Keyword Research is incredibly important for the creation of a profitable website. It is a fundamental skill that the better you are at it the more success you will have.
To that end I have pulled on every resource/connection I have to create the best guide on Advanced Keyword Research.
What You Will Learn in This Post:
Learn more from Ewen by signing up for his list here!
One Big Takeaway Not Talked About Before - Keyword Competition / Keyword Difficulty is still measured by metrics such as Keyword in Title/URL and Backlink Metrics but now with tools such as MarketMuse you can analytically measure competition by the competitions content score! (I will review this in more detail below)
Ewen is the source of a LOT of the information in this post and is an absolute expert when it comes to keyword research for content sites and his Q4 earnings reflect that!
This post allows you to go beyond the Google keyword planner and dig deep to find the long-tail keyword that will help you find your target audience and win in the search engines
The SEO chat with Ewen also helps reveal how to use the best keyword research tool to develop your SEO strategy.
If you are following along on the Mortgage Crushing Competition to learn How to Make a Website that makes money in 2017 then by the end of this module you should...
Take the top 1-3 ideas you identified using the Blue Ocean strategy in Module 1 and complete keyword research on them to validate if there are keywords that meet the metrics listed in this section
Below is the keyword process and procedure used for the content marketing service ContentRefined.com. As always you can do the exact same process yourself and I share EVERYTHING but if you want to save time/money and not buy the expensive tools you can have Content Refined create content for your site following these keyword research guidelines.
Solid and concise Keyword research is likely the most important and crucial process for Content Refined. It’s the second point of contact that we have with our clients, and if we don’t nail it, the whole Content Refined order can feel like an uphill battle.
This is why we’ve spent a lot of time and resources trying to execute the best procedure possible to ensure that we equip our client’s with the best keywords out there for the content they’ve hired us to write for their sites. Although we are always seeking to improve this keyword research process is delivering a lot of high ranking content. Keep reading for details on how to do this yourself using our Content Refined Process!
Thanks to Ewan, we started using a great tool called SECockpit.
There are quite few things that make SEcockpit different (and in my opinion better) than competing tools.
The core of what I like is that because of the ability to slice into one keyword theme deeper it provides the ability to complete deeper market research and doesn't simply focus on finding 1 great keyword.
How SEcockpit fits into our Content Refined Procedure
To get into the nitty gritty of how Secockpit works, and how we’ve used it to systematize our keyword research, check out step by step procedure how SEcockpit works
Login to SEcockpit and go to the dashboard and click on the Key symbol to search for your first keyword.
This is where it gets interesting. Type in a Keyword of your choice and look at your options.
I instruct my team to select the Google Adwords ideas that are closely related and to select Append Prepend, and Add Words in Between. This increases our chances of coming across a great related keyword
Then, you’ll want to figure out who your audience is. Is your client or audience based in North America? We have quite a few clients in the UK and in Europe who aren’t looking for North American Keywords because they aren’t relevant the their market. It’s really important to select the right location that will be relevant for their rankings.
Then we have a couple of more search options that we generally don’t use too much unless we’re looking for a keyword to rank in Youtube which hasn’t happened yet for Content Refined
Make sure you’ve inputted your keyword and that you’ve selected your search criteria and then click on Save and Close for the search to begin!
This is where my team sort of customizes things. Our metrics are pretty specific and they are based off of experience. We go after keywords that have 1000+ Monthly Searches and that are under 30% competition. SEcockpit is great for this because they have a filtering tool that will eliminate anything that doesn’t meet our metric.
This metric is simply used because we’ve seen the most success with keywords that fit within these parameters. If client’s prefer to use their own metrics, we will of course abide by that.
Monthly Search Volume Filter: > 1000
Competition Score: < 30%
Then, as you can see here below, we have our comprehensive list of keywords that meet our metrics:
So this is where you need to do some more digging. With this view, it looks like all of these keywords are great, but you need to click on the keyword to view a full keyword analysis which will give you more information to help you determine if it’s a viable keyword for your article.
Let’s look at the Keyword “Charcoal Pills” which has 40,500 monthly searches and only 17.25% competition score. This generally looks like a pretty golden keyword and at first glance it looks like a no-brainer to go after it.
