Keeping up with Keyword Research with Kristal Audain (NEWBIE)

Keeping up with Keyword Research with Kristal Audain (NEWBIE)

 

Finding the right words to help your customers find you

 

Ever wondered how Google takes your crazy search query and spits out pages and pages of relevant content?

It’s all in the words, my friend.

You might even say that words are the KEY.

And that’s why today we’re revisiting the topic of Keyword Research.

Much overlooked, much misunderstood, much avoided – Solid Keyword research underpins every aspect of your website structure, your content, your customer journey, and your conversions.

Understanding concepts like user intent, volume, traffic, click-through rate, keyword difficulty, and knowing when it’s best to go short or go long is all part of your SEO strategy.

So today we’re going to dig deep into smart keyword research, and how to get the right audience to your website.

An audience that engages, and buys.

 

Tune in to learn:

  • What a keyword is
  • The difference between short and long-tail keywords
  • Why you should rank for hundreds of keywords, not just one
  • Different keyword list brainstorming techniques
  • Narrowing it down: how to settle on your chosen keywords
  • What keyword grouping is, and how to find your focus keyword
  • Best methods: research a mega list of keywords for your site, or focus on a page by page (or product by product) basis
  • Ranking myths: Why using the same keyword on every page won’t necessarily help you rank for it
  • Ranking myths: Why you don’t need to use “near me” as a keyword in title tags and on page to rank for Near me searches.
  • Handy keyword research tools to save you time
  • Kristal’s top keyword research tips

 

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And big thanks to SanTelmoLoft from the United States for their lovely review.

“User-friendly, but not dialed down SEO gold

 

I have shared episodes of this podcast with prospective clients to help them understand that it takes time or that we need a content strategy.

 

And I choose this podcast to share, rather than the zillions of others, because if they keep listening they will be a better client.

 

They may even be able to do the amount of SEO they need for their small business from tuning in, and that would be amazing because … let’s face it, most small businesses don’t have the budget.

 

But if they do need help, it’s going to be much easier for me to tell them why content is what they should focus on first, and that you must have a content creator that keeps SEO in mind. That is the magic sauce.”

 

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About Kristal Audain

 

Kristal Audain is a puzzle-loving SEO with experience managing enterprise-level, multi-location e-commerce, and service-based businesses.

However, her passion is in helping non-profits and small businesses take full advantage of what SEO has to offer.

Kristal loves to travel with her husband and two kids, read mysteries, and of course, Google things.

Kristal is a chocoholic who is allergic to chocolate.

 

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Useful Resources

 

 

Transcript

 

Kate Toon:
Ever wondered how Google takes your crazy search query and spits out pages and pages of relevant content? It’s all in the words, my friends. You might even say that words are key. And that’s why today, we’re revisiting the topic of keyword research, much overlooked, much misunderstood, much avoided, solid keyword research underpins every aspect of your website structure, your content, your customer journeys, and your conversions. Understanding concepts like user intent, volume, traffic, clickthrough rate, keyword difficulty, and knowing when it’s best to go short or go long is all parts of your SEO strategy.

Kate Toon:
So today, we’re going to dig deep into smart keyword research and how to get the right audience to your website, an audience that engages, and more importantly, buys. Hello, my name is Kate Toon, and I am the head chef at The Recipe for SEO Success, an online teaching hub for all things related to search engine optimization and digital marketing. And today, I’m talking with Kristal Audain from Site Marketing Pro. Is it Audain or Audain?

Kristal Audain:
It’s Audain.

Kate Toon:
Audain.

Kristal Audain:
Audain.

Kate Toon:
And Kristal and I were having a very interesting chat about the stage of COVID in Virginia. Tell us where you’re from in the US, Kristal.

Kristal Audain:
I am from Virginia Beach, Virginia, which is on the east coast of the state, so loving the weather right now.

Kate Toon:
Very vice. Very vice. And at time of recording, the holiday season has just ended. I too live in a holiday resort by the beach in Australia, in a place called Umina Beach. We’ll have to Google Map each other after this.

Kristal Audain:
Yes, definitely.

Kate Toon:
We’ve had no tourists because we’ve been in lockdown since about 1942, but you’re going to get your town back, which is nice for when the summer ends and they all go away and it’s all calm again.

Kristal Audain:
Yes. And then we can actually go to the beach because there’s no traffic.

Kate Toon:
Yay. Well, look, we’re not talking about COVID today or beaches, but we will be talking about traffic, ba-boom, because we’re going to be talking about research. But before I get started, I just want to read out Kristal’s bio. So Kristal is a puzzle-loving SEO with experience managing enterprise level, multi-location e-commerce and service-based businesses. However, her passion is helping nonprofits and small businesses take full advantage of what SEO has to offer. Kristal loves to travel with her husband and two kids, read mysteries and of course, Google things.

Kate Toon:
Here’s our interesting facts about Kristal. Kristal is a chocoholic. Oh my God, you’re a chocoholic who is allergic to chocolate. What the heck?

