Imagine this marketing department conversation:
“OK, it’s time to start a new campaign. We need a content plan and the best keywords to incorporate into our strategy.”
“How do we know what terms people are searching for?”
“It’s easy to figure out the obvious keywords, but our competitors have already done that. What we need is are some less competitive terms.”
“Where do we find those?”
Have no fear. We’ve gathered up a few hidden methods with which SEO pros can find the keywords less traveled for their rankings strategy. Let’s take a deeper look at how to find these gems.
By now most people are familiar with Twitter and users’ regular use of hashtags. Keywords can gleaned from these conversations by searching for a hashtag and checking out the discussions that surround the phrase. For example, a company that sells DJ services in Arizona might look at #AZwedding to see what kinds of topics people who are looking for wedding music are asking about. Then the company can be sure to answer the questions in a blog post or get involved with the Twitter conversation.
People who are trying to learn about a topic will do a lot of searches to find helpful information, and that is even more so the case for college students researching courses online. Using the DJ example again, let’s say a student wants to take online college courses to learn the job. He or she might look for classes on music history or hip-hop history or modern dance music. These searches bring up course descriptions that are ripe with keywords a trained DJ could incorporate into his SEO efforts.
This little bit of stealth allows smaller businesses to see what’s working for larger sites. By using Google’s Keyword Planner feature, you can enter your main competitor’s website URL and get a list of different keywords it uses. Pay attention to which keywords are listed as medium or lower in the “competition” category. You can add these to your own keyword list or take one more step and do some actual searches using them to see what the ranking results are. You likely won’t be able to beat the big competition with high competition keywords, but the lower ones can be a good SEO resource.
There are a number of sites that will give you a list of the most common questions people have asked about a given topic. Not only can you get good keyword ideas from these sites, you also can get great topic suggestions for future blog posts. These tools search the top question and answer-based sites on the web to aggregate the most common queries, plus they show you how many people are currently following the thread. The more people watching the discussion, the better the keywords within them can work to your advantage.
By now your keyword research has likely turned up a vast list of possible less-common terms to consider. Some of them might be too obscure to be of much use unless you are a very creative writer and can work them into blog posts and other content. One trick is to start typing a main keyword into the Google search bar and the watching what kind of autofill phrases show up. These might give you new keyword ideas or show you common misspellings that you should consider tapping into.
If you take the time to look in these more obscure places, you can find a treasure trove of unexpected keywords. Finding less-common but important terms for your company’s website may just be the step that boosts you to the first page of the search listings.