I don’t use keyword research tools anymore. I’ll go so far to say you’re hurting your SEO process by using them – and they are a relic of the past. There’s a few fundamental issues that make them not worth your time nowadays. In this post I am going to break down why along with what you should do instead.
The SEO Space Has Evolved
Experts have been teaching keyword research as an essential part of the SEO process for over a decade. The reality is that things have changed. Everyone is using the same keyword research tools that are giving the same data and search phrases. What that means is that all of your competitors in your niche are creating content around the exact same search phrases.
Instead of keyword research tools giving you great topic ideas, now they just give you oversaturated topics you’d be wasting your time writing about.
99% Don’t Succeed…So Why Do What They Do?
I’m sure you’ve heard that most businesses fail within the first couple years. Why do what the herd does if most of their websites never rank? It’s time to adapt and adjust your strategy to stay ahead.
Remember: To achieve what the 1% can you need to think like the 1% – and many of the biggest websites actually don’t use keyword research tools or SEO plugins at all!
They Can Still Give You A Broad Overview
There’s one reason I still recommend using these tools, and that’s the fact that you’re getting a broad understanding of what readers in your niche want. Well these searches may be too competitive for you nowadays, doesn’t change the fact that you can at least develop an understanding of the kind of things people are searching for. If you are new to creating content or blogging, it’s going to be really hard to figure out what to write about.
In fact, this is one of the questions I get asked by clients all the time.
When I introduce the concept of content and blogging to my clients, there’s almost always the same issue that they all run into. They have no idea what to create content about. Many big figures in the SEO space over the years have come up with different answers and philosophies when it comes to how they create content.
In my opinion, many of these are both right and wrong. It ultimately comes down to your business and what resonates with you. Ideally you want to be in a sweet spot between what comes easy for you to write, and what people are looking for.
What To Do Instead
Okay, so keyword research tools aren’t the answer. What do you do now? Well, the good news is it’s actually going to be 10x easier to create content once you’ve got a feel for this. In the beginning it’s going to be tough but once you get the hang of it ideas will come naturally.
This very blog post I wrote without doing any keyword research. Instead, I thought of a topic I wanted to talk to my audience about. That’s literally it.
Now you might be thinking: “wait a minute, but how do I know a topic is worth writing about? What if it has zero search volume?” The same thing happens nowadays with keyword research tools.
You find a topic idea in the keyword research that has a ton of search volume, but it actually doesn’t turn out that way. In my experience keyword research tools have almost always given flawed volume for search phrases. The reality is that there’s no real way to know what kind of traffic you’re going to generate with a piece of content no matter what topic research method you use.
For example, let’s say you’re using Google Keyword Planner. Even if the data is right, your website’s authority may not be high enough to get that kind of visibility in the search results.
Here’s what you want to do. Sit down with your team if you have one, or it can just be you. Think about common misconceptions in your niche or industry, and come up with a list of as many as you can. Next, think about questions you often get asked from customers.
If you’re selling a product, write down a list of other products you can compare it with. Reviews are also an easy content format to create, because all you have to do is list out your thoughts on something. Think of products or services that are relevant to your business and come up with a list.
What are mistakes your prospects often make? What about processes…? Surely there must be a guide you can write to make their lives easier.
After a solid brainstorming session you should have a list of at least 20 topics to create content about.. See, that was easy! …And you didn’t need a keyword research tool to do it.
Now I bet you’re wondering “but Gabriel – what do I put in the focus keyphrase box in Yoast?”
Just put five to six words in that are as close as what you think people are searching for. Google is smart enough to figure out your topic, and you don’t have to specify everything anymore. It’s not the ’90s anymore, and it certainly isn’t the early days of the internet.
Once you create content on every topic in the list, sit down for another brainstorming session. Another useful way to come up with content ideas is to browse Reddit and forums in your niche. See what real people are talking about and you’ll get a feel for what sort of information they are looking for. Add these ideas to your list.
Focus On This Metric For Content Marketing
As a side note, people are so obsessed with search volume that they fail to see the bigger picture. There’s only one metric you need to pay attention to with your content marketing, and that’s volume of visitors to your website every month. I talk a lot in my content about monetization, and how important it is for your content to achieve your business goals before anything else.
Once you have calls to action set up on your website, you’ll get to know what your conversion rate is over time as people come to your website. As a quick recap, a conversion is simply someone completing the action you want them to. Someone buying a product, calling your business, or filling out a form and entering their email.
Anyways, my point is that if you have a grasp on a conversion rate for a page for example then you have to make exactly how many people are going to convert based on the number of visitors you get. Here, it’s just a matter of deciding how many sales, calls, or email leads you want to get per day from your SEO efforts. Using an example, let’s say that my funnel consists of a $97 product on the front end.
If I wanted to make $100 per day from my business, I only need to sell around 1 of these.
If 1% of my visitors purchase this then I want to have 100 visitors a day. That roughly boils down to 3,000 visitors a month. That may sound hard, but that’s actually really easy to pull off.
If I have 100 pieces of content, we can take 3,000 and divide it by 100. That means I only need to get 30 visitors per day to my website. That number is realistic and not impossible to reach.
You can succeed at SEO without paying for a keyword research tool. I myself don’t use them, and have never had to. Write content that prospects in your industry would care about, and you’ll be fine. Remember that proper Search Engine Optimization takes persistence, along with creating high quality content over time. Stick with the program and you will be rewarded for it in the long run.
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