Kristal Audain:
Yes. So I haven’t always been allergic to chocolate. Actually, my first job out of college was with Hershey, a huge chocolate company here in the States. And I sold chocolate at the beach. I wasn’t super far from where I live now, about an hour and a half from here, in The Outer Banks, so if anyone’s ever heard of that. So I was selling chocolate all summer. And I would get free samples, I’ve been to the factory, I’ve had a Reese’s Cup directly off the line. And then I got pregnant with my first child and it seems like an underlying allergy that I’ve always had popped its ugly head out. And by three years later, I couldn’t touch chocolate at all-

Kate Toon:
Oh my goodness.

Kristal Audain:
… to the point where I could have like Cadbury chocolate, Hershey’s and let’s say a Dove Chocolate, and I could tell the difference between the three by just tasting them. That’s how deep I was into the chocolate.

Kate Toon:
I’m going to make a judgement here, I think you brought it upon yourself.

Kristal Audain:
I think so.

Kate Toon:
I think you had so much chocolate that your body revolted. I would also say that maybe the problem is you were eating American chocolate, which we all know is far inferior to British chocolate.

Kristal Audain:
Because the British Cadbury chocolate is much, much different than the American Cadbury chocolate.

Kate Toon:
In Australia, they put something in it, I can’t remember what it’s called. They put something in it to stop it melting, because obviously, if you had chocolate here, it would just melt everywhere. And it’s just not the same, so I have to get my mom to send me little packets of chocolate from the UK over here. Let’s just talk about chocolate. Should we just talk about chocolate?

Kristal Audain:
Yeah, we could that. That should be our keyword for the entire episode, to talk about chocolate.

Kate Toon:
It should. Well, we’re going to use that as our examples today when we’re thinking about things. We’re going to start with the absolute basics, so if you are a more advanced listener, bear with us, we’re going to get some deeper stuff. But for the complete noob, when we say keyword, what do we mean?

Kristal Audain:
So it essentially is the word that people Google to find you, that’s at its most basic level. It’s what you want people to know you for. So I’m SEO, I walk around, I want people to know that Kristal is an SEO. If you’re looking for SEO, I want them to find me. That’s the most basic way I can explain it.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. And I think the thing is people worry that it needs to be a single word. So often we talk about a keyword phrase. It’s very unlikely to be a single word. We’re going to talk about that in just a minute. But essentially, what people put into Google to find you, whether they already know about you or they don’t. One of the things I say to people is, the first thing in SEO is for people to find you who already know about you. So people are typing Kristal Audain into Google. But then after that, you want people who want what you do, but don’t know that you do it, and that’s the harder, the heart of it.

Kate Toon:
But it’s pretty easy to be found for who you are, slightly harder to be found for what you do.

Kristal Audain:
Exactly. And you want to be clear with that because there’s so many, and we’ll talk about this as we continue on, but there’s so many things that you could be known for, because I’m a mom, I’m a chocoholic, I’m an SEO, and it’s like, what do I want to be known for today? Or what do I want them to find me for on this thing? So that’s really going to be part of what we talk about. But yeah, definitely, what you Google,I want them to find the thing. 

Kate Toon:
Making that connection.

Kristal Audain:
Exactly.

Kate Toon:
Yeah, making the connection. And people often say SEO is dead, keywords is dead, but at the end of day, all search engines need someone to put something into the engine and then the engine returns the results and the keywords that that… We were just talking then about keyword and keyword phrases. People might’ve heard the expression long tail keywords. Can you expand on what that means?

Kristal Audain:
Sure. So a long tail keyword is that long phrase or if it’s something very specific that you’re looking for. And this is really big right now in voice search. We haven’t gotten to the point of saying the SEO is dead or keywords are dead because Google is not reading minds yet, but we are talking to our phones a lot more these days, we’re talking to our devices, our Alexa’s, our Google Home. I can’t say it too loud because mine will go off. But they’re looking for something very specific. So if I’m looking for a caramel chocolate bar, that’s more of a long tail.

Kristal Audain:
And the more words you have in your keyword, the longer tail it becomes. So a short keyword would be chocolate. As you add more words, it becomes longer and very, more specific, especially if you’re in e-commerce, you want those long tail keywords. You want people to not look for a t-shirt, you want to be known for women’s fitted green t-shirts with a monster on the front. That’s a very specific, super specific keyword, but someone searches that and you have it, you want them to find you.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. I love that. I think the idea is, most of us will have had the experience where we go to Google, we type in one or two words, we don’t get the result we want, and what do we do? We don’t usually scroll to the next page, we add more and more phrases. And as you said, voice search and featured snippets, which we’ve talked about a lot on this podcast, they tend to form more for keyword phrases that are question based, what, when, why, how, where, why. So a question can be a keyword phrase. But I love what you said there about e-commerce. And I think this is what people don’t understand, they think they have to go for that short keyword because that’s got the volume, that’s got the traffic, but of course also it has the competition.

Kate Toon:
And also, the problem is, someone typing in chocolate, we don’t know if they want to buy chocolate, see chocolate, make chocolate, smear chocolate on their nipples, I don’t know.

Kristal Audain:
Can be anything.

