Beginners Keyword Research Tip: Manual Keyword Research
First thing first, No tool is 100% accurate regarding the competition. Google’s algorithm is getting extremely complex day by day, so it’s nearly impossible for any tool to give you an accurate answer. So don’t blindly trust any tools regarding competition and invest in that keyword later to find out you just can’t rank on that page. Once you find a good keyword using a tool, do some manual research on the keyword to make sure its worth your investment.
As a beginning, You should check the following things at least:
The keyword intent should match the web-page/blog content. If a keyword intent is to purchase something and your site is a blog, Google won’t let you rank on it.
It will always prefer an e-commerce site over a content site and vice versa because for Google your blog is not relevant for a purchase.
So for example: If your keyword is “iPhone XS Max” think who are the people searching for this keyword. It is probably someone who wants to buy this phone, right? Similarly if the keyword is iPhone XS Max Reviews, the intent is to look for a review of this product and in this case, Google will prefer content sites over an e-commerce site.
When doing keyword research, you will be finding a lot of keywords like “iPhone XS Max” (Buyer Intent) that have low competition. The reason they have low competition is that e-commerce stores have 1000s of pages, think of Amazon, 100,000s of pages if not millions, now Amazon can’t go and make backlinks for each of these pages right? These pages are only ranking because of their domain authority in most cases. So best practice is, if you have a content site or a blog, avoid such keywords.
FYI: You could easily turn it into a content intended keyword by adding “Best” before the keyword etc.
ANALYZE THE SERP
Once you have a list of keywords, see what type of sites are ranking for that keyword. If you find sites like Quora or any other such q/a site ranking, you can easily outrank them.
If you see that the top 3-4 ranking sites are big authority sites and the ones below are small sites that you can outrank, then take into consideration the keyword traffic. If its a low traffic keyword i.e less than 500 traffic, then the keyword may not be worth the investment because the first few positions are taken by the authority sites, its difficult for you to outrank them and if you are ranking on position 6-7 for a keyword with such low traffic, you may not get much traffic and it would be better for you to invest in another keyword where you have a chance to perform better.
Check the page authority of the ranking sites, if you find a site that has very low PA and few to none links, in that case, that page is ranking because of its DA, and you have a good chance at outranking them if you get some backlinks for that page. The Mozbar chrome extension makes this easier.
Also see the SERP, if the keyword has low traffic and the SERP has a featured snippet, the people also ask box, it has ads, there is the video section, and then 1-2 authority sites on top, in that case its pretty much useless to rank on such keyword (Assuming its a low traffic keyword)
INSPECTING CONTENT & ON-PAGE SEO OPTIMIZATION OF RANKING PAGES
After analyzing the SERP, you should check the on-page SEO of each of the ranking page. To out-rank them you have to be better than them, its not about luck. Check their number of words, images, internal linking, external links, keyword density, keyword in title/URL/H2 tags, Keyword in the metadata.
Check their content. Is it fresh and up-to-date? Etc
Analyzing the SERP is probably the most underutilized tool for creating a keyword list.
There are other things also to check as well but these are mostly the main ones.
Bonus Information: Some of the tools you can use,
Use SEO Quake and Keywords Everywhere, every time you do research.
Ahrefs & KWFinder for keyword research.
Ahrefs makes the SERP Analysis easier as you can do that in the tool. If you are just going to use free tools only, We would suggest looking into Ubersuggest, We have found that its almost accurate by comparing its results with KWFinders. It’s not as accurate as KWFinder though, but it gives you a good guess and can point you in the right direction.
We would recommend you do sign up for Kwfinder free trial, it gives you 5 searches per day. Do your thorough research on Ubersuggest, when you find a keyword that has low competition and good traffic, put it in kwfinder and confirm it there.
If the SERP first page has just a youtube video is competition difficult? Can we outrank with an article in this case?
If all the search results are videos there is a good chance you can rank on it. One of the main reason for that is google likes to diversify the search results, so if you have good on-page and some backlinks you might be able to rank on it. But again it depends on keyword as-well, you have to think as Google, see what the people are asking for.
For example, Its found this keyword “WWE royal rumble youtube“. This keyword has all search results from youtube and that makes sense because the searcher wants a youtube video as his search result but if the keyword is “WWE royal rumble” and if the search results are all from YouTube, then there is a high chance that you can rank.