Keyword Analysis: 4 Steps to Complete When Evaluating Keywords to Utilize for SEO Content

You’ve completed your Google keyword research

You’re ready to start creating content to grow your business. Or you want to creatively utilize keywords in your Google My Business page.

But your keyword list is long. 

You may be asking yourself things like: 

  • Where do I start? 
  • Which keywords will be the most beneficial? 
  • Which phrases will drive the most organic traffic? 
  • Which ones will boost my online presence for local SEO? 

There’s an important step between completing keyword research and creating content—keyword analysis.

And we’re here to show you how it’s done.

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Contents

SEO Keyword Analysis: What is it?

Keyword analysis is the process of reviewing each of your keywords for several ranking factors, including: 

  1. Volume
  2. Traffic
  3. Competition
    • Numerized value
    • Backlink value
    • Content value

Keyword analysis becomes SEO keyword analysis when you apply your findings to develop a structured plan (like a content calendar) to generate content meant to drive traffic—both online and in-person.

We’ll review each of the keyword ranking analysis factors listed above a little later. 

But first, it’s important to understand why keyword analysis is so important for SEO.

Why is Keyword Analysis Crucial for SEO Results?

The simple answer to this question is: without keyword analysis, you’re going in blind. 

You may create fantastic value-adding content…that no one reads. Because Google users are not searching for it.

By performing keyword analysis, you will understand which keywords and phrases on your list are the most beneficial. 

In other words, you’re determining which keywords are the “low hanging fruit” and have a greater chance of producing results in the shortest amount of time. 

Then, you can create content around those keywords first—or optimize your existing content by adding your most advantageous keywords.

To demonstrate the importance of keyword analysis, let’s take a look at one of Portland SEO Growth’s clients—Power Wizard.

When we started working with Power Wizard, they were only ranking for seven keywords and generating zero sales from organic traffic.

We completed a comprehensive keyword analysis project and began generating content based on the findings of our analysis.

The results?

In less than six months, Power Wizard was ranking for 192 keywords and generating five sales per day from organic traffic.

Our success with Power Wizard involved prioritizing keywords that would make the most impact—which would have been impossible without keyword analysis.

Website Keyword Analysis: Where do You Currently Stand?

Using a google keyword analysis tool (we’ll review the best keyword analysis tools shortly) you can perform an on-site keyword analysis for your website to determine where you currently stand.

What does this mean?

It’s important to know what, if any, keywords you’re currently ranking for in Google. This knowledge will help you: 

  1. Monitor/track your SEO progress
  2. Determine which words and phrases are already leading Google users to your website
  3. Identify important areas for improvement
  4. Evaluate your competition (more on this later)

To provide a visualization, let’s return to our client, Power Wizard. By searching Power Wizard’s domain in a popular keyword analysis tool called SEMrush, we see the following:  

We can expand the list to see every keyword that is—and isn’t—driving traffic to Power Wizard’s website. 

Applying this type of analysis to your own website is essential. 

It will give you the best start possible when choosing which keywords to incorporate into your content and to optimize your Google My Business page.

Keyword analysis can be time-consuming…and we haven’t even moved beyond taking a look at how your website is already performing. 

If this process already seems daunting, Portland SEO Growth can help. We even start with a free SEO Audit to holistically analyze your entire online presence.

How to Analyze Keywords in 4 Steps

Once you have analyzed your website to determine which keywords are already performing well, it’s time to start analyzing each and every keyword you have compiled.

How?

Follow the four steps we outline in detail  below:

  1. Use a keyword analysis tool
  2. Examine three key metrics using your analysis tool of choice
  3. Review backlinks for the top-ranking sites associated with the keyword
  4. Examine the competing content

To illustrate these steps, let’s say you own a boutique coffee roastery and you think “organic coffee farm” might be a great keyword to cover in a blog post on your website. 

We’ll start our keyword analysis with the obvious—step #1.

Step #1: Utilize a Keyword Analysis Tool

Using a keyword analysis tool is an important part of this process. It helps you take the guesswork out of prioritizing your keyword list.

Without a keyword analysis tool, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to complete steps two and three of this process.

There are several tools available online. The best keyword analysis tool for you will depend on your budget—some tools are free while others require a paid account.

Here is a list of our most commonly used keyword analysis tools:

For our four-step analysis of “organic coffee farm,” we are going to use SEMrush. This is what the overview of a keyword looks like in the SEMrush dashboard:

Let’s dive into some of the metrics displayed on SEMrush’s dashboard in the following steps.

Step #2: Look at the Specifics of the Keyword Search Analysis Provided by Your Chosen Tool

Keyword analysis tools can provide you with a ton of information. These metrics can be daunting to navigate if you’re new to the world of SEO.

We’ll review a few of the most common and important pieces of information you’ll want to analyze for each of your keywords shortly.

But, if this all seems like it’s too much for you, don’t throw in the towel.

Portland SEO Growth services Portland-based businesses and businesses across the United States. If you’d like to learn more, let us give you a free SEO Audit.

Volume

The volume of a keyword refers to the average number of monthly searches it has received over the last 12 months. 

As you can see, the average search volume for “organic coffee farm” is 90 in the U.S. and 1.1K globally:

You might think a volume of 90 searches per month isn’t great and wonder why you’d spend time going after a search term that isn’t very common.