Kate Toon:
Yeah, everyone does that, right? But if someone types in, as you said, milk chocolate with nuts, made from the milk of a goat, then you know exactly what they want, fewer people are typing it in, but they’re highly more likely to convert.

Kristal Audain:
I was going to say that.

Kate Toon:
So yeah, love that. Long tail keyword, more phrases. And the other thing that I find, Kristal, is that when people come on my courses and they’re new to SEO, they are obsessed with a couple of phrases. They get hung up on two or three phrases and like, “If we don’t rank for this, we’re doomed.” My partner, who is now my ex partner, not because of this, but I’ll just explain. He always obsessed with ranking for French lessons Sydney. French lessons Sydney, that was it, that was his golden keyword. He would Google that every day, and if he wasn’t in position one or two, he was like, “I’m doomed.”

Kate Toon:
And then I had to show him the report that showed that actually he was ranking for hundreds and hundreds of related phrases. And the issue is that we can’t put all our keywords in one basket, can we?

Kristal Audain:
No, you definitely want to look at more than just that one thing, because you’re not known for one thing. There’s so many different facets of your business of your site, whether you’re a blogger or you’re selling something. Let’s go back to the chocolate, for example, if you’re selling chocolate, you’re selling milk chocolate, you’re selling dark chocolate, you’re sell the chocolate with nuts and chocolate with raisins. And if someone just puts in chocolate, like Kate was saying, it could be anything, but if you are selling four squares of chocolate raisin bars, and you’re the only one known that and you’re the best one for it, you want to show up for that, but you also want to show up for your chocolate with nuts and your chocolate without nuts, and your chocolate with caramel and organic chocolate, all of those-

Kate Toon:
And your chocolate for nipples, we were talking about that.

Kristal Audain:
Because of the chocolate sauce, get the brush comes with that. And they need to know that the brush comes with it. But you do want to show up for everything, you don’t want to just show up for chocolate because those people aren’t going to buy your stuff. But when they are very specific and say, “I want the chocolate with the brush,” then you know that they’re buying from you.

Kate Toon:Yeah, they’re buying from you. Yeah, I love that. And I think it’s one of the things that some dodgy SEOs hook people in on saying, “We can get you to number one for keywords.” But what they haven’t done is made the connection between keyword and conversion, because I could get you to rank for any one thing, so could anybody, but you need to choose keywords that are going to lead to sales. Sometimes it might be informational at that start of the journey top of funnel. Fine, that’s okay. But especially if you’re in the business of selling stuff, e-commerce, you need to pick keywords that are going to make people buy stuff. And as you said, that the more specific they are, the more likely they are to buy.

Kate Toon:
Look, I think we’ve explained what keywords are, we’ve explained the difference between long and short, we’ve explained that you want be known for lots of different things, not just one thing. So let’s talk about the process of choosing your keywords, because I think it’s super overwhelming for most people. So let’s start with the first bit, brainstorming. I always recommend starting with brainstorming, gathering lists of potential keywords, great places to start to look at the tools. We’ve recommended tools ad nauseam on this podcast, but we can recommend some more, there’s lots out there.

Kate Toon:
But see what you already ranked for. Much easier to build on rankings you already have than to start from ground zero, ask your audience, review your competitors’ keywords, use tools like Keyword Shitter, that’s one of my favourites, Ubersuggest.

Kristal Audain:
I love it just because of this.

Kate Toon:
Yeah, it’s just a silly name. Create that seed list. One little tip that I really love, and this is something that I pass on to my students is, on your contact form when you have, how did you find me? Most people will say, “Oh by a Facebook, by Google, by our friend.” Have a little field, if they check Google, you say, “What did you type in to find me?”

Kristal Audain:
I love that.

 

Kate Toon:
Because they only did it a few minutes ago. Yeah, they only searched for you. The problem is, I remember that happening to me very early on when I started my site about 12 years ago and someone put in copywriter for vets. Now, I hadn’t optimised for that, I hadn’t used that phrase on my site, nothing, but I’d written a post about dogs and copywriting and whatever. And because there was no one else really going after copywriting for vets, I was the best result Google could find. So what did I do straight away? I made a page on my site, copywriter for vets. So that can be a really great way. What are some of the ways that you just brainstorm that initial mad list of keywords that you’re going to come up with for a client, Kristal?

Kristal Audain:
I use a couple different tools. I love AnswerThePublic and I love also Ask.com. And I know also Ask.com, they’re going through a revamp right now so I’m down about that because I was putting on all kinds of stuff. And what you do is you literally put in a keyword and they give you all the things that people ask to find that keyword, and it just branches off and you click on one and it takes you to another, it takes you to another. So it really helps you with your people also ask in Google, find out what those questions are, then you answer them. And all of a sudden, you’re starting to rank for that because you have the answer to their question, which is amazing.

Kristal Audain:
I also like to Google, that’s one of my pastimes, so I’m always on there. That’s how it started with this whole thing is because I’d like to Google things. But yeah, Google it. Google what you think, if you were looking for you, what would you type in? And then after you put that in, you’ll see the People Also Ask section, which is like three to five, sometimes seven questions that people also ask about that keyword, and then there’s also related searches. And then you just go down the rabbit hole. Allow yourself to fall into it and just start clicking, and you’ll find yourself somewhere else and you’re like, “Oh my goodness, I have never written about this, but it’s not very much competition, is what I do. And I’ve never thought, like the copywriting for vets, I’ve never thought to write about it, but it’s there.”

Kristal Audain:
Google Trends is also really good for that if you’re just getting started, but fall into rabbit holes, just allow yourself 30 minutes to just click around and see, “What is my competition doing? What are those who wish they were competition’s doing? Who are those that are bidding against my name?” So if you Google your name and you see competitors that pop up because they’re paying to be against you, that means you’re on their radar, let’s figure out what they’re doing and do that. I’m very big on going after the competitors too and seeing what they’re doing. You’ll hear that a lot from me.

Kate Toon:
Yeah, I love that. And I think we underestimate, everyone’s always throwing around tools, get this tool, get that tool. But the benefit of just being in the platform itself and Googling and seeing how it responds. And obviously, if you’re looking at your own site, make sure you go incognito just to try and strip away some of that personalization. But I love the rabbit hole. I think you’re very ambitious though when you said 30 minutes, because I know that you can lose days and days the keyword research.

Kristal Audain:
I have. I have to dig myself out of the rabbit holes, I don’t go to far because I’m also the person, and I tell this a lot too, like anybody I’m working with, I click on page four and five. Most people don’t go past page one.

Kate Toon:
Oh, I click the last result. I’m like, “What’s there? What’s there?”

Kristal Audain:Exac
tly. Because that’s where you find the gold mine of, “I could be doing this and I’m not.” Sometimes you end up down there, but it just gives you ideas upon ideas, upon ideas. So yeah, I have to dig myself out sometimes because I’ll get too far lost and I’m like, “Wait, where did I start?”

Kate Toon:
Yeah. “What am I doing again? What am I doing?”

Kristal Audain:
Exactly. “Why am I reading this article?”

Kate Toon:
Yeah, like giraffes, pregnant giraffes. I always find it’s interesting when you Google yourself and go to the end of the results and see what’s there, it’s sometimes a little bit terrifying. I found somebody that had written really, really nasty article about me, it was amusing. Anyway. So we’ve got our giant list, and we’re going to say at the beginning that no ideas about idea, write it down. One of the things I think is important though is to be aware of industry bias and your idea of what your business is versus what your customer’s idea is. Classic example I always use is that copywriters are always trying to rank for the word copywriter, but normal business owner, Bob, the baker, Tim, the tradie, isn’t looking for a copywriter, he’s looking for a writer for a website.

Kate Toon:
We call ourselves that, but what we’re perceived as, so being aware of industry bias, no ideas about idea, do some Googling, use Ask.com, use AnswerThePublic, Ubersuggest, review your competitors, review what you rank for, ask your customers, blah, blah, blah. Okay. We’ve got a monster list. Now we have to start narrowing it down. What is the first thing you look at when you’ve got your giant list and you’re like, “Okay, I’ve got questions, I’ve got short keywords, I’ve got long ones.” How do you first start narrowing it down?

Kristal Audain:
I like that you mentioned earlier that there’s some fly by nights SEO, SEOs that will say, “I’ll get you ranked for anything.” You’re going to have a whole tonne of stuff that you can rank for that has nothing to do with what you do. You need to just eliminate that stuff. Like if I’m selling chocolate, cocoa beans are going to come up on my list because chocolate comes from cocoa, but I’m not selling anything to do with cocoa beans. I don’t need to educate how the farmers go and pick it from the Amazon and then process it because I want you to eat chocolate, I want you to crave what I’m selling and buy it. So I’m not going down that rabbit hole, that’s not my business.

Kristal Audain:
So you want to look at what you’re known for and you want to look at what the consumer would type in. If I’m craving chocolate, I’m not going to put in, “80% cacao with 10% white chocolate,” that’s way too technical. I’m going to look at the creamiest chocolate bar in the UK or the creamiest chocolate bar in Virginia, or how can I get it quickly? What can I get in an hour because I want it now? So you want to look at that entire set of keywords and then look at, “Okay, if I were looking for me, these are the top things that I would really type in to find me.” And look at those things that you may not have realised before and put those in their own lists.

Kristal Audain:
Don’t completely delete the other ones because they may come in handy later, but then start to look at, “This is my niche. This is who my customers are.” Remember your audience because it’s going to look a lot different if a 70-year-old woman is Googling you versus a 15-year-old teenager, just because the language is different, how they think about things are different. So remember your target audience in all of this, because you want to look at the words that they are going to type in. When my company I work for my nine-to-five, our target audience is a 75-year-old woman.

Kristal Audain:
And so how we write is for, we call her Ethel. But we put in our keywords for Ms. Ethel because she’s not going to know all the technical vernacular for all of this stuff, she’s going to type in, “My basement’s flooded, how do I fix it?” I need to answer that question. So also always remember that.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. I think that’s really good. So try and narrow it down to things that are relevant, think about your audiences. One thing that I do is I really try and narrow it down into lists of intent. So I highlight all the keywords in my list that have conversion intent, that can relate to products and things that people are going to buy. And then I try and tag all the other keywords that are more informational intent, like questions, how a cocoa bean’s made. You could still do that, but it’s not going to lead to a sale. And then all of those informational intent keywords can be popped into blog post ideas, potentially.

Kristal Audain:
Exactly.

Kate Toon:
And then investigational intent, which chocolate is the best chocolate or is white chocolate nicer than dark chocolate? Again, that can go into blog posts. And then navigational intent. People who literally want to find company terms and conditions and things like that. So really trying to highlight all the ones that you think will lead to a sale because they are your most important ones, as you’ve said, the specific ones. Then we’re going to talk about grouping them together in a minute.

Kate Toon:
Let’s say that we’ve eliminated for now all the informational and all the investigational intent keywords, and we’re left with a really good solid list of conversion keywords that are relevant to us. How do we then go, “Which one do we choose?” How do we go to the next one? What are the factors you look at when determining whether to choose that particular keyword?

Kristal Audain:
So you definitely want to look at how popular it is. You want to look at some things people just don’t Google. The hard part, you have to be honest with yourself, is that the keyword you thought was so popular and everyone was going to look for you may not be something that people look at. So using some of these tools, they’ll tell you the volume, how many people search that keyword in a month. And you want to look at the ones that you have actual traffic coming to that site, people actually Googling that and looking for those things.

Kristal Audain:
This is especially important when you look at your short tail versus long tail. The longer you get in a keyword, the less volume it probably is going to have, because if it’s super, super, super specific, you may only have 10 people in a month looking for a Komodo dragon shirt in lime green with a blue hat. You may have it on your site, but don’t think it’s going to get up on a traffic just because you put it out there. Now, when that person Googles it, your conversion rate is going to be high, but you also want to look at those keywords that they’re going to get higher traffic, even though they may be more competitive so that you have this diversity. And when you’re looking at choosing them, be very diverse, have short tail, have medium length, have long tail keywords so that you’re getting traffic from all parts of the funnel.

Kristal Audain:
You want that high funnel traffic that they’re just doing their research, they’re looking to figure out what’s out there, but you also want that in the funnel traffic where they’re ready to push the button and convert. And you want that medium where they’re trying to make a decision. And that’s where it’s very important for you in your writing and in your marketing to say, “Okay, I have to be the one that answers the question so they stay on my site.” Make it sticky in that medium range so that they continue on your site to become a customer.

Kristal Audain:You also wa
nt to look at clickthrough rate. So you want to look at how many people are actually clicking through on those keywords, because there’s some may show up and they’ve just never clicked through. There’s so many sites that rank for number one in a specific keyword and have a terrible clickthrough rate because their descriptions are off, their pages are off, and they’re going to lose that ranking at some point, especially if you come in and realise that and then just take it from them. So look at what your competition is doing right, but also what they’re doing wrong, and capitalise on that when you’re writing.

Kristal Audain:
And then also the position zeros, which is everyone’s favourite because ranking for number one is so last year. It’s 2019, it’s not even 2020, it’s so 2019, because there’s so many things above the number one point, it’s like you have your featured snippets where they take a piece of your site and they’re like telling you all about it. Then you have your people also ask where they’re asking other questions. And if you’re answering those questions, you show for those. There’s videos. If you have video content, they’ll actually put your YouTube video on there.

Kristal Audain:
Now there’s YouTube SEO, where they’ll actually cut that part of your video out and show you that part, that’s the answer. There’s all your images. There’s so many different positions zeros that you want to rank for. So you have to pay attention to what’s above that number one and try to rank for those as well, because that’ll get you national attention and your site goes crazy on this one page and be like, “What’s happened?” in your discovery and your Google search console, and it’s that one page that got the featured snippet and it’s in everybody’s feed, and you’re like, “Yes, I’m now on top of the world,” just because of that one thing. 

Kate Toon:
And that’s it. That one page can lift up a whole site. One thing that does well can actually give the whole site a boost as well. I love that. So volume, we’re going to look at first, but we’re not always just going to go after the high volume keywords because specificity leads to conversion. Competition, we’re going to see who’s out there, but we’re also going to look at what they’re doing. And sometimes Google gives the top spot just because it hasn’t got anything better to offer. So just because they’re ranking for it doesn’t mean they should be.

Kate Toon:
We’re going to look at clickthrough rate and see, does that keyword generate a lot of clicks because they’re not clicking, they’re not going to buy, but also just because another site has that position, have they done a great job of that title tag, their meta-description? And then I love it, the ranking for position one is so last year. We need that on Twitter, Kristal. Looking at opportunities for featured snippet, featured video, featured lists, all that good stuff. I love it. I love it. But what I love most about what you said there was you need to take a diverse approach.

Kate Toon:
So you have to go after some of those high volume, high competition keywords, use your power pages, your home pages, your main navigation pages, really push for those. You have to go after the low hanging fruit, the people who are right at the top of the funnel who are just asking some random question. Be there for Ethel in the middle of the night when Ethel plumbing is gone, and then she’ll remember you the next day or the next month, when she actually needs to hire a plumber. I love all of that, fantastic. Volume, competition, clickthrough rate, features and diversity.

Kate Toon:
So we’ve looked at that and we’ve pulled together keywords that we think are right, and then we need to group them together because as you mentioned, the days of going a single keyword for a single page are gone. And what we want to do is write rich content that has maybe a focus keywords, but then lots of synonyms on that page. A big myth with keyword research for the newbies is that you need a piece of content for every single keyword you want to rank for. No, you need to group them together into little gangs.

Kate Toon:
I like to think of it as like having a Viking warrior leader and then the little Viking tribe behind them. So you’ve got goats milk, chocolate, then chocolate with goats milk, you don’t need a separate page for it. You put them on the same page. So how do you decide who is your Ragnar, your leader of the Viking tribe and who is just in the tribe? How do you decide what your focus keyword is going to be?

Kristal Audain:
In looking at, especially when you did these, the massive list, you’re going to realise that some of them are like keywords. They’re going to be saying the same thing. I think one of the classic SEO jokes is, a guy walks into a bar, a pub, a restaurant and it has like all of these symptoms for the same thing, because we as SEOs, we try to put all of that stuff in to make sure that we’re hitting everything that our user would look for a score, because chocolate can be a taco bar, it could be a Snicker’s bar, it could be a Hershey bar, and they’re not looking for a Hershey bar, but this is what they call it in their area.

Kristal Audain:
So you want to make sure that you take all those things and you put them together, and then you look at the one that is the closest to what you are selling, the one that is like your golden child. And then you look at all the other ones that are kind of similar, not quite it, and those become your army, your Viking army behind that master keyword. And so you’re putting that in your content. And like I said, you don’t have to have a page for the chocolate bar, a page for the Hershey bar, a page for the actual chocolate bar.

Kristal Audain:
You can put those all in and it can even be a joke on the page that you’re like talking about your competition or something that they don’t do right, but you’re putting that keyword so that you’re ranking for it. And the other thing, this is a big thing, make sure that it sounds natural. You don’t want to go and put it on there, “And this, we sell chocolate with goat’s milk, goat’s milk chocolate, chocolate that has goat milk infused in it.” That makes no sense to anyone. And as the bots are reading it they’re going to go, “This is stupid, a human would never read this, so why would I give this to my audience?”

Kristal Audain:
Because you have to think, everyone who Googles, they are Google’s audience, they’re Google’s customer. And if Google is putting out junk, they’re like, “I don’t want to use this, it makes no sense for me.” So the reason why they’re going to rank you, it’s because you’re providing their customers with what they’re looking for and the best way they can. So if you provide their customers with exactly what they need and is natural and it’s flowing and it’s fun, then they’re going to reward you and bring you up in the rankings.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. It’s so true. And I think that kind of keyword stuffing it’s like, “Oh, are you looking for a window cleaner in Sydney? We’re in Sydney and we clean windows.” What happens unfortunately is that sometimes for a brief time can give you a momentary boost, but the problem is that people visit that page and it’s clearly written for bots and people don’t enjoy that page, they don’t convert off that page, they don’t stay on that page, they don’t engage with that page.

Kate Toon:
So what they do is they pogo straight back to the search results and they look again, and Google sees this. It sees, “Well, we put this in position one, but no one’s staying on that page very long, so we’re going to slowly de-rank it.” And this is a big myth with copywriters. A lot of copywriters say to me, “I don’t want to do SEO copy because I don’t want to ruin my copywriting. I’m writing conversion copy, and SEO is going to ruin that.” Absolutely not. They can live together in beautiful harmony and be absolutely fine.

Kate Toon:
You can write great conversion copy because the way that we use these keywords, we’re not going to go into keywords, SEO copywriting today on the pod, I’ll do another episode about that. And we cover that extensively in my Nibbles Challenge, and also in the 10-Day Challenge. But the way that you use these keywords once you’ve chosen them is you don’t shove them into every nook and cranny, as Kristal said, you use them naturally, they flow. All you’re trying to do is give your page some focus and make it clear what it’s really about. So I love that.

Kate Toon:
And we’ve talked about some myths there. So number one myth is actually that you can’t write good conversion copy that’s SEO. It’s a myth, but let’s talk about a few more myths. Okay, Kristal, we’re going to go into myth busting mode. I should have a sound effect now like, the myth buster. Myth number one, if you want to rank for a keyword, you should use it on every page. Bust that myth, Kristal.

Kristal Audain:
You should not use them on every page. One, every page is not about that keyword, and you don’t want it to show up like it, that makes no sense. Your page is your bot representation of your human sales. So if you walk into a shop and you’re looking for a caramel bar and it is no chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, you would go, “Stop saying chocolate. I’m looking for chocolate caramel almonds, but you just keep saying chocolate. It makes no sense to me. Stop it.”

Kristal Audain:
That’s what you’re doing when you put that one single keyword on every page and your readers are going to go, “I just want what I’m looking for, please give me what I’m looking for.” So don’t put that one keyword on every page, make the page what it’s about. You want that page to rank for what is really is about so when people look or they click on it, they’re getting what it’s about. And then you’re going to cannibalise yourself because you have all these pages on the site talking about chocolate, your privacy page has nothing to do with chocolate.

Kristal Audain:

Your t-shirt page may have chocolate t-shirts, but you want it to be about t-shirts not chocolate. So make sure that you’re actually putting what your page is about and not just that one, because then Google is looking at this whole site and they go, “Okay, this entire site’s about chocolate. I’m going to choose the one page that I think that they should have about chocolate and it’s not going to be the one you want. I guarantee you, 100% of the time, it will be some random page you’re like, “Why is this the one that’s ranking?” Because you put the keyword on every page and Google was forced to choose it. So we want to tell Google what to do, not have Google choose for us.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. That keyword cannibalization thing. Google comes to your site, 16 pages, all optimised for the same thing, it doesn’t know which one to pick. And it may not pick any of your pages, it may go with a competitor who has optimised their page better. I think it’s important to explain that. This more is an issue when you try and optimise every page for a longer tail keyword. So obviously, I’m a copywriter, I’m going to use the word copywriter on every single page. Not because I’m trying to optimise for it because it’s what I do, it’s who I am. I can’t help using that single word.

Kate Toon:
But if for example I was a financial services copywriter for websites and every single title tag had that in, and every single H1, that would be an issue. So don’t worry about using one-word phrases because you’re just naturally talking about the thing that you do, it’s more of that long tail thing that matters there as well. So let’s bust another myth. Now, we’re not talking about local SEO today, we did a great episode with Ben Fisher.

Kate Toon:
One of the myths I hear most online is that if you want to rank for near me searches, so when someone types in coffee shop near me, garage near me, you have to literally use the word near me throughout your site, in your title tag, otherwise you won’t rank for it. So Kristal, bust that myth.

Kristal Audain:
All right. For this, I definitely recommend you listen to Ben’s podcast with Kate because it was amazing and I love local SEO. That’s one of my other passions, but understanding Google My Business will help you understand why you don’t need to put near me in every search. Google has this little thing that is very new technology called GPS, and they know where you are, they know where you’re searching from, and from your IP address, they know the places you’ve been. So when you are looking for a chocolate shop, if you’re looking for a copywriter, they know where you’re sitting.

Kristal Audain:
So they’re going to look what cities you have on your page, what areas you’ve described, where you say you’re located. On your About Me page, you have to be very specific that you’re located in this country, in this city, in this area. Talk about the city, talk about what’s exciting about it. And then they’ll say, “Oh, you’re expert of that thing in this area.” So then when someone in your area looks for you, then they go, “Oh, I know a great hairstylist in this area that I can show to you because I can see that you’re sitting here.”

Kristal Audain:
So all of that works together. So once you understand that they know where you are and you can optimise for you being in the area, near me goes away. I’ve seen it also on pages that people still use keywords like the meta keywords put in near me, you don’t have to do that, they know where you are. Google knows everything.

Kate Toon:
I love that. Yeah. Google knows everything. It’s a great explanation. I think almost if in your head you imagine, take the word near me away and just put the name of your town there. They know where you physically are, the near me just flags a location search, just flags a local search and they go, “Okay, this person is looking for someone in their local area. Fantastic.” And then it does exactly what you said, goes through a little library of people and goes, “Oh, I know this great hairdresser that’s the person I’m going to pick from all the content that they produced.” I love it.

Kate Toon:
We could do more myths, but I wanted to quickly talk about keyword research tools. And while Kristal is mentioning these, I’m going to be typing them into the show notes. So at the end of this, if you’ve missed any of the tools that we mentioned in the show today, you’ll find them all in the show notes on the episode. So Kristal, what are some of your favourite keyword research tools?

Kristal Audain:
My favourite tool is SEMrush. I am SEMrush fan. Happened since I became an SEO. It’s super easy to use to me. They have a free version if you’re not willing to do the paid version. I use the paid because I do SEO all day long and every company I work for, always has it. So SEMrush definitely is a great one. It shows you the traffic, it shows you your clickthrough rates, it shows you competitors. You can put competitors in there and see what they’re ranking for. I also like to use Conductor, they have a free Chrome extension now that they are allowing everyone to use.

Kristal Audain:
This is brand new, it’s about two months ago. And on each page, you can actually see everyone’s title tag, their meta-description, what the high volume keywords are on that page. It also shows like technical SEO and all tags, all kinds of stuff. But it’s really cool because you can go to your site or your competitive site and see what they have. SEO Pro by Kristina Azarenko is also amazing. Another free tool that shows you that, it’s a Chrome extension. Kristina was amazing to put this together and she keeps adding to it. So definitely recommend downloading that.

Kristal Audain:
I also for the grouping seranking.com has a grouper tool that you can use to group all your keywords together. And then I mentioned earlier, answerthepublic.com, and also ask.com, amazing to use, to just put in those keywords and see all the questions that people are asking. Fall down that rabbit hole of clicking through like all those questions. You’re talking not five or 10, hundreds of questions on each page and it branches them out. I also recommend Google Trends if you don’t know where to get started, if you’re just like, “What’s happening? I don’t know where to start.”

