E190 – Keyword Research 201

We have already done a number of shows on various Keyword Research topics so if you missed them or want to check them out again here they are:

So if you want Keyword Research 101, tips on writing blog posts, help with your ecommerce keyword research or to dig into some competitive research beyond keywords – DO check out those past episodes.


What hashtags are similar or competitors using? Look at Twitter and Instagram to get ideas on what people care about.

Leverage them to better optimize your title, description and maybe even give you new ideas for content. Look at the numbers of posts using various hashtags – is it a small number or large number? Use those data points as validation of what keywords people are thinking about.

Matt with his photography is often digging into how and what people are tagging to give him ideas.


When you have lists of 10,000, 40,000 or even 200,000 or 400,000 like Dave has had for some projects recently it is hard to just sort through so many.

Think of the “intent” of keywords – informational, transactional or navigational. Dave gives some examples of keywords, intents and questions that you can ask.

For SaaS companies that want to rank for “best X software” – sorry but Google isn’t likely going to list your product page unless you are the biggest in that space. It is going to show lists of rated/sorted products.

What do people want to do? Learn and be educated? Buy something? Compare something? Think about the intent of the keyword, the content on the site and think about how best to create content that has a chance to rank and help people.

Content Ideas – Where to Find More

Go right now (unless you are sure) and make sure you have Google Analytics set-up to track your site searches. There is gold in that data and lots of FAQ/content ideas that you likely need to add to your site.

Yearly Review

Do you need to review your keyword target lists monthly or quarterly? Maybe if you are in the ecommerce space and have lots of seasonal/product turn over. If you aren’t though, once a year or so is likely enough.

Businesses change. Product and service offerings change from time to time. When those things happen for you, take a look at the keyword targets and evaluate what you are going after. Check your content plan and make sure that your new keywords and business priorities are all in line!

Full Transcript

Matt Siltala: [00:00:00] Welcome to another exciting episode of the business of digital podcast, featuring your host, Matt  and Dave roar. Hey guys, excited to have you join us on another one of these business of digital podcast episodes as always Dave, on the other end. How’s it

Dave Rohrer: [00:00:16] going? My friend, I am. It is, it is a rainy here. Oh yes.

I know. You’re like going 115 degrees already and it’s raining here.

Matt Siltala: [00:00:25] Well, we’re not quite at 115. Thank goodness. But, uh, it’s coming soon. Well, guys, um, we’re going to just jump right into it. We want it to. Um, you know, Dave reminded me that we’re approaching, uh, you know, we’re, we’re coming up to a high number of episodes that we’ve done.

And it just crazy because I don’t know, um, you know, it’s, we’ve been doing this for a long time and you just get into the routine of doing it and, and, uh, you just, you, you tend to forget like where you’re at and what you’ve accomplished and, you know, over three years [00:01:00] and approaching 200 episodes and it’s crazy day, but, uh, What we wanted to jump in today with you guys is, um, a little bit more of a high level, uh, keyword research.

We’ve done keyword research in the past. Um, but it’s always good to go over it again, but also we had some ideas that might take it to the next level and, uh, that’s where we’re really going to jump in and go from there. So why don’t you kick us off and, uh, we’ll do it. My friend.

Dave Rohrer: [00:01:28] And just for those that have not listened to every single episode, why not?

No, I’m kidding. Um, exactly. Yeah. Come on. The, as Matt said, we’re getting to almost 200, so every so often we’ll have an idea. And then we start searching around our own site and realize that we’ve done it. Um, or something very similar, which is what I had with two ideas that we were going to record today.

I realized that on both of them we’d done it or done very, very similar to it. Um, there was like, meta-tags something. And I was [00:02:00] like, oh, we just did that. Like, you know, four months ago, um, But what we have done in the past is some keyword research. So like episode 23 was unique ways to do keyword research.

And that was kind of a one oh one kind of thing. Episode 86, we had Aaron Friedman on when he was at similar web and we kind of talked about going beyond just keywords, um, which we should probably have. Dixon on to talk about things, not strings at some point, that’s a good idea. All

Matt Siltala: [00:02:32] these are good. Uh, and you know, all, these are good episodes too, for anyone to go back and check out.

Dave Rohrer: [00:02:38] They’re just different, different variations of types of keyword research. And then one 50, we did keyword tools for trends in shopping. So specifically like lots of Pinterest tools, Shopify tools, um, those are the e-commerce space. You’d really care about that. One more. And then recently, which wasn’t quite cured research, but I always think it ties into it that we [00:03:00] did, um, the one-on-one guide to writing blog posts, which kind of ties into keyword research.

