Keyword Research

Last Updated: Mon May 16 2022

When people talk about SEO, the first thing they talk about are keywords.

Here’s what you need to know.

Note: as you go along, take note of the highlighted, bolded words. These will be the core concepts you should pay the most attention to. We’ll bring it all together to align it with your growth strategy.

In short, keywords are the words and sentences that your customers are entering into search engines to find your product. But there’s a little bit more to it than that.

Keywords have a few characteristics. The first is based on it’s length:

Short-tail Keywords: these tend to be shorter sentences (1-2 words) that generally cover a topic, but aren’t highly specific.

Long-tail Keywords: these tend to be longer sentences (3+ words) which are more specific to what a user is searching for.

Generally speaking, short-tail keywords are a bit harder to rank for in that they are less specific so more websites and pages are targetting them. For long-tail keywords, since they are longer and more specific, there are less websites and pages targetting long-tail keywords.

To move the needle in your SEO journey, you want to target as many long-tail keywords that are relevant to your business as possible

The reason for this is because of the lower number of competitors ranking for those long-tail keywords.

Let’s say there are 10 long-tail keywords you can go after, but they have a search volume of about 10-20 each.

A group of content around those 10 long-tail keywords can amount to 100-200 visitors per month. That’s pretty good when you’re getting started.

On top of that, you’ll start to see the keywords your pages are ranking for, which will allow you to iterate on your growth using Google Search Console.

Next up, let’s talk about Keyword Intent.

Sometimes also referred to as user intent, keyword intent is the purpose behind the user’s search query. They can be:

Informational

Users searching for “How to…”, “What is…”, “Why does a…”.

Their intent is to learn more about a topic. The informational keywords you should focus on are the “How To” keywords.

Navigational

Users already know about your brand and are trying to find specific pages. Not really a type of keyword to focus on, but good for you to know that it exists, since it means your website is structured properly.

Commercial

Users are entering keywords such as “Buy…”, “Deals…” etc.

Since the audience of this course are bootstrapped SaaS founders, these keywords might not apply, since users don’t really look for the “Buy” page, until after they use your free trial or know who you are.

And finally, the last, and what I think is the most important keyword type:

Product Defining Keywords

These are the keywords that best describe your product.

Why is it important to know these keywords for your business?

Because it’s what the average user is entering into Google to try and find your product.

Now, let me give you more examples with one of my products, Vocalmatic.

Technically speaking, Vocalmatic is transcription software. More specifically, it’s automatic transcription software.

But unless you were already in the industry, you wouldn’t know what the heck transcription is.

So what are typical users entering into Google to find this product?

They are entering:

“audio to text converter”

“video to text converter”

“convert video to subtitles”

“automatic subtitling software”

“automatic captioning software”

and so on.

💡 These keywords were ones that made the most sense in the head of the users

That’s the most important part.

Here’s another example.

Let’s say you’re the founder of a social media post scheduling software.

One product defining keyword could be "Automated Tweet Scheduler", and another one could be "Social media post planner".

Product defining keywords are really powerful and should be incorporated into your website!

Brand Keyword

This is simply the name of your product. Your brand name. When people search this on Google, they expect to see your product’s URL right at the top.

When we talk about distribution strategies, we’ll go over how to incorporate your Brand Keyword into your overall SEO strategy.

Discovering Keywords with Free Tools

Now that you know what type of keywords to search for, you need to find more information on your keywords.

As a recap, we’re now on the hunt for Long-Tail Keywords, Informational Keywords, and Product Defining Keywords.

When getting started, you don’t need to spend money on expensive SEO software. There are plenty of free tools out there that you can use.

I’ll summarize the tools you can use here.

Google Auto-Complete

Look no further than Google’s search box itself for keyword inspiration. You can trust these because the auto-complete is based on what other people have been searching for.

The only downside to using Google Auto-Complete is that it doesn’t give you search volume data, so you won’t get an idea of how many searches per month are happening for the keywords you discover using this method.

What this method will give you, however, is what Google thinks people want to find when searching. That’s valuable in itself.

What I like to do is take these keywords and put them into Google Ads Keyword Tool. It will give you a general idea of how many people might be searching for that specific term.

It’s only until you build a page, get it indexed, and check search volume on Google Search Console that you will find out how many people are visiting your website based on that keyword.

Google Ads Keyword Tool

Another tool you can use is the Google Ads Keyword tool.

In here, you’ll know a little more accurate numbers when it comes to search volume. That’s because it’s direct data coming from Google for their ads.

As mentioned before, pair this with using the auto-complete tool on Google and you’ll start to get a better picture of what your search volume is going to look like.

AnswerThePublic

There is a website called AnswerThePublic where you can enter a keyword and find out all the question-type keywords are out there that people are searching for.

This is super helpful for finding Informational keywords around your product.

The types of keywords you want to spot are the “How To” keywords. These are queries where the user wants to learn how to do a particular thing.

Where you come in is answering specifically that query in a blogpost or video and plugging your product in the process.

If you can answer their “How To” question with your product, you’re going to be that much closer to getting a new user!

I’ll go into this a bit more in Content & Media Creation

Your Strategy

In your list of keywords, what you should have is a healthy mix of:

Informational keywords that explain “How To” do the thing your SaaS product is supposed to do.

Product Defining Keywords that covers all the ways your potential user might search for your product on search engines

And finally, long-tail keywords which have less competition for it.

The goal with these types of keywords is the intent behind them, and to position your product where your potential users are searching for you.

Your keywords will be the building blocks of your overall SEO strategy.

In Summary

At the start of your journey, you should have a baseline of keywords that you want to target. Ideally, your keywords cover bottom of funnel searches, such as questions and how-to’s.

With this foundation set, the real growth happens in the later stages. That’s when you will start to discover the other actual keywords that your users are searching for on Google. More on that in the coming sections.

The goal of this section was to set you up to be able to find those keyworks so you can begin building towards what your end user is looking for.