SEO keyword analysis: How to find the right keywords and increase your visibility

Veröffentlicht: 16. March 2024

At the heart of every successful SEO and online marketing strategy is a well thought-out keyword analysis. It enables companies to improve their digital visibility in a targeted manner by tailoring their content precisely to the search queries of their target group.

Effective keyword analysis also helps to increase competitiveness in the SERPs by providing insights into competitors’ strategies and highlighting potential for differentiation.

In the long term, it supports the development of a robust SEO strategy that can react flexibly to changes in search algorithms and user behavior.

In this article, you will learn how to approach keyword research correctly, which tools you can use and which pitfalls to avoid! Let’s start with a few preliminary considerations.

Basics: Understanding the customer journey

The customer journey encompasses all phases that a potential customer goes through from the initial perception of a need to the purchase of a product or service. If you understand this journey, you can effectively align your keyword strategy to be present at every stage:

1. awareness

In this phase, the potential customer becomes aware of a need, problem or interest for the first time.

  • Keyword example: “Why is sleep important?” – This is typical for users who are dealing with the topic of sleep quality for the first time.

2. consideration

The customer recognizes his need or problem and looks for solutions or options.

  • Keyword example: “Best methods for better sleep” – Here the user searches for specific solutions to their identified problem.

3. decision

After evaluating the options, the customer is ready to make a decision and is looking for the best product or service.

  • Keyword example: “reviews of sleep apps” – At this point, the customer compares different products or services in order to make a purchase decision.

4. purchase

The decision is made and the customer makes the purchase.

  • Keyword example: “Where can I buy the XYZ sleep app?” – The customer is ready to buy and is looking for a place or way to do so.

5. post-purchase phase

The customer has purchased the product or service and is looking for information on optimal use or customer service.

  • Keyword example: “How do I use the XYZ sleep app?” – Here, the customer is looking for instructions or support to get the most out of their purchase.

By understanding these phases and aligning your keyword strategy with them, you can effectively reach and engage your target audience at every step of their journey.

Basics: Search intent and keyword types

As we have seen from the example of the customer journey, there are different needs in each phase. So there are different search intentions and “keyword types”.

The search intention behind a keyword is crucial for optimization and content marketing. There are four main types of search intentions:

  • Informational: The user searches for information. Examples: “What is SEO?”, “Symptoms of …”.
  • Navigational: The user searches for a specific website or page. Example: “Facebook login”.
  • Transactional: The user intends to carry out an action, e.g. a purchase. Example: “Buy iPhone 12”.
  • Commercial Investigation: The user wants to buy, but is still in the comparison or decision phase. Example: “best DSLR camera 2023”.

Examples of different keyword types and their possible uses

The selection of keywords should always take the search intention into account in order to create content that picks up users in their respective phase of the customer journey:

  • Informational: Blog posts, instructions, FAQs.
  • Navigational: Optimization of meta tags and content for brand names or specific products.
  • Transactional: Product pages, offer pages with strong call-to-actions.
  • Commercial Investigation: comparison sites, ratings, reviews.

By selecting and using keywords according to their type and underlying search intent, you can significantly increase the effectiveness of your SEO and content marketing efforts.

Key Takeaway

Keep in mind the different phases of the customer journey and the question of search intent. We want to meet the customer at every stage with the right content.

Start the keyword research

So much for the basics. Where do I start now, you may ask?

To start with the keyword analysis, you should use one (or more) tools to help you. This will give you more ideas, important data and you will make much faster progress.

Keyword analysis tools

The landscape of keyword analysis tools is diverse, ranging from free to paid options, each offering unique features and data. Here are some of the most commonly used tools:

  • Google Keyword Planner (Free): A free tool designed specifically for advertisers, but also provides valuable insights into keyword search volume and competitiveness.
  • Google Autocomplete suggestions (Free): Just open Google Search and start typing, you will automatically get suggestions. However, without any data.
  • Ubersuggest: Provides extensive keyword data, including search volume, competition and seasonal trends, and is available in a free basic version.
  • Semrush: A comprehensive SEO tool that provides detailed information on keywords, competitor analysis and more. It is particularly useful for in-depth analysis and requires a subscription.
  • Ahrefs: Similar to SEMrush, Ahrefs offers a wealth of data on keywords, backlinks and competitors, ideal for a thorough SEO analysis.
  • Sistrix: Also offers a lot of data, especially for the German market.

