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Last Updated on September 14, 2020 by Arif Chowdhury
To grow your website, you must have to get thousands of targeted visitors every month from search engines like Google. Nevertheless, how do you suppose to get thousands of targeted visitors from Google? The answer is, by doing SEO (Search Engine Optimization). While talking about SEO you should remember one vital factor very clearly and that is – Keyword Optimization.
When you write content for your blog or website, you have to do keyword optimization to be ranked in those particular keywords in search engines. And by doing so, your website shows up on top in SERP (Search Engine Result Page) and you start to receive thousands of targeted visitors for free.
Now, in this guide, I will mostly talk about “Keyword & It’s Importance”. Whenever you start doing keyword research, you should keep this in mind that there are a few key factors about the keyword. That is, “keyword search volume” and “keyword difficulty”. Here, the keyword search volume means how many searches a keyword gets every month.
For example, if you check for “keyword” then you would see it has 100K to 1Million monthly search volume and its difficulty is super hard according to Google Keyword Planner Tool & Ahrefs.
What does it mean? This “keyword” has super hard competition, which means big brands are chasing this keyword to get rank higher in search engines. As well as it has high search volume worldwide, obviously, it tells why big brands are chasing it. However, if you only check for these 2 factors your research will be useless.
Why is that? Simple, this “keyword” has broad meaning, it doesn’t have any specific meaning at all. If a user does a search in Google with “keyword” no one really knows what he\she is trying to find out? This is called the “intent” of a user. There are several issues around it.
Narrowing Down Target Audience to Gain Rank in Google
Let’s say you have written an article about “Keyword Importance” and your main focused keyword is “Keyword”. Now, 1,000 people visited your article by searching “keyword” but only 100 of them wanted to know about keyword importance while the rest 900 people’s intention was different, they are not looking for an article at all.
So, what is going to happen? 100 people will stay on your website and read your article while 900 people will leave immediately. Here, you will get a 90% bounce rate & Google will rank you down because 90% of people are leaving your site immediately which means your website is not worthy at all.
I guess you get an idea by now what is the issue here. Your ultimate task is not only to get thousands of visitors but also to keep them on your website as long as possible. And for that, you have to target all 3 factors at once. Keyword search volume, difficulty, and search for intent.
Narrowing down your targeted visitors by using a long-tail keyword. Instead of using only “keyword”, you should focus on “keyword importance”. In this case, you narrowed down your targeted visitors. And now 900 visitors will come to your website who are looking for an article like yours and you will get a 10% bounce rate. Good for your site and able to rank higher in SERP.
This is just a basic idea I tried to give you before I start my guide. Anyway, now let’s look deeper into how you should research keywords for your website more effectively. And how to judge keyword difficulty as well as search intent of users.
Definition: What is Keyword Difficulty?
Keyword difficulty is self-explaining. How hard a keyword is to rank higher in SERP (Search Engine Result Page). If you do a simple search in Google, you will see 10 websites appear on the 1st page. And this is where the competition goes on as every website’s target is to appear in the 1st-page result. This is the ultimate purpose.
Now the question is, which type of keyword you should focus on.
Not every keyword should be worth your time. Why is that? Simple, some keywords have high competition, which means it would take lots of time and effort to appear in the 1st-page result. And most of the cases you will be able to appear as far as the 2nd or 3rd page at best.
Because there are large brands and organizations spending millions of dollars every month to appear on the 1st page. Think about it, if you are a small business, the chances are very slim for you. Therefore, you have to be smart when it comes to improving your SEO by optimizing keywords.
Anatomy of Keyword Difficulty Based on SEO
Big brothers will take the front seat in your University auditorium. This happens usually and always. Now, take a look at the Google 1st page result of the top 10 websites. Here you may see that all top 10 websites are high authority sites. These top websites are also backed up with thousands or even millions of high-quality backlinks from other high authority sites. Which in turn ranked them high enough to get in the top 10 positions on the 1st page.
If you check their domain authority (DA) by using several free DA checkers. You will find out that most of them are high DA sites. However, there are two vital parts of a website authority value. The first one is DA (Domain Authority) and the second one is PA (Page Authority). Both are vital in terms of authority and these directly impact how a website will be able to rank higher in SERP.
If your website DA is only 10 it will be hard for you to compete with other websites to appear in the top 10 results, if they have higher DA than yours.
Definition: Domain Authority (DA) & Page Authority (PA)
You may have already heard about Page Rank. That was an old term, now it’s called DA (Domain Authority). Which means, how much value a domain has from search engines based on its quality of content & backlinks profile. If a domain has a high DA value, it indicates that it will have a bright future in search engines. The same goes for PA (Page Authority) instead of focusing on the root domain PA focus on the individual page of a website.
If you have a website with 5 individual pages then based on your page quality & backlinks profile they may have different PA values. Let me clear this for you a little bit more.
If your domain name is “example.com” & let’s say it has a DA value of 40. However, your contact page “example.com/contact” has a different PA value of 21. This means your overall domain rating is 40. However, the contact page has less value maybe because it has fewer backlinks or quality of content.
