Is Keyword Research Dead?

Is keyword research dead in 2020? The short, clear, and loud answer to this question is NO.

Keyword research is still the backbone of inbound marketing. It lets businesses know what their potential customers are searching for and assists marketers with creating an effective marketing funnel – spreading brand awareness, grabbing the attention of potential buyers, and enjoying higher conversion rates by addressing their audience’s needs.

However, there is no doubt that keyword research strategies have evolved over the last decade. No longer can you get away with plain ol’ keyword stuffing. Now, Google focuses more on providing the best content for a given search query by looking at a range of factors, from the keywords to the search intent; user device & location to the YMYL-ness of your query (and more). Instead of merely sprinkling keywords, now you have to go the extra mile to create a page that best satisfies a user, and helps bring in better traffic and conversions.

 

For those wondering how would marketers know which topics can bring traffic and conversions to their website, the answer again lies with keyword research. Modern keyword research plays a vital role in finding such topics. It provides us stats, including search volume and competition against every searched term.

keyword research for hotels
A “big picture” keyword research for the hotel industry would start off something like this.

 

But, there’s a difference between just having the data and actually making sense of it. If you don’t know which keywords (topics) to choose for ranking higher, then these 4 keyword research tips will help you get the most out of your SEO keyword research.

 

1. Brainstorming

If you have to take a fresh start, then start brainstorming. Think about the broad terms that are most relevant to your niche. For example, if you want to generate content about content marketing, then enter “content marketing” in the search bar of an SEO tool like Ahrefs.

keyword ideas in ahrefs
Source: Ahrefs

 

Now, you have many ideas to write content. At the start, instead of competing for difficult keywords, search for those having low keyword difficulty, reasonable search volume, and commercial value. If a keyword has a huge search volume, broad informational intent, but low commercial value, then it means it can generate traffic but it’s not good from a revenue perspective. However, if you’re looking for top of the funnel (TOFU) topics, then it can be a great place to start.

 

2. Long-Tail Keywords

It’s a daunting challenge to compete for short-tail keywords as a beginner. These are the high volume, high competition keywords that everyone’s trying to rank for. However, you won’t rank on Page 1 for short-tail keywords if Google thinks you have low EAT for that niche or query.

In that case, long-tail keywords are your best friend. Long-tail keywords refer to those KWs that have a low search volume. Strictly speaking, they don’t refer to longer search queries – however long search queries tend to have lower search volumes. Check out this article by Search Engine Land to learn more about the difference between long-tail keywords and long search strings.

Here at Link Building HQ, we’ve found long-tail keywords really helpful in terms of traffic and brand visibility. We rank #1 for a number of long tail keywords, which help introduce our brand to hundreds of people who are new to the world of SEO. By providing useful information to them, and to you, we have become a trusted source of information in our industry.

By targeting long-tail keywords for your niche, you can also up your game and find new ranking opportunities.

DA vs DR
Link Building HQ ranks #1 for the long tail keyword “DA vs DR”

 

3. The Marketing Funnel

A modern marketing funnel is a consumer-focused marketing strategy that starts with brand awareness and ends at brand advocacy.

marketing funnel

 

Keyword research is most helpful for the top 3 phases. In the first phase, the potential buyers need information; at the consideration phase, they compare different options, and in the third phase, they want compelling points to make a purchase decision. Remember, it is not a linear process. At a time, your audience is residing at these different stages. So, you should reach out to every level through relative keywords.

Awareness

In this stage, users need informative content. For example, “What is keyword difficulty?” Here, the user is only looking for information. However, it is relevant to companies selling SEO services. SEO agencies can write related blogs to answer their queries in-depth. Once they land on your website and know about your services, later on, they can convert into a buyer.

However, if you will merely focus on informative content, then you will get traffic but not get conversions. So, digging down is essential!

Consideration

Users at this stage know about their problems and try to find solutions. In this phase, they are more likely to search, “how to rank higher for difficult keywords?” Maybe while researching, a user comes across a solution to hire an SEO agency for noteworthy results.

Conversion

Users in this phase will be searching for an SEO agency fulfilling their requirements. Here, users are ready to buy a service. So, they will search for keyword phrases like “top SEO agencies near me.” So here you need to provide users the compelling points to choose your agency. Keywords having a highest-buying intent will work in this phase.

The bottom line is, as we go deeper, the focus will go from informative to money keywords.

 

4. Evaluate And Optimize

You can use tools like Ahrefs, Moz, SEMRush, Longtail Pro and others to get in-depth keyword reports. They show which keywords are performing well, highlight the fallen ones, and provide the potential keywords with traffic and conversion potential. This will help you with keyword research optimization.

Keyword research optimization is a must to maintain higher rankings. You have to continuously evaluate and optimize your keyword research. Moreover, you should keep updating your old content to keep it relevant and fresh. Otherwise, you will begin losing traffic to other pages that are more relevant, or better at fulfilling user intent.

Now that you have a better understanding of keyword research, it’s time to use our gameplan and start ranking higher! Build a keyword ranking strategy, stick to it, and keep optimizing. Nothing will give you a better ROI in the long run than a high-quality keyword research strategy.