But this one is keyword research. Now I want to say 2.0, but like, instead of one-on-one I think this is more like two oh one after you’ve graduated past all of the other ones. Maybe you’re ready for this one. Um, maybe we’ll give you some additional ideas. Hopefully. Yeah. So that was just kind of the general gist of what’s going on.

Also an excuse for me to drop in links to all of those. Um, and to bring those up, if you haven’t gone back and listened to them, or if you ever have a junior person starting, you know, feel free to dig into those

Matt Siltala: [00:03:39] well, um, I’ll just kind of jump into it. You know, what, what I was thinking, Dave, whenever we were talking about this is.

Especially, not outside.

Dave Rohrer: [00:03:52] Now’s a good time. Hey, Dave is going to record. We should go Mo thanks. Oh yeah,

Matt Siltala: [00:03:55] yeah. And we have, we have, uh, we have, uh, like the [00:04:00] tremors going out there or no leaf blowers going out to buying our house too right now, but, uh, perfect timing, huh? Quiet until then. But really actually, Dave, this got me thinking of, um, just a couple of, uh, You know, things that I’ve been looking at lately with, with keyword research, with, uh, you know, Instagram and, you know, I run that photography account.

And so one of the things that I think a lot of people forget about is they have the opportunity, you know, to go and look at all the people that, and again, this is just the example of photography, but they can get into and look at, um, all the different examples of. Of, uh, you know, their competition, you know, wherever it may be.

But, uh, I like to go and look at just the different hashtags that businesses are using. And, uh, that helps me really well. I mean, first of all, like that’s a great opportunity for you [00:05:00] to, you know, include those hashtags and see which ones work better, which ones don’t. But it also is a good idea if you’re consistently seeing certain hashtags, um, I’ve used it for ideas for posts before.

Um, this is also, you know, something that you could be using to write your better descriptions with better titles, with things like that. And so, um, one of the things that I would highly recommend doing is going through and checking out every kind of, um, hashtag. Cross-reference to see what your competition is doing with hashtags on Twitter, see what they’re doing, you know, anywhere that you can use hashtags, basically go and just do some same kind of keyword research and see what it’s doing for them.

And then know what I like to do is I like to just kind of take a little, um, uh, I don’t know what you call it, but basically just, uh, analyze all the data and realize, okay, well these particular hashtags, every time I use these ones, I get a lot more visitors or I have more people commenting or [00:06:00] this did absolutely nothing for me, you know, and this is a, again, a good way.

And that’s just something that I was thinking about when you first started talking about, you know, other ways than just using the tools that we have or that the SEO tools that are out there, whatever it might be, just look at what’s right in front of you as well with, uh, with hashtags. So

Dave Rohrer: [00:06:22] well in not a lot of times, It’ll also suggest like how many they’ll give you those numbers of like how many posts there are, and you can use that, not just for ideas, but also to validate, you know, do people actually care about this? How are they, how are they looking at it? And I think that also leads into one of the ideas I had around intent.

So you can use, you know, keywords. Or Google, Google ad planners, keyword research tool. You can use ARS, you can use SpyFu, you can use some rush. You can use keywords everywhere. You can [00:07:00] use, you know, any number of tools. I think a lot of people, and there’s times recently where I’ve had, I don’t know. For a client plus like six or seven competitors, I’ve looked at, pulled all their keywords and stuff and started digging through.

I’ve had 150 to 400,000 keywords. Um, just organic Nike, you know, that are driving traffic or, you know, that any of those sites are ranking for, that’s an insane number of keywords. And then I just start cutting it down by, you know, Which ones aren’t and which ones are geo that they’re not in, which ones are parts of, you know, services or businesses that other competitors have that they don’t offer.

And I just keep cutting it down, but it also often gets down to the intent. Yeah. You know, like when we talked about the shopping and stuff, there’s different types of intent where if someone does a search for [00:08:00] best. Or, um, I’m trying to think of another one. It’ll give you, you Googled near me

Matt Siltala: [00:08:05] or pizza near me food

Dave Rohrer: [00:08:07] near me.

Well, no, like, um, what is the, what is the best photo editing software? Ah, gotcha. Google is Google might serve up Lightroom. It might serve up one other solution just because those are, you know, tons of links, tons of optimized well-known brands, the domain, everything, you know, everything about it. You just expect it to show up.

