The Basics of Keyword of Research

Keyword rankings are like mini billboards scattered across the internet. You can take advantage of this form of advertisement by following the guidelines of search engines who will reward with higher rankings on keywords that have the most visibility.

The closer the keyword is to the top 5 position, the more likely people are going to find your business. The purpose behind keyword research is identifying what search phrases is related to your business that you could use to drive users to your business.

Finding high buyer intent keywords

Not all search phrases are the same even if they contain similar keywords. In fact subtle differences in word choice in Google could return a completely different page of results.

For example a person who searches for ice cream flavors is probably planning to make his own ice cream, or there is also a chance they are looking to browse a nearby ice cream shop’s menu.

Another example is a person who searches for ice cream near me is most likely ready to drive over and buy some ice cream immediately.

There are many examples of buyer intent, from users just looking to learn more information to those with money in hand ready to buy. Its just something to keep in mind when selecting which keywords to prioritize.

Example search phrases with high buyer intent:

Ice cream under $10 dollars
Best ice cream shops near me
Chocolate ice cream near me

Local vs Global Rankings

Different types of keyword phrases will trigger local results versus worldwide search results. Search engines would be ineffective if they showed ice cream shops from different countries in the search results.

Search phrases with keywords such as near me, close to me, around me will automatically trigger most modern search engines to return only local businesses. Also many users search include using their city name and area zipcodes in the search which will also trigger local results.

Examples of Local Search Phrases

ice cream shop near me
ice cream shop around me
ice cream shop within 5 miles
ice cream shop near hacienda heights, ca
ice cream shop 91745

Examples of Global Search Phrases

ice cream recipes
ice cream books
how to make ice cream
best ice cream flavors

How to Size Up the Competition

Without using tools, one can determine the level of competition simply by watching out for these signs:

  1. Are the page one positions occupied by mostly directory or social media sites, ie: Yelp, LinkedIn, HomeAdvisor, etc.
  2. Is the first organic position a company branded website?
  3. How well designed is the competitors website including the quality of their content?

Low vs high competition keywords

When dealing with very competitive keywords, its sometimes necessary to analyze indepth the SEO makeup of the other competitor websites and digest their strategy.

SEOQuake is a useful chrome extension that allows users to see the backlink profile, estimated traffic and other metrics of Google search results.

Signs of a keyword with low competition

If the first page is filled with mostly directory sites, social media pages or low quality websites then chances are you have a good chance of ranking for this keyword by simply following best practices.

9/10 a company website with the right foundation should have more authority than a Yelp site, simply because a customer gets more value by learning about the local company directly from their website.

With SEOQuake: If the top 5 competitor URLs have less than 100 L (backlinks) than the local competition/keyword phrase is low competition.

Estimating how long it takes to rank

99.9% of the time, search engines won’t play favorites, so all it comes down to is the number of backlinks, shares and reviews your website has versus your competitors.

You can estimate how long it will take to rank based on when you expect your website to outperform your competitor’s in terms of onsite metrics, social engagements, link building, shared content etc.

If your competitor is regularly updating their website content and social media, than it will come down to matching the quality and quantity of content as well as standing out from your competitor via a new angle they are not using, such as a new website feature or exclusive online offer.

Best Rated Keyword Tools For SEO

No SEO tool is 100% accurate, the metrics they provide are simply an estimate but can help guide you in determining the value of one keyword versus another.

Our favorite free keyword tool for looking up search volume, is Ubersuggest which has no limits on usage and also provides a good list of keyword ideas.

For a more indepth look into a website’s exact keyword ranking, we recommend using SEMRush. Using SEMRush, we’re able to look at traffic a website’s traffic overtime, the number of keywords in top 5/10/100 positions, backlink profiles and more.

Ahrefs is also a very popular tool among SEO specialists for competitor research and researching traffic sources.