If you had a crystal ball that could magically tell you the things that could impact your ranking in the Google SERP the, most, you would hope to get back keywords. Not just any keywords, but the keywords that would help push you to the top of SERPS in a constantly changing internet market. The keywords that you needed last week as part of your keyword planning session! That might just be the SEO nerd in me, because in all reality you would hope to find the answer to who was going to win the College Football Playoff, the Kentucky Derby or the next stock to start at $15 a share and grow to $200 a short amount of time. Well, the latter will never happen but you may be able to imitate the former by properly planning keywords needed to make your site jump up in the SERP. The following are some ways to plan outside of visiting your old friend Google Adwords and using the same tool that everyone else is using to predict future keyword demand. If you hate reading and just some free tools Duct Tape Marketing rounded up some free and paid tools for you.
GOOGLE SEARCHES AND HUMMINGBIRD
Google is the ranked the #1 search engine in the United States by volume of searches completed daily, it is estimated that Google completes 40,000 searches a second worldwide. If you work in an industry that does global business you absolutely need to ensure that your site is relevant. Relevancy turns into more visits, more hits, more click throughs and hopefully more revenue. Google is no dummy. They know that for their business to grow and for Google to stay relevant that they need to return the best results. Imagine if Google constantly gave you poor results. We would have all jumped ship to Bing, Yahoo, Baidu or some other search engine. So in order to stay relevant Google updated its search algorithm, because, well, they want to stay relevant. Code-named “hummingbird” because Google wants it to be “light and fast”, this new update helps people find the right result with conversational searching such as, “Where is the nearest gas station to me”. The new results would hopefully recognize that the meaning of me means the nearest to me right now and that you are looking to buy gas not just doing some information search on gas stations in the area. Knowing how Google operates can help you plan the keywords you are looking for. To be fair, this post is about how to utilize non-Google products to impact your rankings but if you love Google more than anything, go here and learn to to utilize Keyword Planner, if not, keep reading.
THE HUMAN SEARCH
One of the most impactful things you can do while keyword planning is this new aged, fancy thing called talking to people. Involving key people is absolutely necessary when keyword planning. By involving your sales team, or other company stakeholders you can get feedback about the words you are thinking about and better yet, ask them how they would search for your company/product. Salespeople tend to utilize search words and phrasing in describing your product of service and if they are saying these words your clients most likely are as well. Other stakeholders may be telling friends or family about the company and using another set of keywords. If someone is spreading the good word, then it is your duty to capture those keywords! Not to mention the keyword phrases they would use and how hummingbird will decipher them. Using real people helps your planning go beyond Google Keywords.
RAID THE COMPETITOR
Raiding is just a cool word. We have ripped it off and used it many ways including videos games so why not use it in business? When keyword planning, go hit up your competitor’s websites and raid what they have in the coffers. If consumers are using phrases like “cool awesome new Star Wars video game you just can’t miss it” in their website and people are not only hitting their website but it’s resulting in purchases, they you probably should have some keyword phrases that say the same exact thing. Look for trends like these while keyword planning! The largest competitors in the industry are doing SEO optimization just like you are on a daily basis but some of the big boys have tools you cannot afford so take what you can and use it! You don’t think they raid? Think again. Raiding may be hard to do if you cannot clearly define the big player in your industry or find unknown competitors but hopefully you have a good idea of who is your biggest competitor right now.
DON’T FORGET THE LONG TAIL
Long tail searches are becoming so popular that Google now defines some of them as the ultra long tail searches. These are critical in keyword planning. These ultra long tails are ones that Google has never before seen. These account for 25% of daily searches. Keep two things in mind, firstly that long tails for products usually follow the pattern of brand, model and then what the item is. So if you are selling products keep your keywords in a similar pattern and secondly get your daily customers involved. By creating some blogging, reviewing, forum type sections of your site available you gain traction with new keywords and long tails as they originate. Customers will give you exactly the phrases they are using when talking about your product or service and how that phrasing is being altered over time. Moz caclls this Large Scale, Untargeted Long Tail SEO. Just beware of trolls as they can be deadly and be prepared to remove them from your site. No one ever liked trolls, including Harry Potter.