Tip: If your website already has a few rankings and is connected to the Google Search Console, you should also take a look here. You get very reliable data regarding the search volume (impressions) and may discover a few interesting keywords.

Start with a broad search

No matter which tool you have in front of you, start now with a very unspecific search to get a feel for it and look at other suggestions.

Let’s say you sell front doors, then you could start your keyword analysis using Semrush as an example:

Keyword analysis example in Semrush

Do you notice anything? We immediately receive several proposals with very different intentions:

Keyword suggestions

With “buy front door” we have a transactional keyword with purchase intent, but it is still very unspecific and the user will probably want to look at different options first.

With “set front door” we have a classic informational keyword, the purchase intention will be very low here.

With “front doors with side panel” it gets a little more specific. Here the user already has a more precise idea of what they want. These are referred to as long-tail keywords. These have a lower search volume but generally convert much better.

Collect all keywords in a list

You should now collect all the keywords that are of interest to you in a list. Tools like Ahrefs and Semrush make this very easy for you.

If you work with the Google Keyword Planner, you can of course also manage everything yourself in a CSV.

In this step, also consider data on search volume and keyword difficulty (if available). We’ll come back to this later.

Organize keywords

You probably now have a very long list of dozens or hundreds of keywords in front of you. We now have to put things in order.

There are various options here. Personally, I start by grouping the keywords according to topics and sub-topics.

Structure according to topics

This grouping helps to get an overview of which areas of your website or which offer you can cover with your content. Consider which keywords address similar topics or questions and assign them accordingly.

Example: If you run a health and fitness website, your main topic clusters could be “nutrition”, “workout routines” and “sleep hygiene”. The “Nutrition” cluster could then include subtopics such as “healthy recipes”, “nutrition plans” and “dietary supplements”.

At the same time, you should also note the search intention in your keyword list. Semrush already offers this feature out of the box, even if the grouping is not always 100% correct. So check that again:

search intent of keywords - semrush suggestions

We will need this information later when it comes to creating an editorial plan from the keyword list.

Prioritization of keywords

Keyword prioritization is a crucial step in keyword analysis that determines how effectively you use your resources to maximize your website’s visibility and generate relevant leads.

Note

Of course, top priority should be given to keywords that appear particularly profitable or promise a particularly good ROI. These are usually transactional and commercial keywords.

We should put all informative keywords on the back burner for now.

Now, however, things are getting a little more difficult. How do we prioritize within our keywords with high purchase intent?

Estimating the profitability of keywords

The profitability of a keyword indicates how likely it is that search queries will lead to conversions. This is closely related to the search intention and can be estimated, for example, by analyzing the CPC (cost-per-click) and the search volume.

Keywords with a high CPC in Google Ads are often profitable because advertisers are willing to pay a lot for clicks. This means that there is a strong intention to buy behind these keywords.

A keyword like “buy coffee machine online” with a high CPC and a solid monthly search volume could be an indicator of high profitability.

To do this, you should know your target group and the strengths and weaknesses of your product very well so that you can better assess which keywords are particularly suitable.

However, there is a second factor to consider: Particularly lucrative keywords are of course usually also highly competitive. Do we even have a realistic chance of a ranking here?

Assess ranking opportunities correctly

There are several approaches to estimate how difficult it will be to rank for a particular keyword.

Keyword Difficulty Score

Most keyword analysis tools offer their own assessment by default. The “Keyword Difficulty” gives you a quick and easy overview, which is particularly suitable for screening and filtering larger lists.

Keyword Difficulty Score

The Keyword Difficulty Score usually ranges from 1 (very easy) to 100 (very difficult)

However, this value is only ever an estimate and is often not very reliable in practice. According to this example, the keyword “front door” seems to be quite simple, with a score of just 24?

Manual analysis of search results

Let’s take a look at the search results for this keyword:

search results example

If you visit these sites, even as an SEO layman you will quickly realize that the stores all do SEO.

We find optimized titles, headings, the classic SEO text and the appropriate keywords for all results. Let’s take a look at the general domain profiles of these top 5. We use Semrsuh’s bulk analysis for this purpose:

Domain Bulk Analysis

So we are dealing here with competitors who all have at least(!) one thousand referring domains and are generally very well positioned in organic search.

