SEO Tips: 3 Keyword Research Strategies You Can Actually Profit From

sovrnmarketing // September 30, 2016

Trying to make more money from your blog ads by boosting traffic on your site? It’s crucial to an SEO strategy that works.

Perhaps the most recommended and least specific SEO improvement tactic of all time is “do keyword research.” Okay, I’m on board with that. But how in tarnation do you actually do keyword research!? Where do you start?

Start here: double down on keywords that are already generating search traffic by finding keywords with lots of impressions and/or clicks to your pages.

Keyword research strategy #1: Improving click through rate of keywords with lots of impressions.

Let’s use an example from this fashion blog’s Google Search Console. The keyword “overall outfits” shown here has high impressions but low click through rate.

Apparently there a lot of fashionistas who are confused about how to integrate their overalls into their wardrobes. I feel you, fam.

While this article is getting impressions from the query in question – that is, our article about overalls is being shown in the Google Search results when “overall outfits” are searched – people aren’t clicking through from Google to our actual article.

This happens a lot, and it’s a huge missed traffic opportunity!

Before we move on, let’s review the difference between impressions and clicks in the context of organic search real quick…

Impressions = The number of times any URL from your site appeared in search results viewed by a user, not including paid AdWords search impressions.

Clicks = The number clicks on your website URLs from a Google Search results page, not including clicks on paid AdWords search results.

Click through rate = clicks/impressions

Everybody still with me?

There are three main factors that impact click through rate from the Google search results page:
  1. Headline – think hard about what readers are really looking for and optimize the headline accordingly. You want to include the keyword, but you also want it to have life and read fluidly.
  2. Meta description – this is your chance to sell your post. A lot of CMS’s will auto-populate your meta for you by just scraping the first 150ish characters from the post content. Don’t be lazy! Write an optimized meta description for everyone of your posts to boost ranking and click through.
  3. Position – Both your headline and meta might be stellar, but if you are too far down the page, click through rate can only improve so much. Improving position is a mysterious mixture of on page optimization, backlinks and proving to Google that your article has EAT: expertise, authority and trustworthiness. We will get more into that later.
5 ways to improve click through rate for SEO:
  1. Optimize SEO elements – Find your top 10 keywords with high impressions but low click-through-rate (CTR here in Google Analytics) and optimize the titles and metas to better match the specific queries that are generating impressions. Focus on relevance and action! Make it relevant to the query (and include the exact keyword phrase in the title and meta), make it click-worthy. Include emotional triggers to make them truly irresistible.
  2. Focus on long tail keywords – Longer tail keywords have stronger and more relevant search intent, and thus much higher click through rates. Instead of using one or two word keywords to target, target more specific keyword phrases related to the queries you are after.
  3. Put some love into article layout – On-page engagement metrics are important ranking signals as well. Do you you can to decrease bounce rates, increase time on page (videos are great for growing session times), and improve session depth.
  4. Clean up those URLs – Fix jumbled or auto-generated page URLs with clear and consistent URL structure and article name slug.
  5. Markup images for SEO – Properly mark up those images! Google’s bots don’t have eyeballs (thank god) so you have to tell them what’s up with your post images by using alt tags and title tags. Optimize both alt and title tags with keywords and descriptors specific to each image.
Keyword research strategy #2: double down on keywords that are getting lots of clicks

What about the keywords that are getting lots of traffic already? Time to double down. Here are a five ways to squeeze some more juice out of that fruit:

  1. Guess what? More optimization – Same as above, put some love into those headlines, metas and URLs.
  2. Now optimize post content – Go back into each post and optimize the content for the exact keywords and keywords phrases that are generating traffic. It’s good practice to frequently go back and update post content for older articles that are still generating lots of organic traffic.
  3. Sprinkle in some links – Add links to other relevant articles from your site to keep engaged readers on your site and improve your website’s flat link architecture. Link strategy is imperative to SEO success!
  4. Add offers to the articles, if applicable – Trying to grow your email list? Add a call-to-action and capture those readers for your newsletter.
  5. Write more about that topic – Elaborate on the topic in question with additional content around that keyword family. You’ll want to use your old friend the Google Ads Keyword Planner for that one.
Keyword research strategy #3: Surface brand new keywords to target

So now you have spent hours inside of Google Analytics and have totally exhausted those hard working keywords. How do you research new keywords to grow organic search traffic?

  1. Google Trends – You might not believe me right now, but trust me: this can be addictive. Google Trends is a great free tool that many publishers and bloggers utilize to pick up on trending topics. Turns out overalls are still hotter than rompers, but they are losing their edge.
  2. SEMRush – You have to pay for SEMRush to get the true benefits of the tool, but it is very worth the $70/month. SEMRush allows you to enter any website and see all of the keywords that are driving traffic to their site. I recommend excluding branded keywords to get into the meat of their search traffic.
  3. Social media reconnaissance – Following competitors and other sites in your vertical on social media can be an abundant spring keyword ideas. If you are using social media analytics tools like True Social Metrics you can use their social engine to look at what content and topics are catching fire on all of their social platforms.
  4. BuzzSumoBuzzSumo another powerful tool that, I think, is totally worth the moolah. Find topic trending content and run any potential ideas through your other tools like SEMRush, the Keyword Planner and SEMRush to figure out how much traffic is on the table for the keywords in question. Lucky for you, there is a free trial.

Organic traffic allows you to get your content in front of brand new readers who are hungry for your content. Thus, SEO traffic tends to have lower bounce rates, higher time on site and if you optimize your content correctly, deeper sessions.

Now, monetize all that additional organic website traffic with display, mobile and video ads from Sovrn!

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