Whether it’s SEO, PPC advertising, or content marketing, keyword research should be at the heart of every search engine marketing campaign. Keyword research not only lets you know how your potential customers are searching online, but it also lets you better understand the psychology of your customers, what questions they are asking and what motivates them to buy a particular product or service. In a previous post, I wrote about how to organise keyword research data but shortly after a few of my readers requested that I share a few more tactics on how to actually gather keyword research data so here it is.
Continue reading if you want to learn how to discover 6 actionable techniques to help you find new keyword opportunities.
1. Scrape Competitors’ Page Titles Using Screaming Frog
The following tactic may come across as quite basic to some veteran SEO, but over the years this technique has served me extremely well. If you have at least a basic understanding of SEO, you will know that when optimising a website’s page title (or title tag as some people call it) involves adding keywords that you wish to rank for on the search engine result pages. The name page title may actually be slightly misleading as they don’t actually appear on the page of a website, instead, they are displayed as a blue link on the search engine result pages as you can see below.
If you come across a competitor’s website that appears to rank well, and especially if you know they have invested in SEO or have a good digital marketing team, it is worthwhile trying to discover which keywords they find important. You could either do this manually by checking the code on every page of their site or you could do it by simply using a tool that just about every SEO professional in the world uses – Screaming Frog.
With the Screaming Frog tool downloaded, all you have to do now is enter the URL of the competitor site you want to scan and there you go!
After scanning your competitor’s site it will return lots of useful information including your competitor’s Page Titles. If you wish, you can then export the data to a spreadsheet for closer analysis.
2. Use SEMrush to Gather a List of Keyword Ideas
SEMrush is by far the best value all-round marketing tool in my arsenal. It has a host of features and there are a few ways you can use it to gather keyword ideas.
One way is to enter your competitor’s domain and navigate to the “Top Organic Keywords” section of the report.
Another way is by going to the ‘All Tools’ panel on the left side of the screen and pick Keyword Analytics to get insights into more specific keywords.
The first approach — scanning keywords by competitor domains — is really helpful when you’re curious to know what keywords your competitors are ranking for and what their monthly traffic volume, cost per click, and percentage of traffic is with respect to the overall organic traffic the sites generate.
Although I will go into how to understand exactly which keywords you should focus on in a future blog post, one way to gauge how important a keyword is to a commercial business is how much they are willing to pay to show for that keyword via Google Ads. To get a feel for this, pay attention to the column titled ‘CPC’. This column gives you an insight into how much a business is willing to pay for that particular keyword when advertising through Google Ads.
You may now want to take it a step further and start searching for suggestions around a specific keyphrase instead of a competitor site of simply analysing a competitor’s website. It’s extremely simple to do this. Simply enter the keyword you’re interested in into the search bar and hit ‘Search’..
As soon as you insert your keyword and hit the search button, a goldmine of data will appear for you to sift through. If you’re in the overview section of the Keyword Analytics, you can see traffic volume by a specific country as well as globally.
You can also take a sneak peek at the SERP features the keyword qualifies for and its traffic trend over a given period of time.
What’s more, the overview section provides a long list of variant keywords that you can analyse in terms of their relevance, traffic, and conversion potential.
As well as the specific questions users are asking on search engines that are closely related to the seed keyword.
This is not all – SEMrush knows what data means to astute marketers and they have clustered all the amazing metrics under the Keyword Magic Tool menu of the Keyword Analytics.
This data comes in particularly handy when analysing keywords based on quantitative metrics like traffic volume, keyword trend, keyword difficulty, cost per click and more.
Notice how the Keyword Magic Tool organises keywords into groups in the left-hand column, this allows you to filter keywords. For example, if you click ‘products’ you will be presented with a list of skincare keywords that include the word ‘products’.
3. Use Dynamic Search Ads To Find New Profitable Keywords
If you currently run Google Ads you may be aware of Dynamic Search Ads. Dynamic Search Ads is a function within Google Ads that allows you to automatically target search queries based on your website’s data with very little effort. The technology that Dynamic Search Ads has some similarities to Google Organic Search as it is very good at determining if your website is relevant to any given search query.
So, for example, if you have a page within your website that is relevant to the keyword ‘buy Nike trainers’ and you run Dynamic Search Ads, it is very likely that an ad could show automatically when somebody searches using that keyword. If you couple Dynamic Search Ads with an automated bidding strategy such as ‘Maximise Conversions’ bidding, you basically get Google to do a lot of the heavy lifting to help you determine which keywords are likely to generate sales or leads.
Firstly you need to simply create a new campaign.
Then, select a campaign goal.
Choose “Search” as your campaign type and hit continue.
You should now enter the campaign settings area where you can adjust a bunch of other settings (related to the audience, bidding, network, language, etc.) and customise the campaign to your specifications.
Right under the Networks Setting panel, you should notice a “show more settings” tap. Click on it and select “Dynamic Search Ads settings”.