With this comprehensive Keyword Analysis, the top 2 things that we look at is the DA ( Domain Authority and the Top 10 websites. As you can see below, the DA is really high, which means that the competing websites are ranking very well and getting a ton of traffic according to google.
If our client’s site or your site you are building is not already an authority site in it’s space (which in general, most are not ), then it would be a bad idea to go after this keyword for them because their domain will not be able to compete with the authority domain in that space. For example in this case WebMD and other very well known sites in the space
We don't know the secret sauce in the Algorithm that SECockpit uses but I believe they under-value DA and you need to do a manual check on the competition to see that a site like yours can compete in the top 10 (more on that in the next step).
What we do is take a look at the two lower DA’s and have a look at their site to see if we can outrank them for this keyword.
To do this we generally use the tool MarketMuse to analyze the content score of the URL and top 10 pages we want to beat to see if its a soft market.
In general we would like to see a keyword with...
Based on this analysis there are only 2 URLs in the top 10 with DA scores below 70 and they are both reasonably high at approximately 50. In addition the Market Muse content quality score is definitely beatable but isn't wide open.
Let’s try another keyword on the list, here I’ve chosen a Keyword that was provided to us by the tool based off of the “closely related words” function of the search criteria.
Keyword: Activated Carbon Filter- which has 5400 Monthly Searches and has a competition score of 27.39
When we click on it for the Analysis, we can see right away that this will be a more viable option to go after than the last keyword as the DA for the competing sites are lower in general.
Here, I have checked a couple of the Domains and I have determined that I can definitely compete with a few of these sites as their DA is low and ContentScore according to MarketMuse is below 20. This isn’t to say that they won’t be hard to beat, but they are not out of our reach and they are a similar site as the one we have. I’m confident that with the use of SEcockpit, I’m able to find the best keyword using its rankings, but also it’s analysis on who/how other’s are using this keyword in their niche.
Now that we have our Keyword (Activated Carbon Filter), we want to make sure that we create great content that is rich with other related keywords and Content Depth. The higher we can rank for related keywords and the more relevant topics we cover, the better our article is going to rank on google.
For this, we’ve invested in a tool called Marketmuse. What I like to do before I assign my content to my writers is do a Marketmuse Analysis on the Keyword and Topic.
Here, I’ve created an Article title using my Keyword - How an Activated Carbon Filter Works
Next, I’m going to take my Post Title and I’m going to plug it into Marketmuse like this
Now we have our full analysis which will give us a good indication of what the “Market Value” of this keyword is in terms of online content. See below for the breakdown
In the screenshot:
Step 1: If you look at the circled section, these are some key indicators of what your content should be scoring. Personally, I find the “Best Content Score Target” Is pretty inaccurate because I feel as though the “Best Content” is often manipulated. This is why we try and aim above average. In this case, we want to be above 18 ( so generally between 20-25) for our content score with this article.
Step 2: Average word count target is a good indication of how long an article should be.
There are times that I will get back to a Content Refined client who has ordered 8 articles ( who by rule of thumb are 1000 words each article) and I’ve asked if they would rather make their articles longer and fewer ( for example 2 articles at 2000 words and then 4 articles at 1000 words). This is for this exact purpose - to optimize their marketmuse score so that their articles are more valuable in the eyes of google. The longer the article is, the better your article’s market value is going to be on the internet.
Step 3: Marketmuse give us a list of related topics and Keywords which will really help when it comes to assigning articles to a writer. What I do, is just click on the copy button and you can paste the related keywords into the article brief you send to your writer. I generally like to instruct my writers to use as many of the related keywords and topics as possible.
This not only increases it’s chances of getting high scores, but it also makes the article more interesting and broad. With this keyword topic for example, the writer might choose to talk about adsorption capacity as a topic in their article, which they might not have thought of by themselves. It’s just a really good way to make sure the topic is being fully covered in the article to make it a useful article.
That’s pretty much it! You’re done!
Now this wouldn’t be a good blog post without mentioning some of the downsides to our tools:
|Provides niche validation||I can't copy/paste from the interface... very minor but drives me nuts!|
|Appending, prepending and in between words Search||It seems to be down for maintenance quite a bit|
|Amazon and Youtube search||It’s relatively expensive ( This tool costs us about 80 dollars a month to use)|
|Comprehensive keyword analysis|
|Insight on competition factors|
|Identifies low quality content opportunities||It’s REALLY expensive ( costs up to $495/MONTH and you have to sign up for 6 months)|
|Identifies High Quality content in a quantifiable way|
|Provides relevant keywords and topics to help guide your writers|
|Provides insight on how to improve existing content|
|Helps standardize quality|
|Helps you rank based on relevancy which is compatible with google’s Hummingbird algorithms|
In conclusion, with the help of these tools, we’ve essentially been able to create a process that allows us to find the Best Keywords to go after, understand who our competition is, and equip our writers with an analysis of their topic that will allow them to create and submit useful, top quality content better then the page 1 competition.
Hopefully you feel like you understand the process and have access to the same tools that we have to crush out amazing content for your site. If the price tag of these tools looks a little scary to you, you can always save money/time with testing out our Content Refined Service!
For a very reasonable cost/article ratio while reaping the benefits of the tools we use, you won’t be losing! Check out our page here for more details or reach out to maddie@contentrefined for additional information.
If the price point of the previously mentioned tools or ContentRefined makes this process a little out of reach there is an alternative that is free!
SEMRush's "SEO Keyword Magic" tool can be used with a free account and produces some solid results!
The challenge is SEMRush will only generate closely related keywords with the main keyword in it. However, with the filtering options available for Search Volume and KD (keyword difficulty) it can produce some great results.
Other quality tools include Long Tail Pro, Market Samurai (not recommended) and Keyword Snatcher, both can be great but I find SECockpit is the best advanced tool.
See the 2 step process below to get some solid keywords.
Here are the key takeaways from this training...
Tools mentioned (not all are affiliate links)...
Special thanks to Ewen for both his help and taking the time to share his expertise in the video above. You can learn more from him by signing up to his list here.
If we have a TON of interest and questions asked in the comments below we will setup a free webinar to answer the questions live.
From feedback in the great Facebook Group here there have been questions around the topic of what timeline should people be following if they are joining us on the Mortgage Crushing Competition or the How to Make to Make a Website that makes money in 2017 challenge.
This post attempts to layout the modules we will be covering them and where in the process I suggest you be.
One important clarification is that we will be sharing our journey and documenting the steps/providing training to follow along but there is no reason you can’t work ahead or if you come late you should still be able to cover everything.Continue reading
Want to build a site in 2017 that pays your mortgage/rent…
When I was starting out building my portfolio I liked to think about income from my sites in terms of the freedom it would provide… what was on the monthly budget that a sites earnings would pay for!
I would think along the lines of…
In this post I am going to share several strategies I have been deploying on my sites over the last few months and the results these tests/case-studies/strategies have been able to achieve.
All of the strategies listed below are being discussed from experience and not theory. Each of the example sites are from my portfolio. For the four strategies below I highlight 5 sites that are in my portfolio that represent what these strategies are capable of.
I am certain there are many many other strategies that work but these are the 5 I have been having the most success with lately…Continue reading
This post is about how one of those ideas is now going to be seeing the light of day and the process I have followed to think through the opportunity and the execution plan for a new project/business.
Don’t want to read everything… the new project is a Done For You Content Marketing Service
In the comments I would be VERY VERY interested in hearing people tear this plan apart!
But also since I am sharing so much info about my business plan so early in the process I would be interested in feedback on if that is either…
I have been being continually asked if, since I already have a team and process, can’t I just publish content onto someones money site for a fee?
I continually said NO WAY since I believed creating great content was a core process for any money site owner and thought people should do it for their own sites!
However, what changed my mind was several discussions with people who are looking to rapidly scale their portfolio and taking the long time (which it does take) to build the internal processes/procedures and team to create great content consistently would slow them down.
Plus, there were others I talked to where their “core competency/offering” they needed to own was something else such as physical products, SAAS offering or even for someone building content sites their focus was on keyword research and monetization not on running a content team.
In short people needed a service that could act as their in house end-end content marketing team that could easily plug into newly acquired sites or existing businesses where the owners/managers wanted to focus on priorities other than content marketing!
Our new project is ContentRefined.com - Content Marketing Refined!
We will take care of all your content marketing needs from keyword research to post publishing and promotion.
