Keywords research is the first step to starting an SEO Campaign.
How do we do keyword research?
For years, we have relied on google keyword planner and paid tools like Moz, Longtail pro, etc for finding keywords for a website. That’s the normal process I followed, and I still follow diligently like a good obedient kid who does all his homework without creating any fuss.
The only problem with the above technique is that it is not quite effective when you are in need to revise your existing set of keywords.
Why would you revise your keyword list?
Let’s just say your initial keyword list is not performing as per your expectations. For some reason, the keywords in the list are not moving in rankings – even after 2-3 months of work.
Time for you to update your strategy!
Now, how do you update your keyword research strategy?
The usual method is obviously going back to google keyword planner and other paid tools or snooping on your competitors to see, how they are killing it out there.
Again, it is tedious. Time-consuming and can again lead to targeting keywords which are unachievable for your website.
What if I told you “Google gives you keywords to target for your website”.
Yes. Google – the Numero Uno Search Engine gives you hints through its tool “Google Webmaster”.
In this blog, I am going to teach you “How Google webmaster can be used for keyword research”.
The strategy has helped me find 100 of keywords for our Digital Marketing Startup.
In our office, we refer to these keywords as – hidden gems.
To get keywords from google webmaster, you will need:
- A blog or a page with some SEO work already done on the website.
- Patience 🙂 . Google webmaster start showing keywords after say few weeks or months of the web page going live.
How do you find keywords using Google Webmaster?
The general perception around Google Webmaster is that it is a tool used to take care of website issues like broken links, web crawler issues, etc.
The kind of issues all Digital Marketers identify from time to time to avoid getting penalized. The tool is a messenger from Google telling us “Your website has these issues. Fix them before we penalize your website”.
But, there is more to google webmaster than just being a tool which gives you information about issues.
There is a section in webmaster which shows you the daily traffic and daily visits:
I know it is one of those sections which we chose to ignore.
First of all, it is not user-friendly to look at. Secondly, we have google analytics to help us with traffic-related insights.
Why waste our time adding one more tool to our list of tools?
That’s what we did for years until I came across some new keywords showing up on webmaster’ s Search traffic page.
And that changed our keyword strategy for good.
Most of the SEO folks you meet will tell you that keyword research is a onetime thing. For me, keyword research is an ongoing process. We evolve our keyword strategies as we move along with our SEO Campaigns.
And Google webmaster has been immensely helpful in identifying keywords Google is reading our web pages for.
I personally find google webmaster quite fascinating. Its one of those fighters who help you win a battle without taking any credit for the win – The Unsung Hero.
Here is an example to demonstrate how we found keywords for our digital marketing training company using google webmaster:
We started SEO on our web link http://thesharpbrain.com/really-need-career-digital-marketing/ with the initial set of keywords around the base keyword “Career in Digital marketing”.
We did link building on the weblink using different keywords around the base keywords.
Since the article is an in-depth article and covers all topics related to Career in Digital Marketing such as why choose digital marketing as a career, the growth of Digital Marketing, Importance of Digital Marketing, How Digital Marketing help you, etc – the article started getting picked by Google for new keywords every week (with a little bit of backlinking from our end).
We started our campaigns in the month of September with keywords:
By November, we had around 13 live approved backlinks to the page.
The keywords we had targeted on Google had now started showing on the third Page of SERP.
In the month of November, we started adding keywords from webmaster to our keyword strategy.
There were a bunch of keywords shown in webmaster. Since most of them were long tail keywords, the competition wasn’t too high on them.
For ex, these were the keywords we added to our list in November:
All we did was – we picked up keywords around the basic idea of our page/blog.
We did avoid single word keywords or the ones which had a lot of competition, focussing more on keywords with High CTR and More impressions.
What was the benefit of the above strategy?
To start with, the list you have from google webmaster is from Google itself.
The keyword list is a goldmine. You cannot ignore the same.
Secondly, you now have more keyword to help you with your backlink strategy.
(Note: we all know the ill effects of bad backlinking. Few bad links or too many links pointing back to your website with the same keyword ultimately penalizes your SEO).
And lastly, you now have a long list of keywords. All you must do now is select few longtail keywords with low competition and use them to drive traffic to your website.
A lot of longtail keywords around your base keywords will always benefit you.
Rather than trying to drive some X amount of traffic from 5 keywords, you now focus on some 50-odd easy and mid-competition keywords which are related to each other to get the same amount of traffic.
Here is the final list of keywords we have with us today. (All thanks to google webmaster)
We rank in the top 10 for at least 25 of these keywords.
To implement the above strategy, you should start by:
- Writing an in-depth blog where you discuss everything related to the topic in detail.
- Optimize the blog for the initial set of keywords you want to target.
- And do not write a blog for search engines. Write for end audience. Once you start writing for the audience, search engines will do their job.
Once you publish the blog, you must start with your backlinking on the initial set of keywords selected and then wait for 1 to 2 months (patience. My friends! All good things in life take their own sweet time).
After 2 months, start keeping a track of google webmaster’s list of keywords.
If your backlinking is not spam, the list will start updating itself.
Google will start giving you keywords.
Filter them by selecting the ones matching your target page by giving preference to the ones with more CTR (Click Through Rate) and good impressions.
Once you have the initial list, revise your backlinking strategy to rank your website high in as many keywords as possible.
Mistakes to avoid:
- Just because you have a long list of keywords from the webmaster, do not overdo link building. (excessive link building always link to spamming of a website).
- Do not write senseless articles just to complete 1500 or 2000 words. Google looks for meanings in each article and if your article is a directionless article just to confuse Google. God helps your SEO strategy. (You can anytime read How to write a blog to learn the steps to writing a good blog).
- Select the keywords from Google’s webmaster carefully. Always remember – “All that glitters is not Gold!”. Tomorrow, you might find keywords which give you 100 visitors in a day. Check the competition before you pick them.
- Avoid single word or two words keyword.
- Do not change your article only because Google suggested you a keyword which is easy to rank and has fewer websites competing for the same. Stick to your guns! Webmaster’s keywords change with time. In between, feel free to make your article/blog better by adding more points.
And last but not the least, Trust in Force.
May the Force be with you! (the last line is strictly for Star Wars fans: )