Enter your domain name and select “Use Google’s index of my website” as your targeting source.
You can then choose to target specific sections of a website such as all sections that contain the word ‘Nike’ in the URL but for the purpose of this demo I simply selected ‘All web pages’
You can then add description information that you wish to appear in your ad but the headline of your ad will be dynamically generated based on the user’s search query and the content of a particular page. I often use this tactic to mine new keyword ideas for my clients but it can also be a very effective way to generate sales or leads.
If you would like to try this, but you’re unfamiliar with Google Ads, feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn or by sending me a message. Don’t try this tactic if you’re completely unfamiliar with Google Ads as it can burn through budget if you’re not careful.
4. Use Scrapesimilar To Get Product, Brand & Keyword Ideas
Gathering information from a competitor’s website can be a great way to get new keyword ideas, we all know that branded keywords can convert incredibly as branded keywords often indicate that somebody is nearing the end of the buying cycle so this following tactic will show you a simple way to get information on branded keywords quickly.
Let me show you how.
Go to the Chrome Website and download this extension called Scraper.
Go on to a competitor’s website and check for a brand section on their site, if they don’t have a section listing all of their brands, sometimes this information can be found on other areas of their website such as on the left-hand navigation section of a category page.
Let’s say I’m interested in gathering data on cycling brands that are listed on Evans Cycles. I’ll right-click on one of the listed brands and select “scrape similar” from the list of options.
This should trigger the extension to start scrapping all the text strings on the page that are similar to our selected string — in this case, the cycle brand “Abike Co”.
Navigate to the bottom-right and copy the output to the tool’s clipboard or export it to a Google Doc file.
You will then be presented with a list of brands in a Google Doc file, sometimes you may want to simply analyse search volumes just for the brand name, but here’s a quick way to drill down a little more and find some more specific keywords.
Open your Excel or Google Sheets. Paste your data and apply this little formula (or some variation of it depending on your product name): =A2&” cycle”. This will simply apply the word ‘cycle’ as a keyword modifier.
Once it’s applied to the first item, click on the little blue square and drag all the way down to the bottom of the list to bulk-implement the rule.
Next, go to any reliable web tool that would give you an estimate of the traffic volume these keywords are generating on the web. My favourite is SEMrush’s Keyword Overview tool.
As soon as you enter your list of keywords and click on “Analyze”, the tool will pull a report that contains valuable data around your keywords, including their traffic volume estimated cost per click if and more.
In the above example, we have modified each keyword by appending the word cycle to the end, but what this method allows you to do is try a number of variations really quickly. For example, you could simply change the word cycle to bike and see which variations produce the best results.
Glean as much insight from the tool as you can and use it to develop a more practical strategy for your marketing.
5. You Can Still Get Some Great Insights From Meta Keywords
The use of keywords in the meta no longer carries the value it used to (in the early days of SEO) and most SEOs are aware of that, but old habits die hard so some people still use them. Open the competitor site you want to analyse, right-click on your browser window and click ‘view source’. Simply search to see if meta name=”keywords” is present within the code, if you are lucky, you’ll find out what your competitors are targeting on that particular page.
The above tactic can be done manually if you want to have a quick look at a single page, however, you can also use Screaming Frog to automate the process.
6. Use Answer The Public To Get Content Ideas
“Get instant, raw search insights, direct from the minds of your customers.” That’s how Answer The Public describes this tool. Answer The Public has been around for a while now but I think it has fallen off of lots of people’s radars so it’s time we stuck it back in the limelight. If you spend 5 mins playing around with this tool (and it’s really easy) you’ll see why so many people love it.
Answer The Public is a great way to discover what questions your potential customers are asking online. Not only is this great for keyword research, but it could also help inform your content strategy.
You hit the search button and, in a matter of seconds, the tool returns beautiful visualisations of the type of questions people are asking online. I have shared just one example below…
The visualisation mode is what helps you get a bird’s-eye view of the overall picture but data mode is excellent when you need to have a detailed and orderly look at the data.
All in all, Answer The Public is a great tool to help you perform keyword research or develop a content strategy for your online marketing campaigns.
I Hope This Was Useful
I hope you found this blog post useful, I have shared a few links below that I feel will help complement anything that you have learned from this post.
If you liked this post, please share it or click here to like or comment on LinkedIn.
DIY Keyword Research Worth Up To £10,000 – this article that I wrote recently wrote will teach you how to organise keyword research data using mind maps.
Get competitor order volume, keyword data, traffic data & more – in this article that I published on my businesses’ blog I share how to take a look under the hood of your competitor’s business.
Improve Your SEO using PPC – for anybody interested in gathering data from their PPC campaigns, this is a blog post I wrote recently for SEMrush.
I have some more blog posts coming up that will teach you about marketing & making money online, if you are interested in being notified about them, subscribe to my mailing list.