But, long-tail keywords like this aren’t very competitive. 

Lower competition means you’ll have a higher chance of ranking for this keyword. 

The more keywords your website ranks for, the more authority you will build in Google’s algorithm.

What is An Ideal Keyword Volume to Pursue?

It depends. 

Long-tail keywords are the easiest phrases to rank for. But they typically return a lower search volume.

Keep in mind—SEO is a long-haul commitment. You may not see results right away.

But, your ultimate goal is to increase your website’s Google ranking for as many keywords as possible. 

If you choose keywords with a high search volume (and a typically higher competition), it may ultimately be too difficult for you to break through to the first page of Google results.

It’s important to use a keyword analysis tool to figure out what a typical search volume is in your industry—and especially your niche within that industry—and use that as a baseline.

Competition Level

We briefly touched on “competition” in the previous section.

In short, competition measures how difficult it might be to rank for a particular word or phrase.

Most keyword analysis tools provide users with a keyword competition level. 

The method of evaluating competition may change, but, for the most part, a keyword’s competition will be relatively similar from one tool to the next.

In SEMrush, competition level is assigned on a scale of 0 – 1.00. The higher the number, the harder it will be to rank for your keyword. 

As you can see, the competition level for “organic coffee farm” is fairly low:

Why Does Competition Level Matter?

The competition level of a keyword is SO important. It cannot be ignored. 

Especially if your website is new.

Newer websites have lower authority in Google’s algorithm. 

If you spend your time targeting highly competitive keywords that high-authority websites are already ranking for, you really don’t have a chance to break through the noise.

It’s important to build authority over time by increasing your Google ranking. The easiest way to do this is to begin by targeting “the low hanging fruit” in your list of keywords.

Traffic

How do you identify “the low hanging fruit?”

By comparing a keyword’s traffic—and the cost of that traffic—to its competition level. 

Essentially, a high-traffic keyword with low competition can be a huge opportunity to increase your ROI.

So, what is “traffic?”

Traffic is the number of visits a website is receiving.

Using SEMrush, you can look at the top-ranking website for your keyword to determine how much traffic the site is receiving:

Why Does Keyword Traffic Matter?

Knowing the amount of traffic your keyword generates is important because you need to know that your keyword will convert to “clicks.”

A keyword may have a decent search volume—but if traffic is low, your ROI will likely be low too.

Step #3: Analyze Backlinks for Top-Ranking Websites

Backlinks are the reference of your website by another website. For example, this is a backlink to Wikipedia’s definition of a backlink.

Backlinks help to establish your website’s authority—the more domains referring to your website, the higher your authority will climb.

Authority is hugely beneficial for Google rankings.

When deciding whether or not to prioritize a particular keyword on your list, you should look at the backlinks for the top-ranking sites for that keyword.

If the top-competitor has hundreds of referring domains, it will be extremely hard to compete with—until your website has high authority too.

Using Ahrefs’ free backlink checker, you can easily determine how many domains are referring to the top competitors for your keyword.

Step #4: Competitor Keyword Analysis

Once you have looked at the statistics for your keyword (volume, traffic, and competition level), it’s time for you to assess what your competitors are doing on their pages—and determine how you can do it better.

Using SEMrush, you can look at the SERP Analysis to determine which websites are ranking for your chosen keyword:

Tip: You can also find this out by simply typing your keyword into Google—which you’ll want to do anyway when it’s time to start creating content for your site.

Visit, at a minimum, the top three ranking websites for your keyword to see what high-ranking content looks like.

Style of Content

First of all, what type of content is ranking? 

Is it conversational? Scientific? Are they “list” posts? “Tips and Tricks” posts? Are they homepages? Or blog posts linked to homepages?

Whatever your competition is doing, Google likes it. Because the sites are ranking HIGH.

You need to decide if the content you want to create and include on your website aligns with the competition. If so, you need to create similar content, but make it better.

How?

You can:

  • Link to external high-authority websites
  • Naturally weave a lot of related keywords into your content
  • Design your content to be easily skimmable 
  • Link to more of your content to keep the reader on your website

Length of Content

Next, review the length of the content your competitors are generating. 

Are some pieces of content super long while others are short? 

You need to find a good balance. If your content is too long, a reader won’t stay on your page. If it’s too short, you may not add enough value for Google’s algorithm to consider you worth ranking.

You can use a tool like wordcounter.net to get a rough idea of how many words are on competing pages.

Then, design content that is of similar length—while always focusing on adding value to the reader. 

Best Keyword Analysis: Portland SEO Growth

At Portland SEO Growth, we understand that keyword analysis of a website is essential. We also understand that it can be time-consuming and confusing.

At Portland SEO Growth, there is A LOT we can do for our clients in relation to keyword analysis. 

First of all, as part of our free SEO audit, we’ll determine how many and which keywords you’re currently ranking for.

Additionally, we can work with your existing keyword research (or do keyword research for you) to develop a keyword analysis report—essentially completing every step of this guide for you—saving you time and frustration.

Please reach out if SEO planning has you stressed. The first step is free, so you really have nothing to lose.

Courtney Kirk

Courtney Kirk

SEO Specialist and Military Spouse

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