Now you come into play with your site: For how many organic keywords can it already be found? What does your backlink profile look like? What does your offer / content look like? Can you keep up here?

If you have a smaller or fresh site, you probably won’t be able to play here (yet).

You should look at these features and compare them with your site to estimate your ranking chances:

  • Backlink profiles of the pages
  • Quality of the content
  • Are the results all SEO optimized? (Titles, headings, choice of keywords, etc.)
  • Authority / awareness of the pages
  • Specialization in niches
  • Possibly also a short technical SEO check
Note

As you can see, the Keyword Difficulty Score is often very imprecise and it is always advisable to manually compare the results with your site.

What does this mean for prioritization?

So does this mean that we shouldn’t tackle all the more difficult keywords in the first place?

Not at all, because sooner or later we naturally want to get to the exciting keywords. For our prioritization, however, this means that we should first focus on keywords where we have a quick chance of success.

Advanced strategies

Now you should have a nice list of keywords, organized by topic, search intent and prioritization. Now you can basically create the content plan for your site.

However, it is quite possible that some interesting keywords will not appear in your list at all. Because you haven’t even found them yet!

Let’s take a look at how we can discover even more unused keywords.

Synonyms in the keyword analysis

Extending the keyword research to include synonyms and thematically related terms helps you to cover a broader spectrum of potential search queries.

This strategy is particularly effective for increasing the visibility of your content to a diverse audience, as different users may use different terms to search for the same topic or question.

Example: If your main keyword is “healthy diet”, relevant synonyms and related terms could be “balanced diet”, “nutrient-rich foods” and “nutrition plan”. By integrating these terms into your content, you increase the chance that users searching for similar topics will come across your website.

Semantic search and its influence on SEO

Semantic search refers to the ability of search engines to understand the intent behind a search query and the context of terms.

It goes beyond simply identifying keywords and considers the relationship between words to deliver more accurate and relevant search results.

This approach has a significant influence on keyword selection and content creation.

To meet the requirements of semantic search, you should design your content in such a way that it not only covers specific keywords, but also the overall context and intent behind the search queries.

This means that you should cover relevant topics comprehensively and provide information that answers the questions and needs of your target group. So ask yourself: What will the user search for next? Where is his journey taking him? You want to “catch” him everywhere!

Keyword gap analysis

A keyword gap analysis is a method of identifying gaps in your SEO strategy by comparing your keyword performance with that of your competitors.

This process helps you to identify which keywords your competitors are ranking for but your website is not, providing a valuable basis for expanding your keyword list and optimizing your content.

  • Conduct a keyword gap analysis: Use SEO tools to analyze the keyword profiles of your main competitors. Identify keywords that are relevant to your industry but do not yet appear in your content.
  • Consider both high-ranking and niche keywords to increase your chances of ranking better and reaching a broader target group.

In general, it’s always worth taking a look at your competitors’ keywords to find new ideas. And you don’t want to leave the playing field to them without a fight!

What happens now?

Keyword analysis is at the heart of every successful SEO and online marketing strategy. It enables companies to improve their digital presence in a targeted manner by tailoring content precisely to the search queries of their target group.

This process not only increases visibility in the search engine results pages (SERPs), but also provides valuable insights into competitors’ strategies and potential for differentiation.

A deep understanding of the customer journey and the consideration of different search intentions make it possible to be present at every stage and provide relevant content.

Keyword analysis tools play a crucial role by providing ideas, data and helping to manage the list of potential keywords efficiently.

Organizing and prioritizing this list according to topics, subtopics and search intentions is another essential step that forms the basis for an effective SEO strategy.

Expanding keyword research to include synonyms and semantically related terms and understanding semantic search are essential to maximize the reach and relevance of content.

Carrying out a keyword gap analysis also offers the opportunity to discover previously untapped potential and to stand up to the competition.

Outlook: Creating an SEO editorial plan

Now that we have recognized the importance of a comprehensive keyword analysis, the next step is to create a meaningful SEO editorial plan. In our next article, we will go into detail on how to develop an effective editorial plan from your carefully compiled keyword list.

Hannes Kaltofen

Hannes Kaltofen

Gründer & Geschäftsführer

Seit über 7 Jahren in den SERPs unterwegs. Dank SEO konnte Ich das Affiliate Marketing, Blogging und Agenturgeschäft kennelernen und helfe Unternehmen tagtäglich bei ihrer Sichtbarkeit.

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