Most people know that advanced keyword research is fundamental for lead generation success. But the strange thing is, everyone from digital agencies to businesses doing it for themselves, never move beyond the basics.
Traditional keyword research involves punching your ‘primary keyword’ into a free keyword research tool and selecting what looks like relevant keywords for your campaign.
And while there’s nothing terrible about this approach, it does present one significant problem:
Your competitors are going to be doing the exact same thing.
And as you can imagine, when everybody is fighting for the same keywords, the competition gets stiffer than it needs to be.
So, it’s essential to be able to dig deeper and analyse potentially-great keywords that others may have overlooked.
In this free keyword research guide, we’ll share 5 advanced keyword research strategies that’ll empower you to power up your PPC campaigns and get the results you are looking to achieve.
Sounds good? Let’s jump in.
Strategy #1: Keyword Research Using Reddit
Here’s the truth:
People generally don’t spend the bulk of their time online searching for products or services.
That’s where Reddit comes in. Reddit is arguably the most underused keyword research tools by marketers. And that’s a shame because:
- In 2019 Reddit had over 430 million monthly active users
- Reddit is the 7th most visited website in the world
- Reddit has over 1.2 million different subreddits (or communities)
It’s a unique platform where you can observe pretty much any audience discussing the problems they’re facing in a totally relaxed environment.
This lets you gain a unique perspective into your audience’s mindset. But more importantly, it allows you to see what kind of language they use online.
Within 15 minutes of browsing a given subreddit, you can have a list of potential keywords that nobody else knows about.
Let’s look at an example to illustrate what I mean…
Suppose you’re an eCommerce store selling home gym equipment.
First things first, you need to identify the subreddit where your audience is active. The best way is to stick your niche into the search box here.
Then choose 2-3 relevant subreddits to explore. For our example, I’ve chosen r/HomeGym and r/Fitness.
Now the fun starts – work your way through each subreddit and look for trends in the threads you find. Filtering subreddits by ‘hot’, ‘new’ and ‘top’ will give you different angles and ideas for new keywords.
If a subreddit has below 30,000 subs or is low on activity, change the time filter to display threads from the last month or year. It’ll give you more content to work with.
Looking through our chosen subreddits I found this popular post in r/homegym:
And heading over to r/fitness I found another thread where the top comment mentions Craigslist again.
So, after just 60s of research, I’ve discovered that ‘Buy Gym Equipment Craigslist’ might be a term that could bring super cheap clicks to my (imaginary) eCom store.
Keep browsing and create a spreadsheet with any particular keywords of interest you find to explore their usefulness later.
You only need to spend a couple of minutes perusing your chosen subreddits each week. Over time you’ll start to notice trends, keywords and topics appearing again and again.
Not only that, but you’ll start to better understand the way your target audience communicates which helps inform other areas of your marketing. Your landing pages, content marketing, and product descriptions will begin to resonate better than ever.
Pro tip: Easily find monthly search volume and new keyword opportunities by copying the URL of popular threads into the Google Keywords Planner:
Strategy #2: Use Quora For Keyword Research
Quora is a Q&A community that has about 300 million active users. Similar to Reddit, Quora is a relatively underused source of keywords that many marketers haven’t discovered or just don’t use.
It’s useful for locating powerful question-based keywords, which are perfect given that conversational-based searchers are on the rise.
So, sticking with the fitness theme, let’s take a look at an example to illustrate.
Choosing the ‘Fitness’ topic brings us to the fitness space where you’ll find heaps of questions from users, along with answers from more experienced users.
A quick scroll down the feed, and you’ll start to see questions that are loaded with potential keywords. Here’s a perfect example of a question-based keyword that’s worth examining.
You’ll also find a goldmine of other related questions on the right-hand side – another fantastic source of potential keywords to experiment with.
You can also expand on the ideas you generate from Quora using Google search suggestions to find even more keywords.
For example, let’s take ‘real cheap dumbbells’ from the above post and pop into a search. Scrolling down to the bottom of the page, Google provides you with a list of related search terms like this:
Then go even further by typing your ‘lead term’ (cheap dumbbells) and after it type ‘a’, then ‘b’, then ‘c’ and so on right the way through the alphabet. You’ll be surprised at just how many unique search terms you can generate.
For the platinum award, you can use Quora in conjunction with SEMrush or any other free keyword research tool to supercharge your results. Go to SEMrush’s domain overview and type in ‘quora.com’.
You’ll be hit with around 27.9 million keywords. So, filter things down to find the golden keywords. In the filters type your target keyword.
You’ll quickly get hit with a monster list of useful (and hopefully untapped) keywords that can drive traffic to your store.
Pro Tip: Answer the Public is another awesome keyword finder to help you find long-tail keywords (it’s free too!) Simply input your chosen keyword and it’ll generate dozens of relevant questions.
