Google is the cool kid of the digital marketing world, and everyone wants to hang out in the top search results. But in order for that to happen, there’s a vital component you need that many people neglect: keyword research for SEO.
Without adequate keyword research, your content stands little to no chance of gaining one of those coveted 10 spots on Google’s first SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Not only do keywords make it easier for people to find your content, but they help give you direction for what type of content you should be creating. To find the best and most relevant keywords, you first need to identify your niche.
In this post, we’ll help you understand why and how you should target niche markets, the best ways to find them, and which types of keywords are the most effective. Using this information, you’ll be able to create content that is both relevant and competitive.
First, Identify Your Niche Markets
Going back to our cool kid metaphor, you need to find the “clicks” - or niche markets - in order to be popular with Google. When conducting keyword research for SEO, many marketers use Google Keyword Planner. Unfortunately, if you don’t have specific topics in mind already, that’s kind of like asking your dorky dad where you should buy your first-day-of-highschool outfit.
GKP is the dorky dad of keyword research tools; most of its suggestions are pretty generic. And while it does a decent job of finding keywords that are closely related, it’s awful at coming up with new ideas.
For example, let’s try searching “cool stores for teens” in GKP and see what we get:
Dorky Dad has come up with some pretty lame and unhelpful results. So how do we find better keywords that our niche market will look for?
Option #1: Hang Out in the Forums -
You can use forums that are related to your industry to find niche markets that your target audience is interested in. For example, let’s see what happens when we type in “cool clothing stores” on Google and add “forums” to the search:
Thanks to our specifics, Google has come up with some pretty unique forum topics for us. Within each of these forums, we’ll be able to find topics that our niche audience is most interested in.
For example, let’s say we want to turn some of these topics into blogs for the school paper. Now we know that we could consider topics about shopping and fashion trends abroad. Another option could be a post about what the “stars” are wearing in Los Angeles. Alternatively, we could do a story on shopping at consignment stores for hidden, vintage treasures. With these niche topics in mind, we’ll be able to get much more unique results from our keyword research for SEO.
And don’t forget to take a look at the bottom of the SERP to see related searches. These can also be a great help when looking for related and niche topics in your keyword research for SEO process:
Option #2: Ask the Librarian (AKA Wikipedia) -
Another great place to find niche topics is Wikipedia. Wikipedia is like the librarian of the internet. It knows a lot about pretty much every topic. Say we’re doing another blog post for the school paper, and we want to find some topics about cheerleading.
Whereas GKP gives generic answers like "cheerleading routines," Wikipedia provides us with a bevy of niche topics that you might not have known existed:
For example, thanks to Wikipedia’s suggestions, we now know to look for keywords related to All-star level cheerleading, the dangers of cheerleading, or notable former cheerleaders.
Option #3 Check Reddit
Reddit is a great place to look for niche ideas because it has millions of conversations going on about all sorts of trending topics. Just type in your main topic and take a look at the subreddits. Let’s use the cheerleading topic again.
First, search your topic and then select a subreddit:
Voila! Now we have an idea of some of the things people in the community are talking about. For example, we could create a post that gives advice to “flyers,” or how to decide whether they are a “lefty” or a “righty.”
Then, Check with Your Buyer Persona
Before proceeding with the niche topics we found, we want to make sure that they align with the audience we intend to target. The best way to do this is to create a buyer persona—a hypothetical profile that outlines the general interests and demographics of your audience based on research, surveys, or interviews. This helps you to get in the mindset of that persona and select topics that they would find beneficial. Here are some ways to get this information:
- Look at the contacts you have in your database and search for common trends and characteristics.
- Take logical assumptions into account based on your own knowledge of your target audience.
- Interview a collection of customers or people that are interested in the type of product or service you provide.
- In order to continue to improve your buyer persona in the future, make sure that all forms you include on your website and landing pages have required fields for the type of information you want to collect.
For example, let’s say we post a poll on the school website and interview some of the students on campus that read the trends column of the school blog. From the information we get, we create the profile below as the buyer persona for our “fashion” target audience:
According to our buyer persona, our target audience enjoys shopping, travel, and celebrity gossip—therefore, the niche topics we’ve identified about fashion abroad and celebrity trends are right on point. However, since our audience members are high school students, our buyer persona also shows that they don’t have a lot of income (which may be the reason it’s difficult for them to keep up with the latest trends). With this in mind, we might want to tweak our niche topics to have a budget-friendly angle.
Now, Find Your Niche-Related Keywords
Now that you know how to find niche topics, let’s go over how to find and select the best related keywords. First, there are two types of keywords we’ll be looking at: longtail and short-tail keywords.
Short tail keywords are the easiest to find since they only consist of one to two words. The problem with these keywords is that they’re very competitive, which means it’ll be difficult for your content to actually rank—no matter how many times you use the keyword. “Cheerleading,” or “Fashion Trends” are examples of short tail keywords.
The kind of keywords you want to focus on when doing keyword research for SEO are longtail keywords. Long tail keywords are keyword phrases of three or more words. A good example of a long tail keyword would be “vintage thrift shop fashion,” or “how to become a flyer in cheerleading.”
Because they are more specific, these keywords typically have lower search volume. However, the competition is also much lower, which means that you have a better chance of ranking for them. The trick is to try to find a happy medium between search volume and competition.
With this information and our niche topics in mind, GKP becomes a lot more helpful. Let’s use our fashion example from the first section and try to find some keywords related to celebrity fashion:
According to GKP, we could use keywords like “where do celebrities shop” and “celebrity clothing websites” to create a post about where students can shop online to follow celebrity trends. Both of these long tail keywords have a decent number of monthly searches and low competition, which means we have a better chance of our content actually being consumed.
Deciding on a Relevant Topic for Your Content
So what would be some good blog topics that fit our identified niche markets, long tail keywords, and buyer persona? Let’s brainstorm:
- Be A Trendsetter and Shop Where Celebrities Shop
- 6 Stylish Celeb Dresses Under $85
- 10 Hottest Celebrity Clothing Websites with Deals Under $100
The first topic covers celebrity fashion and trendsetting, but it doesn’t mention anything about price range. The second topic would be good except that it uses a short tail keyword with medium competition, which will make it a lot more difficult for us to rank. Finally, let’s take a look at the third topic. This is our best option since it addresses both celebrity fashion and affordability, and it uses a keyword that has high search volume with low competition.
Once you have your relevant niche markets and target keywords, you'll be ready to come up with your own topics and start writing better SEO content. Remember that in addition to the body of the content, it's always best to include your keyword in the title and subheadings as well.
Following these simple tips for niche market selection and keyword research for SEO will help you to start creating competitive content that drives traffic and gets you quality leads. For more information on keyword research for SEO and other inbound marketing practices, contact the experts at SevenAtoms today to set up a consultation. Our San Francisco-based digital marketing agency has a wealth of experience in creating compelling SEO content for companies in a wide variety of industries.