How to do Keyword Research

For this example, we will do keyword research on the phrase ‘web hosting’.

Choose the right keywords for keyword research. and type in ‘web hosting’, ‘web’, and ‘hosting’ you can come up with these quick main terms.
  • Web Hosting
  • Website Hosting
  • Web Site Hosting
  • Internet Hosting

Now you can do thorough research on each of these terms but for this article, we will just pick one of the four above. How do we choose which one to use? We’ll pick the one that gets searched for the most!

Sources for Getting Estimated Traffic to Help Choose your Main Keyword Research Theme

There are quite a few places online that you can use as a source to find out how much traffic comes to a certain keyword phrase. These are my favorite ones.

Note: I do not use Google AdWords Keyword Planner for getting estimates on traffic because the numbers are usually off. You can read more about this here. Although I consider it an excellent resource for coming up with more keyword phrases for testing to use.

Let’s compare the results of the top 3 above for the phrase ‘web hosting’

  • Moz 11,500 to 30,300 searches a month
  • Spyfu 27,100 to 110,000 searches a month
  • SEOBook 36,780 searches a month (1,226 daily)

My preference is to collect the data from both Moz and Spyfu and if I see that both results are way off from each other then I will take a second look at that particular keyword phrase.

It is from my experience that Moz’s numbers for searches for the month are more accurate for organic traffic while Spyfu’s numbers are more accurate for pay-per-click searches.

Let’s see what Google AdWords Planner says… 100,000 to 1,000,000 searches a month. (Way Off!)

Now back to seeing which keyword phrase we are going to research.

  • web hosting (Moz 11,500 to 30,300)(Spyfu 27,100 to 110,000)
  • website hosting (Moz 11,500 to 30,300)(Spyfu 14,800 to 40,500)
  • web site hosting (Moz 51 to 100)(Spyfu 2,400 to 5,400)
  • internet hosting (Moz 201 to 500)(Spyfu 390 to 1,300)

If you notice above ‘web hosting’ is the winner for the number of times it is searched but is it relevant to what we want to achieve? This is why I manually search for these keyword phrases in the browser and look at the SERPs (search engine results pages) to help determine if what website listings are shown are related to what I think ‘web hosting’ is. I look at the websites listed and add 10% to each correct listing then compare the results to all four above.

  • Web Hosting is 100%
  • Website Hosting is 100%
  • Web Site Hosting is 100%
  • Internet Hosting is 90%

An interesting thing to note is that when you search for ‘internet hosting’ the SERPs have 70% list ‘web hosting’, 10% list ‘internet hosting’, 10% list ‘website hosting, and 10% was not related directly to ‘web hosting’. Seeing how ‘web hosting’ dominates the SERPs in these examples helps tell you what to go with.

Moz has just introduced a new part of the tool that displays the ‘Organic CTR’ of the keyword phrase when you do the research through their website that estimates how likely that the people searching for the keyword phrase find what they are looking for. For the example of ‘web hosting’ the organic CTR according to Moz is 53%. I would only use this as a guide and do it manually yet. Spyfu also has its own CTR but it is measured for pay-per-click rankings instead of organic rankings.

Both Moz and Spyfu offer their estimate on how difficult it is to rank these keyword phrases organically. I use both of them but trust Moz’s number more.

From a scale from 1% (easiest) to 100% (hardest) here are the numbers that Moz and Spyfu give for ‘web hosting’.

  • Moz 93% to rank for this keyword phrase
  • Spyfu 74% to rank for this keyword phrase

This is the reason why we do keyword research in the first place to find the right keyword phrase that is searched for the most and that is also easier to rank with.

This is our end result to help us to decide to use the phrase ‘web hosting’.

web hosting100.00%11,50030,30093%53%27,100110,0004.27%74.00%
website hosting100.00%11,50030,30093%53%14,80040,5002.69%80.00%
web site hosting100.00%5110091%53%2,4005,4002.69%80.00%
internet hosting90.00%20150072%34%3901,3002.69%80.00%

Now that we decided that the Main Keyword Theme we use for our keyword research will be ‘web hosting’ we can start building a list of a few hundred keyword phrases that relate to ‘web hosting’.

Here is a list of resources I use to gather keyword phrases. A few of them are free, a few of them are monthly paid subscriptions, and one of them is a software I purchased.

  • Thesaurus
  • Uber Suggest
  • Google AdWords Keyword Planner
  • Google Trends
  • SEOBook
  • Google Related Searches
  • Related Searches
  • Trellian
  • KeywordXP
  • Moz Keyword Explorer
  • Spyfu Related Keywords

You can also sort this list alphabetically and grab all of the keyword phrases by who, what, where, when, and how to find out what questions people are asking online about ‘web hosting’ that you can use to your advantage by answering these questions on your website and gaining insight on what the general public is looking for.

Wow! 13,767 keyword phrases were found after I went through the list above! Quite obviously there are going to be duplicates so I entered them into a spreadsheet to remove the duplicates and ended up with 11,424 keyword phrases.

Now I take the remaining 11,424 keyword phrases and plug them into Moz (for organic research) and Spyfu (for pay-per-click research) to get data on such things as:

  • Organically
    • How difficult it is to rank
    • What is the organic click-through rate (CTR)
    • What is the priority score of each one
  • Pay Per Click
    • Average cost per month to bid on each keyword phrase
    • How many unique advertisers are bidding in the last three months
    • How difficult it is to rank
    • The average cost to bid on each keyword phrase
    • Estimated Global Searches
    • Estimated Local Searches
    • Estimated clicks per month your ad will receive
    • Minimum clicks per month your ad will receive
    • Broad click-through rate (CTR)

After I enter in the stats for all of these keyword phrases in a spreadsheet I use the following methods to narrow down the list.

  • Delete phrases that are not searched for very often
  • Delete phrases that are too difficult to rank for
  • Delete phrases that have too tough of competition
  • Delete phrases that have too low of a click-through rate (CTR)
  • Delete phrases that are too expensive to bid on
  • Delete phrases not related to me or my business
  • Delete phrases that do not relate to my area.
    • An example would be chiropractic services. I would delete phrases that specify services not located in my area.
  • Delete phrases that have a low number of clicks in ads
  • Delete phrases too high in competition for pay-per-click ads

After this is done I will have a list of the top 100 or more keyword phrases that will be perfect for my SEO or Pay Per Click campaign that I want to use.

Happy Keyword Hunting! Or just pay me to do the keyword research because believe it or not I love doing this!

Other services I provide are web designweb hostingweb marketing, and website maintenance.


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