We act as if we were your in house content marketing team.
note – some limited and discounted beta testers are now welcome
Currently the services offerings seem to be focused on producing content with little focus on driving the results for the business associated with that content. Many boutique content marketing agencies charge an incredible amount for publishing fairly basic content.
What I mean is most businesses come from a content first background and try to make the marketing portion of content marketing work. For us we come from the marketing side of content marketing and our core strengths are in the keyword research and promotion compared to our competition who want to focus on $/word.
With our extreme (as you will see below) focus on systematically verifying high quality articles we will be able to produce the best content but will crush our competition in terms of creating content that delivers results.
Content Marketing Companies:
As always I like to share EVERYTHING and this post is a little different where normally I don’t like to share everything so early in the process but I believe that if I am not feeling a little uncomfortable I am probably not pushing hard enough. So to that end I have decided to share almost everything VERY early in the process!
At a recent conference (RhodiumWeekend) a great presenter, very successful website portfolio manager and long-time reader of AuthorityWebsiteIncome (Daniel) showed a 1 page business model canvas that I really liked and had the opportunity to apply it here.
More Information About the Business Model Canvas – Click Here
Unfair / Competitive Advantage – Highly systematized business with talented/dedicated north American business manager providing a productized service that is nicely integrated into my existing audience and productized services AuthorityWebsiteIncome.com, LightningRank.com and BrandBuilders.io. Marketing focused first vs other content focused first content marketing services.
Following another of my favourite business books (LeanStartup) I have my list of variables/hypothesis to validate to determine how viable this business will be…
Next I have another set of variables to test and validate with the next round of beta-testers
3. We will be able to scale without losing margin
4. Customer acquisition costs will be known and stable
5. Churn rate for customers will be manageable
If you are interested in being a beta tester you can checkout the service here.
This aspect of setting up a project/business has been often overlooked by me and I have paid for it!
All my projects that have had the most success when it comes to running smoothly and realizing their full potential the most important part has been setting up the business consistent with EMyth Revisited.
Having a highly systematized business and with a clear structure on who sits in 3 key positions (Entrepreneur, Manager and Technician) has been the key for a project to realize its full potential.
For ContentRefined.com the team is clear…
Maddie will be the key person for this business. For those of you used to interacting with the very organized Kelley from LightningRank.com Maddie will fill a similar role for ContentRefined.com
Maddie will be every clients favorite person! She manages the team and each clients orders. Whether it is a one-off question or detailed explanation as to why an article title was selected she is your go-to resource.
Transparency on how we do our work is going to be key for our business and below is exactly the process that Maddie/I have developed to execute this business.
For any of my services I like to share everything I possibly can to show you how we are going to go about delivering on what we said we were.
Plus, for those that want to execute content marketing in house I hope that what we share below will be of some help!
Below is just a sampling of the procedures the team has in place.
Here is my procedure:
|1. I post a writing job on Upwork|
|2. On upwork I generally post a job with the following specifications: 1. Writer for ____+ word article 2. Writer must be native English speaker 3. Looking for bids around 7.50/article|
|3. Once the Job Posting is posted on upwork, I hire 3-5 top applicants without an interview within the fist 24 hours What I look for in a Top applicant 1. Native English Speaker (only metric “required”) 2. Good cover letter 3. High job success score 4. The more hours worked, the better|
|4. I Assign each new hire 2 articles using the Writing Instructions Template that I created for new writers|
|5. Once articles are received, I review articles for quality assessment 1. Assess grammar and language capabilities 2. Copy and paste text of the article in Copyscape to make sure there is no plagiarism|
|6. Once quality has been assessed, I use my judgment in hiring/firing decisions If the article is full of grammar and punctuation issues, I will end the contract.If the language is way too simple and it doesn’t seem like the writer is completely fluent in English, I will end the contract|
|7. As soon as the new writer is on board I will assign them batches of articles continuously as articles are returned to me. Once writers are committed to you, you then have the responsibility of keeping them busy.|
I mentioned above that once you have some writers that are committed to you, you then have the responsibility of keeping them busy. Let me elaborate on that.
