Part of the marketing game in today’s world is the usage and research of keywords for SEO purposes.
Marketing is about visibility and presence, and for better or worse, visibility and presence are almost completely dependent on the internet.
If people want to find something, they don’t read a paper or go through the yellow pages anymore; they look it up on their smartphones or computer, often going through a search engine like Google.
It’s just the day and age we live in, and we need to adapt.
This alone makes SEO one of the most crucial practices — if not the most important practice — for marketers to use right now.
If small business owners don’t use SEO to their advantage, then corporate giants will stay at the top of the SERPs and their near-monopolies will continue.
SEO is one of the most readily available marketing methods in today’s modern age.
While it’s quite expensive to hire someone to do SEO for you, there are aspects that you can easily do yourself. One such aspect is keyword research.
The strength of your keyword research influences the strength of your SEO.
If you optimize for the wrong keywords — or even worse, you miss essential keywords — then your target audience may not find out about you when they need you the most.
It’s a missed opportunity. Therefore, finding the most relevant and important keywords is important — but it’s important to find all of them to get yourself in as many places as possible.
Typically the term “seed list” is used in terms of email lists, as a group of test email addresses you send something to before the rest of your subscribers.
However, SEO professionals use it to describe a long list of keywords and keyword phrases from several different methods of discovery.
Idaho SEO experts Page One Power recently published a piece on their website about making a keyword seed list and the variety of methods in which keywords and keyword phrases can be found and chosen.
They describe seed lists as such:
A seed list is the baseline keywords and phrases most relevant to your business. This list of keywords provides the foundation for all of your expanded keyword research. Effective keyword research starts by building a thorough seed list to ensure no core opportunities are missed moving forward.
Using seed lists in conjunction with other SEO and marketing tools will help ensure that your keyword optimization is rich with diverse and intelligent keywords to tackle searches from all over the web.
With a little time and effort put in, your seed list is going to look really good and set you up for SERP success.
Start With the Basics
When creating a seed list, it’s best to just pull from any general terms related to your product or website. These are going to be the most obvious ones.
For instance, if you run a company that sells furniture, then you’ll probably want to rank for terms like “online furniture store,” “furniture retail,” “bedroom furniture,” or the simplest of them all: “furniture.”
Additionally, if your website is up and running and this isn’t something you’ve intentionally paid mind to before, maybe you should start searching your own site for words and terms that tend to pop up naturally surrounding your content.
To use the furniture company example again, you may find words such as “home decoration” or “bedroom accessories” throughout content written about those kinds of products.
Once you have your normal or more obvious found keywords from these sources, you have the rest of the web to use at your disposal. It’s important to start from the basics and to branch out into deep cut keywords.
Think of it like a mind map. You start with the central idea and think of things that branch out from it:
What kind of tools are used; what are all of the different functions of a product or service; where is it going to be used and in what sorts of situations?
Your keywords, at the end of this analysis, should cover that thoroughly.
Maximize Your Sources
Now you can think and speculate all you would like about the most relevant keywords and what they could be, but it’s important to choose keywords and phrases that your target audience is already searching for.
No matter how smart you are or how well you think you know your market, it’s easy to skip over things people want and to assume they’re searching for things they may not be.
But how do you find what they are actually searching for?
Page One Power recommends a few things regarding seed lists in the aforementioned article.
The easiest one to find and get to is entering one of your basic keywords or phrases on Google and scrolling to the bottom of the “Searches related to _________.”
From there you will be able to see what people searching for those terms are also searching for.
You may not put them all into your seed list, but you will find at least a couple new ones with each search term you enter into the search bar.
The next method to go through is public forums and website comments surrounding certain keywords.
Page One Power uses the example of Reddit.
The idea there was that going through a relevant subreddit or Reddit thread related to a keyword on your seed list may deliver more relevant keywords just by examining what the audience or participators are saying.
If there’s a term they keep using that you’re not familiar with or didn’t think of, you may as well research it. Hopefully, it’ll be a relevant word that you can try to optimize for yourself.
The last method to bring up is competitor analysis. Page One Power recommends using SEMrush for this process, as it gives you a list of competitors to your website as well as reveals the terms they’re ranking for.
Your main competitors may have been at this longer than you or maybe hitting a niche or corner in the market that you haven’t yet considered or know how to tap into.
Their keywords may be your answer into new audiences or audiences you’ve been trying to reach but have had trouble doing so.
Think Outside of the Box with Your Seed List
Finally, after you’ve exhausted the different communities, websites, and other sources on the internet for such keywords, you can take a little bit of time to think out of the box.
As has been covered on Right Blog Tips before, keyword synonyms are a concept that’s relevant to consider in this scenario.
This could also open you up to a niche you hadn’t considered or been able to tap into yet. The internet is a big place and your market could be hiding all over it!
Now keep in mind that while creating or growing your seed list, you don’t want to waste time on irrelevant terms.
With each term you think of, you can examine it with tools like SEMrush or Google Analytics and see how often users search for it.
It’s of the utmost importance that when you go outside of the box to find your keywords, you’re checking it out with the tools we know we can trust.
Do not waste time or resources on something that won’t be fruitful for you.
What are some ways you’ve gone outside of the box with keyword research?
What’s the weirdest keyword phrase in your seed list, and how did you find it?
We’d love to hear about it — let us know in the comments below.
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Devin Morrissey lives in Daly City, CA, where he writes about small business and SEO. When his laptop updates or his Wi-Fi is down, Devin modifies his friends’ cars and hunts for vinyl records.