 

The Best Link Building Strategies For 2020

It’s no secret that backlinks remain one of the most important SEO ranking factors and continue to play a vital role in SERP rankings. That’s why SEOs need to find the best ways to earn high-quality backlinks that can help improve rankings and traffic for their sites.

In this post, we will not only reveal the best link building strategies for 2020, but will also provide you with a roadmap to implement them effectively.

Let’s get started!

1. Guest Blogging

White-hat guest blogging can do wonders for your brand! By providing high-quality guest blogs to other sites in your niche, you are providing great value to the overall ecosystem. Other websites get another excellent article for their blog, your audience finds relevant and useful information, and you establish yourself as a thought leader.

Moreover, Google’s algorithm has evolved, and it gives great importance to the quality of backlinks as well. Getting a link from websites with a higher authority, a lot of email subscribers and a massive social following can do wonders for your website.

Some of the best sites to contribute to are the ones with high EAT. Make sure to reach out to high ranking blogs in your niche to get noteworthy results. Getting one backlink from a more authoritative website can bring in more visitors to your site than getting multiple backlinks from websites with minimal traffic.

results of a guest blogging study
Getting referral traffic can be one of the first steps in bringing in customers to your sales funnel. Image source: Ahrefs.

 

Here are a few steps to find such blogs.

  1. Research about the blog post you want to write about.
  2. Make your list of the top 10 blogs that best cover that topic.
  3. Analyze your top 10 blogs – audience interests, well-performing posts, and blog’s user experience. It will let you know how to write a killer guest blogging pitch by creating a win-win situation. Let the editors know how your guest blog post would be beneficial for their blog by relating it to the aforementioned aspects.

 

If you provide them exceptionally well content, chances are they will invite you themselves next time. So, give it your 100%!

 

2. Unlinked Brand Mentions

Find out how many websites have mentioned your brand or company name online. You may be surprised by how many just mention your brand name and not link to your site.

Unlinked-mentions-image ressett digital
Example of an unlinked brand mention for LinkBuilding HQ.

 

But take it as a compliment. These websites have already accepted your brand worth. Now, you only need to reach out to them and request them to link the brand mention to your website.

You could convert unlinked brand mentions into the linked ones by following these steps:

  1. Instead of manually searching for unlinked brand mentions manually, use tools like Link Prospector by Citation Labs or Mentions Tracker by Ahrefs, for sorting out unlinked brand mentions.
  2. Reach out them and ask them to link the brand mention to the relevant page on your site.

 

3. Leveraging Social Media

Social media is not limited to building personal connections. Organic mentions are now one of the strongest pillars of marketing and getting backlinks nowadays. If you are missing out on social media, then it means you are losing a considerable fan following, engagement, social traffic as well as backlinks to your website.

While social media backlinks may not be direct ranking factors, it can improve your visibility and help you earn organic backlinks from other websites. As AJ Kohn put it, “It’s not the actual social activity that matters, but what happens as a result of that activity.”

How To Earn Social Media Backlinks
Want to learn how to use social media to earn quality links? Click here to read the full article.

 

Figure out which social media platforms have the best traffic potential for your brand.  You can use different analytics tools to get better data and make more informed decisions regarding which social media platforms to focus more on. Come up with catchy headlines and keep your content quality high to get massive social shares and backlinks. Otherwise, you may lose the audience’s interest quickly.

 

4. Content Repurposing

Coming up with detailed and up to date content is not a piece of cake. It demands time and in-depth research to reveal valuable insights. But once it’s done, content repurposing does not require that much effort. For example, a case study in the form of infographics may be transformed into a video or a podcast. This allows you to upload what is essentially the same content to different platforms, such as your podcast and YouTube channels.

Examples of Repurposing Content
Image Source: Social Champ

 

For now, figure out your content pieces, which could be transformed into multiple file-formats to get an exponential increase in backlinks and website traffic. Keep exploring new ways to deliver content; more content transformation means you get more eyeballs.

 

5. Competitor Analysis

Competitive analysis can reveal valuable insights, especially if you’re a new player in your industry. Here are a few tips on how to get started with a comprehensive competitive analysis:

  • Identify your major competitors, based on your industry and target keywords. You can take advantage of advanced tools such as Ahrefs and SEMrush, here. Enter your desired keywords, and these tools will display the top pages ranking for them.
  • Now, analyze their backlinks sources. Observe from where they are getting a significant portion of these links. It could be news sites, relevant blogs, or corporate sites.
  • Within no time, you will discover “already working” strategies having the potential to gain backlinks. It could be guest-blogging, networking, or social media for your business. However, you have to know your strengths and weaknesses to understand which strategy will work best for you.

 

Ahrefs batch analysis of competitors
Image source: Ahrefs

 

So, there you have it – my favorite tips for link building in 2020. While generating valuable content remains the backbone for getting organic backlinks from high authority sites, these top tips will give you an edge over your competitors and keep you ahead in the game. Try them out and see the results for yourself. Good luck!