Kristal Audain:
Type in a word, look on Google Trends, see, are people even searching for this? Do they care about this? And that’ll give you some related searches. And then my favourite tool of all times is just Google. Go to Google, type in some things, look at it. That’s what you’re trying to rank on, so use it, use it to your benefit.

Kate Toon:
I love it. Well, I was frantically gathering those tools. I love the SEO grouping tool. That’s a new one to me. So thank you for sharing that one. And they’ve got 20% discount going at the moment while we’re recording this. So hopefully that’s still there when you’re listening. But I love what you said at the end of the day, and the tool that I ended up using the most for my keyword research is both Google Search Console, looking at what I’m already ranking for, what’s doing well, what can I improve on. My little contact form trick serves me very well to this day.

Kristal Audain:
I love that. I’ve forgotten that, but I love that idea.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. You can have tool, trick. I love it. I’ll tell you a grouping too, so you can take my contact one. There we go. And just Googling. Google, Google, Google. So look, if anybody has been emboldened by this episode and is thinking, “Okay, well, I feel ready. I can go off and do my brainstorm. I’m more confident about the fact that I need to use diversity in my keywords, I need to think about volume, but most of all, I need to think about specificity, conversion,” can you leave our audience with one keyword research tip or keyword tip before we finish up the episode? 

Kristal Audain:
Yeah. My number one tip would be to remember your audience and the reason why you’re doing what you’re doing. Keyword research is nothing if you’re not trying to get to the end goal of actually selling your product, for getting your message out there. So keep that in mind. There’s so many different things we can do, so many different ways we can look at things, but the ultimate goal is your ultimate goal. Keep that in mind as you’re looking at all of this, and if you did not have the internet, if you did not have a website, if you were face-to-face with someone, how would you talk to them? Use that to start, use that all the way through and be true to your purpose.

Kate Toon:
I love that. Oh, that’s quite inspiring. We might have to take that as the quote to the episode. It’s so true though. And one of the most frustrating things about keyword research, one of the things that I do to try and narrow down the overwhelm is I try and think about it page by page, product by product, blog post by blog post. It’s great to come up with this giant seed list and try and optimise every single page. But I try to, I’m writing this page today, what would someone type in to find this page? And that really helps me just narrow down the overwhelm.

Kate Toon:
And often Kristal, what I find is I write down a little brainstorm of keywords for that page. I go away and do all the research, look at all the stats, look at all the competitions, I Google. And then I come back and the list I started with is the list I end up with. So a lot of it is common sense. If you know your products and you know your audience, a lot of it is common sense at the end of the day. Remember your audience people. Well, Kristal, it was lovely to talk to you today. Thank you.

Kristal Audain:
No one knows your business better than you.

Kate Toon:
No one knows your business better than you. So true. Thank you for joining us today. I’m going to include links to all your bits and bobs online, but where can people find out more about you and the work that you do? 

Kristal Audain:
You can find me on Twitter @seokristal, as K-R-I-S-T-A-L, or you can find me on LinkedIn at Kristal Audain. And also you can check me out at sitemarketingpro.com.

Kate Toon:
Fantastic. Well, I think a lot of SEOs weirdly are still obsessed with Twitter. So that’s where Kristal and I connected. So Kristal, thank you so much for taking time to join us today. It’s been lovely talking to you.

Kristal Audain:
Same here, Kate. Thank you for having me. This has been fun. 

Kate Toon:
Yay. That’s the end of this week’s show. If you have questions about keyword research, then please come along to the I Love SEO group on Facebook. I answer questions there every day, every other day, and I’m more than happy to help you too. I like to end the show with a shout to one of my lovely listeners. And today it’s someone from the US, hurray, San Telmo Loft. Thank you for your review. They say, “User friendly, but not dial down SEO gold. I’ve shared episodes of this podcast with prospective clients to help them understand that it takes time or that we need a content strategy.”

Kate Toon:
“And I choose this podcast to share because rather than the zillions of others, because if they keep listening, they will be a better client. They may even be able to turn the amount of SEO they need for their small business from turning in. And that would be amazing because let’s face it, most small businesses don’t have the budget, but if they do need to get help, it’s going to be much easier to tell them why content is what they should focus on first, and that you must have a content creator that keeps SEO in mind. That is the magic sauce.”

Kate Toon:
I just love the idea that this podcast has been shared to help people become better clients for SEO agencies, because that’s the goal, not just DIY. I think people underestimate how hard SEO is, and I feel like SEO agencies and freelancers have such a bad rap and we don’t deserve it. Anyway, thanks San Telmo Loft from the United States, and thanks to you for listening. If you did like the show, please leave us a five-star rating and review on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you heard us.

Kate Toon:
You can go to the show notes for this episode to get a list of all the tools that Kristal mentioned and check out the useful links and read the transcript if you’ve had trouble understanding my terrible accent, you can go there and read a full transcript of the show. And of course, don’t forget to check out my other show, The Kate Toon Show. It’s all about life as a misfit entrepreneur. But hey, until next time, stay safe. Don’t lick anybody and happy SEO-ing.