Having a comprehensive keyword list is crucial for SEO and will help you rank for keywords that your competition may have missed. Therefore it is very important to use every method available to find those keywords that are useful, but your competition missed.
Unless you have a very narrow niche you will never run out of keyword suggestions, the language people use to describe and label things within a niche is constantly evolving and growing. And other keywords may be fading out of use and so no longer of benefit to rank for in the search engines.
Alternative Keyword Generation Sources
If you use only the same keyword tools that your competition are using, you risk falling into the trap of fighting for the same keywords that many others also want to rank for.
A solution to this is to use sources for keyword generation which few of your competitors is using. In addition to using the traditional keyword tools, adding a technique that is alternative to the crowd, means you will get an edge on keyword research. The concept of the long tail is often spoken about in SEO, but how do you find those long tail keywords that have few competitors.
If you’re looking for keyword research tools, then a quick choice your be Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner tool, that can help you with keyword suggestions and categorize them by topic groups, show information regarding average monthly search volume, competition difficulty, suggested bid.
Another great example is a content optimization and keyword search combination tool – the Keyword Tool and Content Assistant, that can help you generate suggestions filtered by relevancy, search volume, number of words, CPC and run a competitive research on a specific query to see the pages in google’s search results.
Also, you can see the first 100 positions for your specific query. And the cherry on top is the fact you can optimize a blog post in the Content Assistant guiding you with keywords recommendations for improving your content score along with the ranking itself.
Google Analytics is a great resource to find organic searches and keyword suggestions. If you go to Acquisition > Keywords > Organic you’ll see all the list with what people searched and ended on your site.
A similar option is Google Search Console. A list of organic keywords or queries as named in the webmaster tool with data regarding clicks, impressions, CTR and position. Just go to Search Traffic > Search Analytics and get the data you need.
What Is in the Mind of People Who Search
You may be surprised to find that not everyone uses the internet 100% and only uses Google to search for things.
People are constantly bombarded with information both on and offline in a variety of mediums.
The following is a list of places you can find keywords that your competition probably do not know about, giving you the edge.
The trick is to go off the beaten path, think differently, go sideways instead of through. You will be surprised at what you come up with.
You don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. I am not saying don’t use the Google, Keyword Planner but try other techniques for generating keywords and give you the edge.
I know what you are thinking. Do they still exist? Although magazines do not have the large readership they once have they still are bought by millions of people who pay money to read the words and look at the pictures.
Because the front page of the magazine has always been a place where attracting someone, and invoking a desire to buy the magazine takes place, the headlines that are placed on the front page have to be carefully crafted and a great way to grab tested keywords.
Magazines, unlike blogs, need to be attractive enough to get people to buy them, therefore their front page is more crucial to its existence. If something does not work on a blog, it can quickly and cheaply create new content that does. Whilst this leads to more experimentation it also leads to more noise. The content in a magazine has been historically tested to work within the market.
The best magazines for keyword hunting ones are women’s magazines as they have highly crafted headlines and are a headline writing lesson in their own right. There are also more of them and so have a higher segmentation of the market, targeting sub-niches.
If your market is covered by topics in women’s magazines it is a no brainer to use them for keyword harvesting.
Cosmopolitan is a good example of a magazine which is targeting a specific person. Its headlines are crafted in such a way to attract those who fit the Cosmo demographic. By analysing back issues you can track recurring themes and narratives. This helps develop the context with which the keywords are created.
The headlines and keywords from just one cover:
- Inside his sex brain find out exactly what he’s thinking
- Hire me!
- Dream jobs you didn’t even know existed
- I talked a murderer out of killing me
- Desk to dance floor fashion
You don’t get more niche than the “Baking Bread” niche, this magazine is a good example of a hyper targeted niche in the magazine market. Most are used to this type of segmentation in the world of blogging, but it also exists in the magazine world.
One big difference between an offline magazine and an online blog is that the offline magazine needs an investment of thousands of dollars, whilst the blog can be knocked up by a college dropout in their underpants over the weekend, not that there is anything wrong with that.
The point being is that the magazine has to get it right else it loses a lot of money, it does not have much room to make mistakes and cannot produce content that has not already been tested. Therefore the content it is using has all been heavily researched, along with its keywords.
A selection of the headlines on the front cover of Love Baking Bread, a highly niche magazine
- 112 recipes and ideas
- Perfect Picnics
- Six of the best flatbread recipes
- Hairy Bikers’ Jarlsberg Twist
- You’ll love this cheese-filled bake
- Rustic red onion and pepper focaccia
- 12 Top bakeries
People will claim to hate lists and yet publishers continue to use them.
We can easily pull out not only keyword ideas, but content ideas for blog posts, listicles and infographics.
A magazine such as Cycling Fitness is very useful as it is targeted on a specific niche, but it covers very wide ranging issues such as diet, fitness, weight loss etc.
So even though you may not be in this specific niche it can give you excellent ideas.
The use of “power words” is evident, such as:
Which for this niche must be trigger words. We can assume paid for research has taken place for this magazine and the words and phrases that are used have been carefully crafted and tested.
We could easily devote a whole blog post to “money magazines”. The amount of content and keyword ideas you can get from quickly scanning the front covers is huge.
What is interesting in this issue is that the cover is focusing in on a specific amount. Not too outrageous, but enough to get the reader excited.
Property is a constant staple of the money, investing niche and it’s use here reminds us we don’t have to be overly clever when creating content that is attractive.
We all like step by step guides, it takes a complex procedure and chunks it down into bit sized pieces. We can see from the front cover there are quite a few of these types of articles.
Liberal use of power words, as headline keywords they are very effective in attracting the reader.
Magazines appealing to technical readers tend to deal with nuts and bolts, but still use words like “awesome”, which tend to be associated with a more hyped up niche. Although most readers would not admit to being attracted to such power words, they evidently are as a magazine which have been published for many years continues to use them.
You can easily outsource to a site like Fiverr or hire someone on Odesk, to go through all the magazines for that niche and detail all the sub-headlines for that niche. Creating a fat file containing keywords and content ideas.
Step by step process for researching magazines
- Find the magazine that fits your niche
- Search in Google images for past covers.
- Pull out all the keywords into a text file.
- Analyse headlines and rate them with a 1-10 metric
- Create a content strategy based on these keyword phrases
- Use the keyword phrases in social media promotion
It may seem like everyone has the same keyword list, but they don’t. There are some people who have found a number of undiscovered keywords which convert. Tools are not 100% perfect, they miss things that the human brain does not. By employing original techniques in addition to using the same old tools, you can get an edge in the “keyword arms race”.
I have shown you just one technique, but there are many other techniques which are rarely talked about on SEO blogs, but more about that in another blog post.