Um, but beyond that, if you’re, you know, not one of those tools, those one or two, it’s going to be a list it’s going to be some sort of affiliate list or, you know, wired or, you know, um, depending on your industry or what is the, what is the, you know, what is the best family SUV? It’s not going to be a link to just one or two SUV’s, it’s going to be a list to, you know, some sort of blog posts.

[00:09:00] Yeah.

Matt Siltala: [00:09:01] I remember the one that recently was done by our mutual friend. Um, you know, talking about the best snow tires that came out, uh, back in, uh, you know, during the winter. And it didn’t, like you said, it didn’t lead to just one blog post with one set of tires. It was all of them, but they were reviewed.

Dave Rohrer: [00:09:17] Yeah. And, you know, if you’re a SAS company, you often run into that where you’re going up against the cap terrorism G-tubes because they all show lists of products that do X, Y, Z, and you want to be on that list. You want to be in that short list in Google, but Google is looking at it and going, no, they don’t want just one company.

People are looking to compare, you know, this isn’t a, I don’t even, what is an alternative to light room? Is there one. Um, I’m using that example now and now I just walked into, like, I don’t even know if there’s an example to it, know that there

Matt Siltala: [00:09:54] is, um, I’ve heard, I can’t now I can’t think of off the top of my head, but there is a free [00:10:00] alternative that people have been

Dave Rohrer: [00:10:00] using.

Well, like for me drop

Matt Siltala: [00:10:03] the link. Maybe we can find it.

Dave Rohrer: [00:10:08] Gimp gimp is a free version of Photoshop. Yeah. Kemp used to load really quickly, but now they’ve added so many plugins that I almost might as well buy Photoshop. Cause it’s still takes 10 minutes for it. Honestly, like I used to like open up Photoshop and then walk away and, you know, go get something to drink and read the newspaper and come back and it would finally be open.

Yeah, it’s gotten pretty bad, but like, you know, if you’re doing a Photoshop versus gimp, Yeah, you can, you can compete for that with a product page maybe, but again, a blog post or an article of some sort, whatever you want to, you know, a resource and then there’s other content where you can easily see like how to, what to do.

There’s just asks for videos.

[00:11:00] You know, the intent is it’s educational. Is it purchase or is it education or navigational? You know, is it someone doesn’t know how to spell GoDaddy or, or something like that? I just think there’s a lot of times, people that are looking at keywords and the clients are like, we want to rank for this keyword and it’s like, we can, but it’s not going to be your, your salesy page.

It needs to be a resource of some sort or some sort of content. And I don’t think people understand why, well,


Matt Siltala: [00:11:33] think that’s where you have to, you know, start to help them. And this is where we, again, where we’re taking it to that next level, that tool one level we’re, I mean, we have to help them understand what their priorities are.

We have to help them understand the potential. We have to help them analyze the data. You know what I mean? And so then that’s where we craft the, you know, that’s where we can. Use it, but I think a lot of times with what you’re saying is someone just has it in their mind. I want to [00:12:00] rank for this and they haven’t done any of that.

You know what I mean? They haven’t prioritized anything. They haven’t done any kind of research other than this is what I think is the biggest keyword when they could have potential other ones that are doing better for them.

Dave Rohrer: [00:12:15] Well, yeah, this keyword has 4,800 searches. The one you’re telling me I have to go for only has 400.

I don’t want to go for that,

Matt Siltala: [00:12:23] but what is that 401 gonna do versus

Dave Rohrer: [00:12:26] yeah. Yeah. And that was one thing like in the payroll space, I always use that as yeah. Books. That’s a very easy one. People that search for payroll it’s that I forget what the numbers are, but it’s ridiculous. How many people search payroll, but what is the intent behind payroll?

Do they want QuickBooks? Do they want to understand? Are they just confused and trying to type in payroll for their own? And just think that, you know, if they start typing in payroll, it’ll suggest whatever their backend is for ADP or Paychex or, you know, whatever their [00:13:00] company, HR stuff is. Do they just not know what to look for because they just started a company and they got to run payroll or.

I, I don’t even know. I don’t think Google notes, if you look at the results, it has no

Matt Siltala: [00:13:11] idea. Well, that reminds me of, you know, back when I was in the mattress industry, the keyword bed or the keyword mattress, um, I mean, insane volume and everyone wants to rank for those. But when I wanted to rank for was hybrid latex memory foam mattress, or latex organic mattress, because they’re very specific.

What’s that

Dave Rohrer: [00:13:39] I said, but why would you want to rank for those?

Matt Siltala: [00:13:41] Because they’re very specific and people know exactly what they’re looking for and they convert their much higher converting keywords. And especially if you’re running, you know, paid ad campaigns, if you’re paying for the word mattress, you’re doing it wrong.

