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Nick Berry

Outsmart Your Competition: Harness the Power of Effective Keyword Research

Outsmart Your Competition: Harness the Power of Effective Keyword Research

Now let’s get one thing out of the way. SEO is not a silver bullet, it’s not going to solve your leaky sales funnels, it’s not going to get you new clients overnight. It’s not going to drive traffic to your website right away. Even if you do everything in this guide it could literally be months before you’re starting to see measurable results.

With that said, I still believe mainstreet retail agencies have a significant advantage over the direct or captive carriers through search. Why? Because the only way they can beat a well oiled local SEO machine is through paid ads. While that might work for high level search keywords, a well built longtail keyword strategy will beat those ads.

I will also preface this. I abhor SEO shops, I have seen so many agents burned on big promises of SEO, if you’re reading this and you’re an SEO, “I’m sorry”. 

The few good ones out there, show me the results and I’ll be more than happy to introduce you to my friends.

What about Technical SEO?

I’m not going to blather on with all the technical stuff. If you have wordpress, install YOAST, follow their on screen directions and for the most part the technical stuff like schema, meta descriptions, alt tags on images and all that jazz will be there. If you’re not using wordpress, I don’t know what to tell you, good luck?

To buy backlinks or not?

There’s another component that helps SEO, backlinks. There’s always a debate of buy, don’t buy them. I don’t really care which one you do, but I will tell you I’ve gotten the best results from earned (unpaid) backlinks from relevant content partners.

The tools for keyword research

But I’m going to walk through the one thing that most articles really do skip over, and that’s how to do proper keyword research. They skip over it because that’s usually their secret sauce behind what they do.

And I think I need to focus on keyword research first, because you need to know what content to make, before you create your content strategy.

Before we get into the tools, we’re going to assume you know how to install a plugin, or add basic code to your website. It’s important for the first tool. Also if you’re reading this I would hope I don’t need to explain each and every tool. 

I use 5 tools to do proper keyword research, and most of them are free, or they’re super cheap. 

  1. Google Search Console
  2. Google Analytics
  3. Answer the Public
  4. Keywords Everywhere
  5. chatGPT

Most articles will tell you to use google ad keyword planner, but honestly keywords everywhere works just as good, and google ads is a nightmare if you don’t know what you’re doing. I use it on a regular basis and it still makes me want to smash my face in with a hammer most of the time.

If you have these first two installed and running, you’re already ahead of the rest of the class. Good job, go get yourself a cookie. If not, go check out youtube, there’s about a billion videos on installing these.

Google Search Console

https://search.google.com/

How am I using this for keyword research? This tool, once installed on your site, will tell you what keywords you’re ranking for, how many impressions your pages are getting for that related keyword, and how many clicks you’re getting for that keyword.

I don’t spend a ton of time in this tool, this is mostly for after you’re getting traffic, but something you should get set up right away.

Google Analytics

https://analytics.google.com

I know, GA4 is not great, but after taking a couple of courses I don’t hate it. I wish we could keep GA3, but I don’t have that super power. Every site should have Google Analytics installed,  mostly for tracking traffic, sources, and all that. Set it up. You’ll thank me later.

If it’s worth doing, it’s worth measuring, or something like that.

Answer The Public

https://answerthepublic.com

Now this is where the rubber meets the road with keyword research. I absolutely love this site for getting the juices going. It’s freemium, like $9 a month if you use it more than once a day or something. You just type in a couple of keywords like “homeowners insurance” and it spits all of the questions that people ask related to that topic. 

It will show you questions, prepositions, comparisons, search volume, and even cost per click. And it’s all exportable into csv files.

What I will do is throw in a subject I’m thinking about writing about, and see what questions the interwebs are asking about related to that subject. If you’re on a free account you only get the first 30 questions, and only the first 15 or so have search volume or cost per click estimates. A great starting point though!

Keywords Everywhere

https://keywordseverywhere.com/

This one is indispensable, and it’s super cheap. $10 for 100,000 credits. It might not seem like a lot, but I’ve been using it again for a month and I’ve used like 13,000 credits? I do keyword research like it’s my job, because well it kind of is… This tool often supplements other sites, like search console, google search, youtube, pinterest, pretty much anything that has search it works inside. And also gives you exportable reports you can later work with.

I love this tool, after being reintroduced to it a few weeks ago I’ve been going nuts with it.

chatGPT

https://chat.openai.com

Yeah yeah, I know every other idiot on the internet has been talking about chatGPT. I do think it’s cool, I use it several times a day. But I’m going to give away my favorite prompt for doing keyword research. I stole it from Authority Hacker a few weeks ago and it even helped write the title of this newsletter/blog.

Take the sub-niche “TOPIC” and brainstorm a list of articles based on popular search terms and long tail variations that are likely to be easy to rank on Google. Present the results in a table with proposed article title, another for target keyword and a 3rd for popularity level of the keyword between 1 and 100

Now remember it’s chatGPT, it’s probably pulling the popularity out of it’s butt, but it’s a good starting point.

Now let’s do some keyword research!

Most everyone on my list is an insurance agent, or somehow related to insurance, so I’m going to walk through how I would do keyword research on a homeowners insurance related topic.

And we’re going to go with what’s called a long-tail keyword. This is a super specific keyword that if done correctly even if the estimated search volume might be low, can reap decent traffic rewards over time.

I went to Answer The Public and typed “homeowners insurance” and it kicked out a ton of questions. I’m going to start with “what homeowners insurance does not cover”

Answer The Public - Homeowners Insurance"

Now we’re going to take that long-tail keyword of “What does homeowners insurance does not cover” and go search in google with the Keywords Everywhere chrome extension installed.

We’re doing this to get another opinion of the search volume, competition, seo difficulty score, and even if anyone is bidding on that keyword. The search volume came back at zero, because it’s super specific so now I’m going to use chatGPT to come up with some other ideas!

Keywords Everywhere - What does homeowners insurance not cover

Now I took that same topic of “homeowners insurance” and dumped it into chatGPT with that prompt above. 

chatGPT prompt to brainstorm more topics

I like the first one it kicked out, it’s pretty generic to start out, but something you could easily expand on, but let’s just look at that keyword in google.

Keywords Everywhere - What does homeowners insurance cover?

While there’s a decent amount of search traffic for that phrase, it’s extremely competitive. And probably going to be very difficult to rank for. 

Let’s get more specific and look up “What does homeowners insurance cover in iowa?”

keywords everywhere - what does homeonwers insurance cover in iowa?

That’s okay, but let’s get local search involved! And look up “What does homeowners insurance cover in newton, iowa?”

keywords everywhere - what does homeonwers insurance cover in newton iowa?

Well what do you know, that’s going to be really easy to rank for with a handful of well written articles about difference homeowner insurance coverage options in newton Iowa

Now is that all there is to it? No, you still have to write good content, distribute it! And have all those other technical pieces in place. And please for all things holy, don’t just go “prompt engineer” some articles and churn out a bunch of garbage. It might work in the short term, but long term if you consistently create relevant and GOOD content, google will reward you. Go experiment, create several articles on a topic, share them with your email list, and on social media. Then try a few different topics.

It will take time and consistency to start ranking, but trust me it’s worth it.

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