Keyword research

OTime to complete: 5-6 hours

This project will walk you through doing keyword research in order to determine which topics to create content about.

Completing these steps will allow you to:

  • Improve your SEO.
  • Increase the organic rank of your website on search engine results pages.
  • Increase the online traffic to your website.
keyword research
Step 1: Research your buyer personas
Learn how

To-do

  1. Develop your buyer personas and add them to the HubSpot Dashboard using the Buyer Persona Project.
  2. Create a list of keywords pulled from the Goals, Challenges and Story of your buyer persona profiles.  
    1. If their goal is to plan a family vacation, then "family vacation", "plan family vacation", and "best family vacation spots" could all be keywords in your list.
  3. Think of common questions and problems that your buyer personas would have and add them to your keyword list.

Example

Pro Tip

A good way to do research about the questions and problems that your buyer personas have is to interview the people at your company who talk to customers.  These people might be your sales reps, your customer service department, or the person that answers the phone at the reception desk.  Write down all common questions and requests that they get, and add these to your keyword list.
Need some help developing your buyer personas?
 
Step 2: Research your current customers and prospects
Learn how

To-do

  1. Interview your current customers or poll prospects through a survey.  What are the recurring questions or problems they have with your product, service or industry as a whole?
  2. Monitor your customers on social media.
    1. Head to the Social Monitoring Tool.
    2. Click the + to create a new stream.
    3. Select A HubSpot Contact List from the dropdown from "Show me tweets from", and select a list of your customers.
    4. Add in words, Twitter handles and hashtags related to your business and industry that you'd like to monitor for, like "travel companies" or "@FifthSeasonInc".
  3. Monitor your prospects on social media.
    1. Head to the Social Monitoring Tool.
    2. Click the + to create a new stream.
    3. Select A HubSpot Contact List from the dropdown from "Show me tweets from", and select a list of your prospects.
    4. Add in words, Twitter handles and hashtags related to your business and industry that you'd like to monitor for, like "family vacation ideas".
  

Example

Pro Tip

In order to monitor your prospects or customers, you'll need to know which of your contacts in HubSpot are prospects or customers!  To do so, assign lifecycles stages to your Contacts.
Step 3: Research your own business
Learn how

To-do

  1. Interview internal stakeholders at your company. These are often the founders, the C-level executives, and the top management.
  2. Interview internal employees who are closely aligned with your product or service.
  3. Answer the following questions:
    1. What products or services do you currently offer?
    2. What problems do your prospects have that your company can help solve?
    3. How would you describe your business to someone who has never heard of your company?
    4. What common questions do your leads ask?
  4. Make a list of the topics that your business has expertise in.

Pro Tip

Another good way to research your own business is to do a website audit - what topics are already covered on your website pages? In your blog? In your content offers?  Go through your website, or Google your own business and see what comes up.

Step 4: Research your competitors and industry bloggers
Learn how

To-do

  1. Head to the search engine of your choice, and look up your competitors.  What topics are they writing about?
  2. Look at the list of topics that you came up with in step 3, and google each one.  Who is writing about that topic already? Who are the top bloggers for your industry?
  3. Head to the Social Monitoring Tool to set up social monitoring streams that track your competitors and industry bloggers.
    1. Click the + to create a new stream.
    2. Under "That Contain", monitor for the Twitter handles of your competitors and the industry bloggers that you just found.
  

Example

Pro Tip

You can easily keep track of your competitors by adding them to the Competitors tool.  This allows you to see how many pages they have indexed by search engines and their recent tweets.
Step 5: Pull keywords from threads on online forums and message boards
Learn how

To-do

  1. Pick one of the keywords from any of the lists that you've created in the previous steps.
  2. Head to your search engine of choice and search for "keyword + forum" or "keyword + board".
  3. Look at the questions being asked or the topics being discussed. Are any relevant to your original keyword? 
  4. Make a list of any additional keywords that you find from these discussions.

Example

Pro Tip

If people are talking about a question in a forum or message board, it means that they haven't found the answer elsewhere - which is a golden opportunity for you to create content that will help them and attract them to your site.

Step 6: Expand your keyword list by searching for variations of each keyword
Learn how

To-do

  1. Pick a keyword from one of the lists you've created in the previous steps.
  2. Type that keyword into a search engine.
    1. Look at the autocomplete suggestions as you type your keyword into the search bar.  Write down the alternative keyword phrases shown.
    2. Look at the first page of the search results.  Write down the keyword variations used in the titles of the top results.
    3. Look at the bottom of the search results page on Google. Write down any suggestions shown in the "searches related to" section.
    4. Look at the "News" or "Videos" tabs of Google.  Write down the keyword variations found there.
  3. Repeat this process with as many keywords as possible.

Example

Pro Tip

Type one of your keywords into keywordtool.io  to get auto-generated suggestions - it's a free tool that shows you the related keywords that people are typing into the Google search bar.

Step 7: Determine which keywords people are already using to find you
Learn how

To-do

  1. Navigate to the Sources tool.
  2. Click on Organic Search to see a list of keywords that your website is getting found for.  
  3. If the Track box is unchecked, click on it to add that keyword into your Keywords tool.

Example

Need help getting started?
Learn how to track your organic traffic
Step 8: Add your list of keywords to HubSpot's Keywords tool
Learn how

To-do

  1. Navigate to the Keywords Tool.
  2. Click on Add Keywords and add your list of keywords into the tool, one per line.

Example

Pro Tip

The HubSpot Keywords tool is very specific, so make sure that you add in all of the variants of a keyword phrase ("keyword seo" and "seo keyword").
Learn how to add your keywords into HubSpot
 
Step 9: Analyze your keywords to find the ones with the most potential
Learn how

To-do

  1. Look at the number of monthly searches.  If you want a keyword to help you drive traffic to your site, then that keywords that should not have a "low" number of monthly searches (meaning that 10 or fewer people are searching for that keyword per month).
  2. Look at the difficulty score for your keyword.  This is a 0-100 score estimating the difficulty you will face breaking into the first page of search results for this keyword.  Your keyword should have a difficulty ranking of <65.




Example

Pro Tip

If your keyword is too difficult, try alternatives that make it more unique and long-tail. A long-tail keyword is easier to rank for, and helps drive more qualified visitors.
Learn how to choose the right keyword