Now imagine you have received 2 backlinks from 2 different websites. However, both of them have the same DA value of 40 but PA value is different. One has 31 & the other has 21. Now, having 2 backlinks from the same DA value won’t actually carry the same weight as they have different PA values.
So, the verdict is, DA is the overall value of a domain & PA is the individual value of a specific webpage. Now, this is important. Whenever you are going to target for backlinks always remember that, PA value will have a direct impact than the overall DA value of a website where your backlink will come from.
For example, if you receive a backlink from a website that has a DA value of 60 but the page where your backlink comes from that has only a PA value of 10. Then it won’t give you much link juice. Instead, it will be better to have a backlink from a page the PA value is 30 while the overall DA value is only 40.
Disclaimer: DA & PA are invented by MOZ. These metric is not part of Google ranking factor. We webmaster only use this to justify a website quality. But, Google does not care about DA & PA. Therefore, if your website DA & PA is high or low it only means that judging by the MOZ metric your website quality is good or bad. But, it doesn’t mean that Google will think the same way.
How You Should Check Keyword Difficulty by Yourself?
It is time to begin your keyword research like an expert. Before I tell you how to do it, make sure you remember this always. Do not depend on a single research tool ever. Let’s say you only use the “Google keyword planner tool” for your keyword research. Certainly, you are going to find lots of garbage in there. I am not saying that the Google keyword planner tool is useless but there is so much information that is unclear even misguided.
For example, let’s say you want to research “keyword”. If you use Google keyword planner tool then you may see that they are showing 100K to 1Million search volume per month & competition level is low. Well, this is misguided. As you may think that this keyword has a high search volume and low competition, therefore, you should focus on that. But, unfortunately, it is not true.
If you check with other keyword planner tools like “Wordtracker” then you may find different information about this keyword. Here, it shows 135K monthly search volume and keyword difficulty is 35 out of 100 which means it has medium level competition. Okay, now let’s take a look at Ahrefs here you will see it has super hard competition.
Now the question is, why does every keyword tool have different results for the same keyword?
Well, the answer is, the internet is huge and no one can tell you exact information. As everyone has their perception based on their data. And that’s why you need to research using several keyword planner tools instead of depending on a single tool.
In my opinion, do not focus on a one-word short keyword rather focus on long-tail keywords. For example, “keyword optimization for SEO” focusing on this long-tail keyword will get more benefit than focusing on a one-word short keyword.
Always remember this, a single keyword always has a high competition where long-tail keyword does not have. And by focusing on a long-tail keyword you can target more relevant visitors to your site. It is always best to target quality, not quantity. Later in this guide, I will discuss why you should focus on long-tail keywords rather than short-tail.
Roundup: Always target long-tail keywords regardless of how many search volumes it has.
Here is a collection of top keyword planner tools you may try:
Every keyword tool has its unique feature for example, in Ahrefs you may see they have an estimate of how many high quality backlinks you may need to get on the first page for that specific keyword. I recommended using this tool for researching keywords. However, do not take granted for everything they say about keywords, always remember, everyone has their own set of analysis databases.
Recommended Reading: Best SEO Tools to Improve Your Rank
How to Organize Your Own Keyword Research?
Now I am going to tell you another method of researching keywords without using any keyword planner tool. It will be time-consuming however, you are not depending on any 3rd party software or tool this time. It is your research data.
Several of my favorite DA & PA checker tools you may try:
First, install MozBar, it is a chrome extension to gauge website DA & PA and backlinks profile as well. Whenever you visit a site you will see it’s DA & PA value at the top of your chrome browser & how many backlinks that page has.
Now do a Google search for your selected keyword to begin the research. In this example, I will talk about “keyword”, so by doing a Google search you may find 10 websites on the 1st page.
You can see these websites DA, PA value along with backlinks for that specific page. Here you can see that in the screenshot, three websites from 3rd, 4th & 5th in the ranking.
To give you an example I only decided to talk about these three websites in SERP. Here you can see that the 3rd website is Wordtracker and it has DA 64, PA 63, and backlinks of this specific page are 2.4Million.
Then the 4th website is Moz, it’s DA 89, PA 65 and it has 54K backlinks. And the 5th website is Ahrefs while it’s DA 76, PA 57 and it has 85K backlinks.
Now you may ask, how Wordtracker got in 3rd where it has only DA 64 while Moz in 4th & it has DA 89. Well, take a look at the PA value you may see that the PA value of Wordtracker has 63 while Moz PA value is 65.
Don’t stop here, Wordtracker page has 2.4Million backlinks while Moz page has only 54K backlinks. This could be a specific reason why even with high DA, Moz couldn’t be able to outlast Wordtracker.
Therefore, by using MozBar you can easily get an idea of big brother score in a football match. And whether you may have any chances at all to outlast them in the field. If your website DA value is 30 and the page that you wanted to focus on “keyword” has a PA value of 20 & this page has only 1,000 backlinks then you are nowhere near to outlast them.