Strategy #3: Make Sure You Include Negative Keywords
Negative keywords are the search terms you don’t want your ads to display for.
Why do they matter? Two reasons; they keep your ad costs down and they ensure your targeting is always relevant.
Negative keywords are also critical to prevent your products (and your brand) from appearing alongside irrelevant, or worse, offensive search results.
For example, let’s suppose you’ve had enough of selling cheap dumbbells and want to become a premium gym equipment retailer.
You’d now want to add ‘cheap’ to your negative keyword list. That way your new affluent audience won’t get the wrong impression of your brand.
Another reason to use negative keywords is that you don’t want to appear in results that could be related to your business but actually aren’t – for example, if you only sell ‘fitness dumbells’ you don’t want to appear in a search for ‘fitness treadmills’.
Here’s how to use negative keywords for maximum effect:
- Look at your Google search query reports: If you’re seeing words in your search query report that are irrelevant to your business, add them to your negatives list so your ads don’t get served for them again.
- Study your negative match types: The match type of a keyword will have a huge impact. Generally, board match negatives will block any query containing your negative keyword. It’s smart to leverage phrase and exact match negatives to remove more specific searches containing long-tail negative keywords
- Apply negatives across multiple groups and campaigns: If you identify a negative that you know isn’t a good fit, you can apply it across multiple ad groups and campaigns to ensure that you won’t waste a cent, even if you forget next time around.
- Don’t go crazy: Negatives are super-important, but going overboard will slash your impression volume. Make sure to weigh up each negative you add to the list and ensure that there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that the searcher could convert on your website.
Strategy #4: Use Organic Search Terms For Keyword Research
We’re so focused on analysing every inch of our competitors’ websites, that it’s easy to overlook the value of our own. Unless your business is very new, visitors are probably already accessing your site via search results from Google.
So stick your URL into your keyword planning tool and see which keywords are already pulling in organic traffic.
Once you know the terms people are using to find your site, a useful tactic is to target these with PPC ads too. But hold on, Isn’t that a waste of money?
Surprisingly…no! Research has shown that when organic and paid results are displayed at the same time, the average CTR gets a serious boost.
One caveat to keep in mind though: if your organic keywords are pulling in a lot of traffic, pouring your budget into targeting then might cannibalise your results. If that’s the case, a wiser move would be to re-allocate your budget to target other organic keywords that aren’t ranking so well.
Another way to find great keywords in your own back garden is to explore queries from your site’s internal search function.
Internal searches are often overlooked, especially when you consider that 59% of site visitors regularly use search bars for navigation.
The beauty of keywords gleaned from your search feature is that the searchers are looking for something very specific. That means that such terms they use have the potential to convert like crazy.
Pro Tip: Easily set-up tracking for your site’s search queries in Google Analytics. Open your dashboard, in the side menu, click ‘Admin’. On the ‘Admin View’ column hit ‘View Settings’. Scroll down and turn on “Site Search Tracking’
Strategy #5: Chart Your Customer’s Buying Journey
When it comes to keywords, context is everything. Modern customers rely on the internet at different stages of the buyer’s journey. How much they rely on it and when they use it varies based on demographics, industry and location.
As an overview the key stages of the buyer’s journey for PPC:
- Awareness or top-of-the-funnel
- Consideration or middle-of-the-funnel
- Decision or bottom-of-the-funnel
Most businesses spread their ad spend across all three stages. But if you’re prepared to dig a little deeper into your customer’s behaviour, you can identify which stage or stages are the most relevant for your specific audience.
For example, when somebody is looking to buy home gym equipment, they probably want to do a bit of research first. In that case, their first couple of searches mightn’t be bottom-of-the-funnel phrases such as ‘buy cheap dumbbells’.
Instead, they might search for a middle-of-the-funnel term such as “Compare Dumbbell Prices” or “[Your brand Dumbbells] vs [Competitor’s Brand Dumbbells]”.
These examples are purely hypothetical, but the principle remains true: Discovering how your customers are using the internet to make a buying decision allows you to serve more relevant (and profitable) ads.
Pro Tip: Think With Google is a useful tool that can help you study your audience and gain new insights into their buying journey. The ‘Customer Barometer’ is especially helpful to illustrate your audience’s interaction with the internet on their path towards a purchase.
If you’ve been doing lead generation for a while, you know that the process of keyword research is never finished.
Both the needs of the consumer and the shape of the market are constantly changing, which means the way people search for products and services is constantly changing too.
Your keyword list needs to be at the heart of this change. Because committing to consistently updating and expanding your target keywords is fundamental to getting the best return on your ad spend.
There’s hundreds of techniques to root out new terms that’ll boost the effectiveness of your keyword list.
And while the five strategies outlined in this post are a great place to start – never be afraid to experiment with other new strategies.
Because you never know, your next sales-generating keyword could be hiding just around the corner.
From all of us here at MeetMonty, best of luck!
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