority (or Moz rank)
- What articles/niches that you’re focused on
- Your Keyword competition score (optional)
- A vague idea of what you want to rank for
- Your keysearch log-in. (They offer a free 30 day trial!)
How do you determine your domain authority?
Domain authority is just an approximation created by Moz, a private company, that estimates how powerful your website is when it comes to ranking on Google. I believe that it’s good to know your DA as it’s a helpful thing to keep in mind.
Moz now updates domain authority almost three times a day, so don’t obsess over a point as Keysearch doesn’t update your DA as regularly. It’s just a guideline that is helpful to know. You can increase it by getting more high value links to your content.
I usually will just put my website name into Keysearch to see my domain authority. (I’m kind of lazy like that.) Write the number that you see.
It’s good to remember that’s generally difficult to rank for things if your domain authority is less than 25 unless it’s a query that isn’t so competitive or that you luck out…. (I’d say 20 for a non-English language…) Don’t worry, we address this issue later on.
Your Keysearch competition score
Whenever you search for a query on keysearch, you’ll see a number. This is an estimation by keysearch on how difficult the search is. I generally ignore this as I find that this feature isn’t that accurate yet, however if you like the competition score, this is how to utilize it.
If you click Explorer, type in your website, and hit enter… You’ll see something that says score to target. This feature of Keysearch will give you an estimation of what level of competition that your website can be competitive for queries.
What keywords to use
What I love about keysearch is that you can peek into the searches that your potential readers and clients are using. I find that the most effective way to begin using keysearch is to think on the most basic query that you’d type in.
A major mistake that many people make with keywords is assuming that people are far more sophisticated in their searches than they actually are. (Keep in mind that “How do you spell judgement” gets 1300 searches per month…)
I recommend starting with the most basic phrase that you can think of when it comes to a topic that you’re writing about if you’re unsure what people actually search for. I usually will start with the most basic phrase: “Australia.” However, Australia is kind of vague if I’m interested in Australian travel.
It’s important to note that you can change the location, which might be good if you’re writing in another language or content that is specifically catered to a small local group of people. I occasionally do Keyword research in Dutch and it will clump the Netherlands and Belgium together if I’m not careful.
From here, I often like to look at the right column to understand what kind of searches that people have about a topic. This gives me insight into how people search for a topic. You’ll often see travel-related searches starting with “how to,” “what to do in,” “things to know about,” “places to visit in,” “buy X, “best Y” and “best way to…”
People don’t have very complicated search results generally. I like to find a couple potential keywords that seem interesting and write them down in a notepad. Below, I’ll be going into how you figure out if these keywords are the ones that you should choose.
Keysearch uses an approximation of how many searches you’ll get with a specific keyword and we might go into how to get the real number soon. It’s good to remember that Google will find other related keywords that are very similar to yours–and you might rank well for another keyword, even if you didn’t intend to or if it’s not included in your text. As a result, this approximation is not 100% accurate, but it’s a good start.
Although some bloggers don’t include a keyword unless the search quantity is at 200 searches, I don’t have this approach. Even if there’s 30 searches on something that you intend to write about, you can rank for it, and that keyword is going to bring you interested clients and readers, you should write it anyways.
The idea is that if you’re writing about your niche and someone finds your article on something really obscure. You’re the only one with detailed information on it. That person is likely to stick around and book through your links as they might feel a sense of obligation as you did such a great job giving them the information that they needed on a topic.
Simply, there’s not a perfect answer when it comes to keysearch. Sometimes, your perfect keyword has a low volume of 10 searches per month. That’s okay and there’s nothing wrong with publishing the article, especially if it shows Google that you’re an expert on a topic. (Read more about our wolf pack, our SEO strategy that doubled our traffic within six months.) However, don’t limit yourself to one perfect keyword. Be sure to include other keywords that speak to the broader topic.
For major articles, I aim for at least 500 searches per keyword, but it depends on how niche it is. Some topics are niche inherently due to their nature and/or language issues, so if you can find a keyword that you’ll rank for with a good search quantity, go for it.
You want to look at seasonality. For more niche queries, the line will be flat. I recommend searching for a broader keyword on the topic to get insight into when something peaks. I wrote another article about taking seasonality into account with your content calendar.
Simply, it takes time for your posts to rank and you want to ensure that you give yourself enough time to write before posting. If I was looking at the graph above, I’d writ the article in May to give myself enough time to rank before October.
How competitive should a query be?
It depends. If your domain authority is strong, you can battle for the best queries. However, if your domain authority isn’t as high as you’d like to be (I think that everyone feels this way), there’s nothing wrong with picking a less competitive query that is perfectly suited to your keywords. If you can rank for the query and it attracts people specifically interested in your niche topic, who cares if it’s not that competitive.
If you’re involved with sales or use affliate links, those long-tail keywords can really make a difference in terms of finding your ideal audience who is ready to buy. If it’s not that competitive, great!
It’s good to remember that your domain authority will not stay constant. Mine increased from a single digit one to 30 within a year, so I rank for things that I never imagined that I’d rank for. I recommend using a little caution in going crazy, however I’d still not shy away from more competitive keywords as you might rank for them in a year.
This is a big one. If you’re looking at Keysearch, you might see some lower authority domains that are ranking for a query. If you look at this superficially, you might think to yourself that you can rank for that. However, these are generally niche websites that specialize on the topic.
Unless your new niche is what you’re looking up, you’re unlikely to take the slot. It’s good to note that you have a website with a well defined niche (something that we advocate for with our Wolf Pack SEO method), you may experience a ranking boost as a result of this, even if you shouldn’t rank.
CPC & Clicks
If the CPC is fairly high, the likely that the first snippets that people will see are ads prior to rather than the first organic rankings.. As a result, the clickthrough rates will be lower. If you’re targeting listings where there’s a lot of money spent on ads, I recommend spending extra time optimizing your post title. If you click the CPC column on the right, it will sort by CPC. I find a CPC over 3 a bit high to be honest, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t rank for that query.
When you’re searching for certain things, Google has started showing a featured snippet to users. These featured snippets reduce the need for people to click on your website as the snippet may instantly answer their question (“What time is it in Amsterdam?”) and/or they’re less likely to scroll down further down the page. As a result, if you’re not the featured snippet (rank 1-2), your click through rate might be lower.
First four posts
83% of clicks on organic search go to the first four results with the majority going to the first two articles. Ideally, you rank in the first slot, which is why keyword research matters so much. Even if your website is newer and you’re including a long-tail keyword, you can rank and get clicks if you write an article that perfectly answer a query.
When you’re using keysearch, you see various keywords along the right side as well as the bottom. I like to do a five minute exploration (with a timer) to explore related keywords as I often find inspiration for keywords that I may not have thought of or it gives me a glimpse into what kind of related posts might do well. Read our article about the wolf pack method for more about this SEO strategy.