There is no doubt extensive and detailed keyword research has its place. If you haven't been exposed to effective processes for vast keyword research I'd recommend diving into my "explode your keyword list right" series. But sometimes keyword research should be quick and dirty. Exactness is not always essential and you don't need mounds of data to back up the need of targeting a select number of obviously relevant keyword terms.
Quick Keyword Research Process
Step 1 - Gather Baseline Using Web Analytics
- Export keyword data
- Gather current rankings
The goal here is to gather enough data to be able to quickly manipulate your keywords to shed light on opportunities.
Step 2 - High Return / Low Ranking Keyword
- Sort keyword data to show high converting, low ranking keywords.
- Select valuable term.
- Identify similar terms in analytics data.
By simply organizing your data through a "custom sort" you are able to quickly see terms that are converting well for you, but don't rank particularly high in search engines. These are ideal opportunities for building upon and targeting.
Step 3 - Check Competitors / Google Suggest
- Run queries in Google for top common terms to identify additional commonly searched phrases through Google suggest.
- Also look at competitors search results to identify keywords and keyword variations.
With a baseline term(s) of high converting, low ranking terms we now want to expound on that particular topic. The first step to doing this quickly is going to the search engines and gathering other relevant terms through a quick snap shot of suggest common terms and those terms competitors are using within their titles & page descriptions.
Step 4 - Expand Keyword List / Gather Search Volume
- Select relevant terms
- Go to https://adwords.google.com/o/KeywordTool
- Paste all phrases
- Select “Exact Match”
- Export Suggestions
By placing our initial baseline terms found in analytics data & a quick search engine query into the Google Adwords Keyword Tool you are able to dramatically increase potential ways of approaching a topic or keyword that will fit best into your content strategy and business model.
Step 5 - Identify Phrases in Demand
- Filter list by common terms.
- Select supporting phrases with high demand.
The idea here is to quickly sort your keywords data by local search volume and begin identifying those terms in the highest demand pool that may be relevant to our initiative at hand—then continue working down the line to those less frequently searched terms.
Step 6 - Build Keyword Cluster
- Identify phrases that are both valuable to the initiative & supportive to each other.
As you begin filtering through the list of suggested keywords it is very easy to find terms that are similar to each other in both keywords used within the phrase as well as overall approach to a topic. Select those that are both supportive to one another and represent a snapshot of the topic you can truly cover within the content of a landing page on the website.
Step 7 - Identify Mapped URL / Optimize Content
- Find URL on website to target keyword cluster to.
- Optimize content.
With a cluster of terms decided upon you are now ready to determine the ideal destination for targeting, optimize the page (click here for an overview for content & website optimization) and begin your content marketing approach.
For a more broad overview of the why's, what and how of keyword research as well as the above process check out this slide deck: