Do keyword research
1. In a spreadsheet, write down the main topics that you want to own in search engines.
To get to these topics, talk to your leadership team, as well as with your sales, marketing and product teams. Split the topics into Brand or Strategic topics, Pain points, Use cases, and Alternatives. In the first group, add the keywords that your brand should be known for, such as your USP for example. In the Pain points group, add the main problems that your tool is solving. In the third group, add the main use cases or features of your product, what the tool is used for. In the Alternatives column, add the most known tools in your niche or the common solutions used to solve the problems that you’re solving for your customers. Keep your list under 20 topics. If you need to add more topics, start with one product, service or area of expertise, to keep the scope manageable.
2. Use Ahrefs to get the keywords with a higher search volume and a lower keyword difficulty for each of your target topics.
Log in to Ahrefs and add your target topics in the Keywords Explorer tool. If you don’t have an Ahrefs account, you can sign up for their 7-day trial, which costs $7. Write down your chosen keywords in the spreadsheet, assigning them to the relevant main topic. Alternatively, you can create separate lists in Ahrefs, and save your keywords directly in the tool. You can also choose keywords with higher difficulty, if it makes sense from a business and strategic point of view. Alternatively, use Moz, SEMrush or Google’s Keyword Planner for traffic estimates.
3. Go to AnswerThePublic.com and write down your target topics in the search box one by one, to get the list of most frequent questions searched by users.
Choose your target country and language to narrow down the options and get more specific queries.
4. Add Google’s related search terms and queries from the People Also Ask box to your keyword list.
Enter your topics or search terms into Google, scroll to the bottom of Google’s results, and note the search query suggestions. Add these suggestions to your keyword list.
5. Research the keywords your competitors are ranking for and add them in a separate sheet in your topic research spreadsheet.
Keep these query lists separated to limit the amount of strategic topics. You may not want to rank for all the keywords that your competitors are targeting, so these queries shouldn’t pollute your main topic research.
6. Check the queries that your website is already found for in Google Search Console, and add these in a new sheet in your main spreadsheet.
Log in to GSC and go to the Performance Report, then to the Queries tab. Go through the list of queries and pick only those topics that aren’t added already to your list.
7. Go through your customer support tickets and listen to sales calls to find gaps in your keyword research and identify more topics to cover.
Write down the most frequent topics, keywords and questions that come up during client calls or in support tickets. Include these topics in your content planning even if the volume estimates are low, as these are the pain points that your customers care the most about. To record sales calls, you can use a tool like Gong, and for support tickets you can use tools like Zendesk or Freshdesk.
8. Prioritize your keywords based on business goals, search intent and expected conversion.
For example, if your business goal is to claim a new category in the market, then you should prioritize the topics and queries related to that category. To drive more conversions for a tool or service, you should prioritize the keywords that show a higher commercial intent, are closer to the bottom of the sales funnel, and are likely to lead to product or service conversions as opposed to content conversions like download or subscribe.