Rather you should look for a long tail keyword where the top 10 websites have low DA & PA value and their backlinks are less than your page has or at least somewhere near. In that case, you may have a chance to get on the 1st page for that keyword.
Roundup: Use MozBar to get an idea of DA, PA & backlinks of the top 10 websites to gauge the competition level of a keyword.
Recommended Reading: 17 Google Ranking Factors
Combining Search Volume & Intent with Competition
Congratulations, if you have learned how to gauge the competition level of a keyword by yourself. It is a vital part of your overall keyword research. Now, we are going to add the other two vital parts with it to make it complete.
Keyword search volume and search intent. I already talked about keyword search volume in the earlier section of this guide. As I said before, do not depend on a single tool then your whole research will jeopardize rather use at least 3-4 tools and combine their results to get an idea about keyword search volume.
For example, by using several tools you get an idea about the “importance of SEO” keyword search volume & it is 150,000 per month. Now check your website page that you have focused on “the importance of SEO” with Google Analytics tool to see how much organic traffic you are getting every month. By using this method, you may get an overall idea of your keyword performance. However, do not forget that there are other keywords in your article, you are not only getting traffic for your focused keyword.
Now let’s talk about search intent. There are 3 different types of search intent I am going to talk about in this guide.
This type of search is mainly used for buying a product. For example, “buy Xbox in New York”. Most of the time, users are ready to buy a product and that’s why they used the “buy” keyword at the beginning of their search query.
This type of search is used for finding a piece of information from a specific website. For example, “cliobra” or “cliobra SEO” a user’s main purpose is to find a piece of information from the Cliobra website or SEO related article from the Cliobra website.
This search intent is mainly to find relevant information from the top websites that Google suggests. For example, “best SEO tools for 2020” by using this search user wanted to find out information about SEO tools for the year 2020.
There are other minor types of search intents, however, let’s not broad this topic. I am going to discuss major intents in this guide. Now let’s go down to the business. When talking about the optimization of your website based on these search intents. You have to keep this in mind that there are fine lines between these search intents.
For example, if your website is an eCommerce business related to console gaming like Xbox, PlayStation, etc. Then it is obvious that you are going to focus on “Transactional” means buying intent search.
For the sake of this example, let’s say, you are going to focus on “buy Xbox”, “buy PS4”, and by doing so you are narrowing down the search to get the buyer to your website. This is an effective and efficient way to optimize your keywords.
However, what about other searches that are closely related to your website. Like, “how to play Xbox”, “how to install PS4 game” think carefully, these types of search intents are informational, not transactional. Which means they are not currently searching for an Xbox, PlayStation console to buy. However, they are your customer. Maybe they won’t buy today but tomorrow they are going to search for an Xbox or PlayStation console. Hence, you are missing a huge chunk of customers by not targeting these informational search intents.
So, in that case, you should open a blog for your website where you are going to write articles about Xbox & Play Station & surely you will get thousands of extra customers who are going to buy in the future.
Now, when it comes to keyword optimization you can focus on “Informational” keywords in your blog.
So, let me remind you again. Your purchase page should focus on “Transactional” keywords while your blog page should focus on “Informational” keywords. Most of the big brands are doing this perfectly nowadays, to maximize their profit and keyword optimization.
Roundup: If your website does not have any blog then you should open it. Then focus heavily on “Transactional” keywords for your product page. Your blog and homepage should heavily focus on “Informational” & “Navigational” keywords. Keep this in mind that, even if your product page gets less traffic it can be compensated by getting heavy relevant traffics to your blog by writing and focusing on relevant keywords around your products. Get “Informational & Navigational” intent search users and convert them later to your paid customers.
Only Metric that Differentiate from Choosing a Keyword
By now, you have learned how to identify keyword competition level along with search volume and search intent. You also gained knowledge about how to use varieties of keywords to different pages of your website to acquire maximum profit potential. However, there is only one metric that can alter the decision of choosing a high potential keyword. That is “keyword difficulty”.
It is so obvious, every website wants to rank for their business-related keywords from big brands to a small business or even personal website. Top multi-billion dollar businesses spend millions of dollars to get on the top rank in SERP. And because of this high demand, some keywords become super hard in competition.
It will happen that you may find highly relevant keywords that also have huge search volume and perfect search intent for your website. However, only one problem is that it has hard competition. Therefore, even with so much potential those keywords are not worthy to invest time and effort. Because most likely by focusing on those keywords you are not going anywhere at all.
So, what is the solution? In my opinion, try to find some long-tail keywords that have low competition level as well as have good search volume and relevant search intent to your website. Maybe these keywords do not have huge traffic potential however, by focusing on these low competitive keywords you will be able to rank higher in SERP and start rolling the ball.
And finally, after a while when your website ranked high enough and received thousands of visitors then target high competitive keywords as now you have high DA & PA value to stand a chance against those big boys.