Now that you have a good understanding of the various keyword types and lengths that make up every kind of search query imaginable in the search engines, it’s time to move on to a list of criteria that can help you quickly assess the value of the terms you find during the keyword research process.
When it comes time to choose the right target keywords to write articles about for your website, there are several important keyword metrics you need to consider to create an effective content publishing strategy. Diving into a keyword research tool to brainstorm new ideas is great, but you won’t have as much success if you’re not analyzing the right keyword data.
If you think back on the story I told in the introduction about using Google Adwords to find keywords to target, even though it was free, I was still shooting in the dark because it didn’t provide all of the necessary data to make the right decision on if I should focus on a specific keyword or not.
There are three objective metrics you can use to make better data-driven decisions for selecting the best keywords to target for your website. The following section will explain everything you need to know about those data points.
The first important keyword metric is search volume which refers to the average number of searches a particular keyword receives in a given time frame. Some keyword research tools allow you to check the search volume for a set of keywords based on a set period of time, like the previous 3 months, 6 months, or 12 months, to get a better idea of how the search volume is trending. Keyword search volume is also averaged over a set time frame to provide you with a general clue of the overall volume.
For example, a keyword may have received a total of 1,000 searches over the previous 3 months but the tool will report an average search volume of 330, which is roughly 1,000 (searches) ÷ 3 (months) = 330 (average search volume).
In reality, the keyword may have been searched 700 times in month 1 of the selected time frame, 200 times in month 2, and 130 times in month 3. But on average, the keyword gets 330 searches per month over a 3-month time frame. So keep that in mind because monthly search volume can fluctuate based on seasonality and trends throughout the year.
Also, keyword search volume is just an estimate. It’s never 100% accurate.
Just because a keyword research tool reports an average of 5,000 searches per month for a particular keyword doesn’t mean your website will actually receive that number of visitors. Nor does it mean that 5,000 searches are performed each month for that term as you previously learned. However, the average search volume for a keyword is still your best metric for evaluating the overall user interest and potential traffic to your website.
Now, there are cases where a keyword research tool reports a 0 search volume for a target keyword but it actually ends up delivering 100s or even 1,000s of visitors to a website. Again, that’s because the search volume data is never 100% accurate and sometimes a keyword may be too fresh in the index to report accurate volume. Additionally, a keyword might surge in popularity before the keyword research tool updates its database.
However, if you’re trying to create an effective SEO content publishing strategy for your website that can guarantee the best long-term results, then you should not focus on 0 search volume keywords. You may hear other website owners talk about how much success they’ve had by targeting keywords like that, but the truth is the ROI on those terms is vastly unknown and you could end up writing articles that barely bring in any website traffic.
Therefore, it’s better to choose keywords that have a proven search volume (e.g., 100 or more searches per month is a good place to start) even if your site may get more or less than that number of visitors per month.
Keyword Difficulty Score
The second most important keyword metric is the keyword difficulty (KD) score which estimates how hard it might be to rank for a specific keyword on the first page of Google’s search results. The KD score is calculated based on many factors; however, the backlink profile strength of the ranking URLs in the top 10 positions is typically given the most weight.
Keyword difficulty scores range from 0-100. The higher the KD score, the harder it typically is to rank on the first page of Google for a search term because the competition is much more difficult based on the quality and number of incoming backlinks to the top-ranking URLs.
The KD score is a powerful SEO metric you can use to evaluate potential keyword terms for your website because it helps you avoid search terms that require a lot of backlinks to rank in the top 10 positions.
Therefore, the KD score should play a significant role in your keyword selection process if your goal is to rank your website in search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing for more relevant keywords with the least amount of effort.
For example, it’s not uncommon for a web page to rank in the top 10 positions on Google for a target keyword with a low KD score within a few hours or even a day after the page has been published. That’s because keywords with a low KD score do not require a strong backlink profile to get ranked on the first page of the search results.
Typically, all you need is good on-page SEO with your target keyword in the right locations on the page and well-written content that satisfies the user’s search intent. By combining those factors together (low KD score, on-page SEO, and content focused on user search intent), you can often grab the top positions in the SERPs even with a website that has a low Domain Authority and/or individual Page Authority scores.
The third, and final, important keyword metric is cost-per-click (CPC) value which is an advertising revenue model where advertisers pay publishers each time a user clicks on a text-based or display ad.The CPC value refers to the actual price advertisers pay for each click in a pay-per-click (PPC) marketing campaign. This is vastly different than the cost-per-mile (CPM) model where advertisers pay a fixed price for every 1,000 impressions an ad receives regardless if a user clicks on the ad or not. CPM is also known as revenue-per-mile (RPM) or earnings-per-thousand-visitors (EPMV).
Essentially, advertisers that use digital marketing platforms like Google Adwords to gain more customers and increase sales will bid a certain amount of money for their online ads to show up in Google’s search results pages as text ads and through Google’s Discover Network as display ads on publishers’ websites.
The main purpose of CPC ads is for a brand to get its products and services in front of potential customers without having to do the work of ranking organically with SEO in the search engines. In other words, advertisers can pay money on a cost-per-click basis to be featured above the organic search results in Google and on publishers’ websites without worrying about using SEO to get traffic.
The reason why you should focus on the CPC value during the keyword research process will be explained later in this playbook in the section called “Keyword Accelerator Formula (Overview)”. But for now, just know that advertisers are willing to pay more money to get brand exposure for certain keywords versus other terms in search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. And knowing this can work to your advantage because you can use that data to pick more profitable keywords for your website.
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