If you’re paying for one of these other very focused words, a [00:14:00] little bit of a different story, you know,

Dave Rohrer: [00:14:03] Because the intent. Yeah. That’d be how far down the funnel they are. And I know at certain point you run out of people that are searching for that, that you can get in front of, and then you start moving up.

But I think people start at the top where, you know, there’s 500,000 people searching for this keyword every month and it’s like, yeah, but you don’t even have budget to, you know, for more than $8 a click, we’re going to blow your entire monthly budget in one day on that keyword. From a PPC standpoint. And from an SEO standpoint, you just started your site, you know, six months ago and you have five links.

There’s no way you can compete. And we’re not even talking about like SERP analysis of, you know, can you compete from a link and everything else? I’m just, we’re just focusing right now on like the intent and keeping that in mind when you’re doing the keyword research and trying to understand. Does the site have the type of pages, the [00:15:00] content, um, does it match up with the business in the past?

And I know Matt, you know this too, like lots of infographics, you would look for ways to tie in. And I did this too. Two things. One of them being what your, what your. W your company sells or your client sells and then something else loosen another group that maybe, you know, some other group in Reddit or Daigle, spread it out and you’ll get a whole bunch more links.

Yeah. To a certain extent you can do that, but not for every, not every day, not every project, not every piece of content.

Matt Siltala: [00:15:42] Well, and again, I think that’s just where the planning, well, you know, the planning better comes into play with what we’ve talked about, but, um, yeah, like it’s, it gets me thinking back to, um, you know, even just from some of the conversations that would be had from, from, uh, [00:16:00] putting that kind of content out there, the infographics and things like that.

That would also, I would take that data as well. Just again, thinking about everything. And just the discussions that would come from those contents. But anyway, that’s a, that’s another getting sidetracked a little

Dave Rohrer: [00:16:15] bit. If you’re ever looking for cured research and looking for content ideas, I’m pretty sure we, I know we’ve talked about this at some point.

But double-check your analytics, make sure you have it set up to track all of your site searches. If you’re on Shopify or WordPress or Wix or whatever, whatever type of site you’re on, doesn’t really matter. Make sure that you’re tracking analytics or tracking somewhere. What people are searching on your site.

Yeah. And look through that data. Are they consistently misspelling or are they consistently looking for some sort of brand or pieces of content or some question that you’re clearly aren’t answering on certain pages? I tried to find it. Oh, go [00:17:00] ahead. I was gonna say, and then try to figure out which page you should go on and how to optimize for it.

Matt Siltala: [00:17:06] What’s funny is, uh, this reminds me and didn’t realize how this my foot kind of tie in. But, um, people always joke with me cause I actually, my name, I, I just felt with one T but forever. Um, you know, I have written it as two T’s as far as my online world goes, because. Well,

Dave Rohrer: [00:17:28] cause I saw it both ways.

Matt Siltala: [00:17:30] Yeah.

But most people search for it with two T’s and so I was just like, well, let’s make it easy for what people are searching for. And, but, uh, and, and it’s worked pretty well for the most part, but again, it’s just that whole thing, like, um, just paying attention to what your audience is doing and that’s what I was trying to do.

So I don’t know any final thoughts before we wrap

Dave Rohrer: [00:17:51] up Matt, always. I don’t optimize everything. Let’s see my name. Um, I do my name. He was like, I optimize my name [00:18:00] even. No, I think, just look at the intent of keywords that you, you were intending to go for, that you are actively going for. Um, do a review every so often.

I don’t know if you need to do it every quarter, but once a year, take a look and say, Hey, has our business pivoted at all? Did we stop selling products? Do we have a lot of content on the site that we know we used to create for all of these different questions and answers and problems and, um, oh, by the way, we sunsetted that product, you know, in 2020, and here we are seven months ago, and there’s still some content on the content plan that is supposed to, you know, target that type of stuff.

Well, why. No, if you haven’t gone back and reviewed your keyword research or content plan and just how everything aligns with the intent and with the business, you’re just wasting resources

Matt Siltala: [00:18:59] and don’t waste [00:19:00] resources folks. Nope. It’s harder to get them then. Well, thank you guys for joining us. Uh, uh, we do appreciate it as always just here’s your reminder.

We are on iTunes and. Uh, we would love for you to go and give us a five star review. So, um, go and check that out. And, uh, for Dave Warren Northside metrics, I met soulful with avalanche media. And thanks for joining us on this one, guys. Like,

Dave Rohrer: [00:19:26] thanks.