My process is simple:
Google Forms and and Google Sheets are amazing resources and also an integral part of the onboarding process for new clients for this service. I have been finding success with the following procedure:
Keyword research is probably the most difficult part of this process. If the Client doesn’t give you any specifications, it might also take a long time to do it well as you’ll have to read through their site to see if they already have content around words of interest. This can take a long time! To make it easier on me, I’ve trained up a couple of my best Virtual Assistants for this task. Below is the step-by-step guide I send them to make sure I’m getting the best titles and the best keywords
|1||Log into the Keyword Research Platform of choice. (lately this has been SECockpit)|
|2||Plug in their “Seed” Keyword (*Seed keywords are simply general keywords you can plug into keyword research tools to find more specific, long-tail keywords)|
|3||Make sure that the filters on the seed keyword search include appended prepended and words in between,|
|4||Once the seed Keyword has loaded all of its associated the long tail keywords, look for the following metrics|
|5||Once a Long Tail Keyword that meets the metrics has been identified click on the long tail keyword to view the Analytics (SERP competition)|
|6||On this page look at the competitors for this long tail keyword|
|7||Check to see if the top 10 articles ranking for this long tail keyword are similar to the company site trying to rank for the keyword (if all ecommerce and your site is a content site that is not a great sign)|
|8||Check the Page Authority, the Domain Authority and the Linking. Ideally a good Long Tail Keyword would have results with both PA and DA under 20.|
|9||If competitors are in the same league as your site, and SERP table looks good, create a Post Title with that Long Tail Keyword included within the title (ideally at the start of the title). Copyblogger has great resources for creating great headlines.|
|10||Once Post title is created, add the new title to the Content Management Sheet|
I mentioned above that I have article templates that I like to send out to writers to provide them with a “shell” of what the article is expected to look like. The more guidance they have, the better and more accurate to expectations the article is going to be!
NOTE – This level of guidance only applies after the writer has been on boarded.
For this service we offer 5 different types of articles. Click on each for the template!
My procedure is the following:
These are the instructions I will send my editor to ensure consistency:
|1||When editor receives the article from the writer, the editor does a very quick review|
|2||Once the article has gone through it’s preliminary review, the editor must log into http://www.copyscape.com/|
|3||Once on on copyscape.com the editor must copy and paste sections of the article one by one into the text box and check for plagirism|
|4||If the text comes back with results on copyscape, the Editor must notify the Portfolio Manager immediately, and notify which sections were plagiarized|
|5||If no plagiarism is found, Editor must got to app.grammarly.com and paste the entire article in the text box|
|6||Grammarly will suggest grammar edits. Editor is to go through the Grammarly suggestions and edit text where he or she see fit|
|7||Once the text has been edited, Editor must open their Hemingway editor and paste the edited text in the text box|
|8||The editor will click on the sidebar and check “edit” to get a report of the article|
|9||Once the editor has pasted the text and clicked Edit, the editor much check that the word count matches the requested amount and that the “readability” of the article is a grade 5-8 level.|
|10||Once all the metrics are met, the Editor must take the edited text and create a new word document titles “ArticleTitle_Edited” Example ”bestworksocks_Edited”|
|11||Now that the article is unqiue, grammatically correct and verified to be readable the article goes through MarketMuse to ensure the article covers the topic in more depth than any competitor article (Neil Patel has a great article on using MarketMuse here)|
|12||Once the new edited version has been made, the editor must send the final edited copy back to the portfolio manager and update the Content Management sheet (Sheet 3) with the date of completion|
With the Content Refined Service, we also add value to your article by making sure that the graphic design piece is nailed down. I actually have a virtual graphic designer who does this for me. I’ll simply send off your headings and top to this designer and I’ll receive custom headings with cool images to go with your article!
Once the editor is done with the article, they will send it back to the manager. The content manager will review the edited article to make sure it reads well and then send it to the publisher to be published on the site. The article can stay in draft mode until the client has reviewed and given us the green light to publish!
Anytime we start mapping out a new process it can be a very fun process and this is no different, below is an image taken Saturday night at 10pm as I was working on mapping out the new model.
This new project will be Maddie’s #1 focus and I will continue to push it to become the best/only service online that can deliver and promote high quality content consistently!
If interested in being involved in the next round of beta-testing there are a select number of spots open at discounted pricing but you will be able to signup for a wait list when we get sold-out. Checkout ContentRefined.com.
The main purpose of this post is to put myself out there revealing an uncomfortable amount of what should be proprietary data to get feedback on the model and idea. So please...