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Keyword research in 8 steps: Maximize your traffic

Keyword research is vital to any SEO campaign. Today there are several SEO tools that simplify keyword research. One of the best known tools is Ahrefs. Read below how to use Ahrefs in 8 easy steps to conduct keyword research to maximize your traffic.

1. Look at search volume AND clicks

In the Ahrefs' site explorer you can see the search volume of your keywords. Search volume shows the popularity of your keywords. Popular keywords receive a lot of searches but do not guarantee actual traffic. To do this, you need to look at the actual clicks. Not all of the popular keywords receive a lot of traffic. This is because clicks are rather determined by search intent.

2. Determine the search intent of your keyword

When you select the keywords you will be confronted with the following question: search volume or search intent? The answer is simple: search intent is more important:

Search intent categories

Most searches can be classified into 4 categories:

1. Informational

How to's (e.g. how to make a website?)

2. Navigational:

Branded searches (e.g. Facebook, KU Leuven)

3. Commercial exploration:

Comparisons among products/services, trends (e.g. Macbook pro vs Dell XPS, best brands hiking boots, etc.)

4. Transactional:

Buy, download, order, etc.

To find out the search intent of your keywords you can use google. Type in your keyword and look at the top ranking pages: what kind of content do these pages have? This is a good indication for the search intent of your keyword but be very critical because usually it' s not immediately clear what kind of content is hidden behind the keywords.

Think about which search intent best suits your content. Then choose the keywords that match your search intent.

3. Look at the pages of your competitor that generate a lot of traffic

Check out the top traffic pages of your competitors to find topics that generate a high amount of traffic or that have business potential. Analyze these pages to find out what content and keywords they contain. Determine whether you can better fulfil the search intent behind these keywords with your content and include the keywords in your content plan.

4. Find out the ranking difficulty

Ahrefs shows a keyword difficulty rating by default but it is better to discover it yourself.

Look back at the top-ranking pages for your chosen keyword and evaluate the quality of the inbound links and other on page factors.

Can you build up more and improve links on your pages? Can you exceed this content and satisfy the search intent behind these keywords even better? If so, go for it!

5. Do a content gap analysis with the top 3 ranking pages for your keyword

When you are sure of your new keyword you should perform a content gap analysis for this keyword. In an overall content gap analysis you will check the rankings of your competitors for a particular keyword to find out for which other keywords it ranked and you did not.

With the Ahrefs content gap analysis tool you can analyze the top 3 ranking pages for a specific keyword for all their mutual keywords. This way you will know which keywords you still need to incorporate in your content to rank higher.

6. Use the keywords from the content gap analysis

Use the new keywords in the content gap analysis in your content. These keywords can be used for instance as a H2, H3. You can also opt to create separate pages for these keywords. Please don't forget to link to these pages internally.

7. Build links

Build links to your new content to significantly increase your organic traffic.

8. Repeat

Repeat this process as often as necessary. By going through this process you will immediately find the keywords with which your content has the most potential to rank in the search results.

Does your company need reinforcements to create and execute an SEO strategy? Contact us and we'll discuss how we can help your website rank higher in Google.