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9 Creative Ways To Use Google’s Keyword Planner Tool

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One thing that attracts many entrepreneurial-minded spirits to the SEO industry is its dynamic design.

Strategies are changing continuously based on each client’s focus and industry, preventing proverbial cookie-cutter practices.

This is especially true when approaching keyword research.

There are many keyword research tools available, and each requires a unique creative focus to produce the best search opportunities.

For this article, I’ll home in on one tool from the internet Mothership that sometimes gets sidelined for SEO due to its ad-based focus: Google Keyword Planner.

Here, you’ll find nine Keyword Planner research tips that can help you target more profitable terms in organic and paid campaigns.

1. Choose Low Volume, High-Reward Keywords

First and foremost, you want to know which products, services, and keywords deliver the most profit.

With this information, you can create a list of seed keywords to launch your first plan of attack.

Generally, I focus on quality over quantity, which typically equates to low volume over high volume.

For example, one of our clients is an environmental consulting company, so getting someone to convert an organic piece of content for an “SWPPP Plan” could yield that company thousands of dollars in one sale.

Image from Google Keyword Planner, April 2022low competition keywords

As you can see, search competition for many of these keywords is low, and volumes are rising for many relevant keywords in that space.

Due to increasing environmental concerns, keywords like these will continue to grow and make money for whoever captures their organic share.

Bonus Tip: If you’re looking for more accurate keyword volumes, use another keyword planner like Semrush or create a high bid using the max CPC on a keyword to better understand its total volume and monthly impressions.

2. Sort Keywords By Intent

Next, compile a list of keywords for each campaign and sort by intent.

Unfortunately, Google’s Keyword Planner doesn’t provide any filters for intent, such as commercial, informative, or navigational intent.

However, we can glean commercial intent from other keyword phrases by filtering keywords by Top of Page Bid in ascending or descending order.

For example, pages with higher Top of Page Bids typically have highly competitive commercial intent and imply relatively good conversion rates if advertisers are willing to bid so highly on these terms.

compile a list of keywords for each campaign and sort by intentImage from Google Keyword Planner, April 2022compile a list of keywords for each campaign and sort by intent

LinkedIn content marketing is a highly sought-after term with lots of competition based on this research.

However, you can flip this list in ascending order to discover keyword terms with greater informational intent.

Using our previous example of “SWPPP Plans,” we find informational keywords with low bids in ascending order.

 flip this list in ascending order to discover keyword terms with greater informational intentImage from Google Keyword Planner, April 2022 flip this list in ascending order to discover keyword terms with greater informational intent

Bonus Tip: Using phrases like “buy,” “coupon,” “sale,” etc., will help you separate keywords by commercial intent.

On the other hand, terms like “best practices,” “top,” and question phrases will signify informational intent.

3. Take Keyword Ideas From Competitors

While several competitive research tools are available, including Ahrefs, Semrush, Majestic, etc., you can conduct competitive keyword research right in Google’s Keyword Planner.

In fact, right when you log onto Keyword Planner, they offer options to search for keywords using a seed keyword or a competitor website.

 conduct competitive keyword research right in Google’s Keyword PlannerImage from Google Keyword Planner, April 2022 conduct competitive keyword research right in Google’s Keyword Planner

Google will provide a list of all keywords this website ranks for, and you can filter out keywords by brand name to get a good list of keywords a website is ranking for.

Bonus Tip: Click Organic Average Position in Custom Columns to see where this website ranks for specific keywords to generate ideas for success.

4. Skyscraper Content Using Page-Specific Keywords

You may notice that Google Keywords Planner provides a keyword overview of your competitor’s website and page-specific content in the image above.

If you were searching for topics and keywords for top or mid-funnel content that drives traffic to your website, you could use any of your favorite competitor research tools to see which pages are driving traffic to a website.

Of course, you could also manually input any webpage that your competitor outranks you for and discover other keyword ideas and variations.

For example, using Semrush, I found that this article on alternative search engines pulls in the highest annual traffic for Search Engine Journal.

I can see the most relevant keywords driving traffic to that web page by copying and pasting the link in Keyword Planner.

see the most relevant keywords driving traffic to that webpageImage from Google Keyword Planner, April 2022see the most relevant keywords driving traffic to that webpage

You could even bid on these keywords if you’re so inclined, whether you’re marketing an alternative search engine or an awesome piece of content.

Bonus Tip: Conducting page-by-page keyword research, you can discover other keyword variations Google ranks that page for that you otherwise would not have inputted in your content.

5. Satisfy Intent With Keyword Questions

Informative content answers as many user questions as possible.

This provides several advantages for your SEO and content strategy, including:

  • Ranking for rich snippet and answer box searches.
  • Satisfying user intent.
  • Outranking the competition by holding user attention for longer and garnering more clicks.
  • Ranking for even more keywords than a broad seed term.

Fortunately, Google’s Keyword Planner provides easy filters to input question phrases, such as “what,” “when,” “where,” “why,” and “how” to help create stellar content that satisfies user intent and educates users.

Bonus Tip: AnswerthePublic is a free tool that provides common user questions in an easily visualized format to help you answer as many questions as possible.

In addition, Google’s answer box and commonly searched results at the bottom provide good indicators of what questions users are researching.

6. Filter By Location

Another great feature of Google’s Keyword Planner is the ability to filter ads and impression shares to specific locations.

Google even lets you filter keyword search volumes down to the city level.

filter ads and impression shares to specific locationsImage from Google Keyword Planner, April 2022filter ads and impression shares to specific locations

In addition, you can access search volume data by state or region to find out where most of your traffic and customers originate in Google’s Forecast tab.

For example, below, I looked up the search volume for “SWPPP plans.”

 find out where most of your traffic and customers originateImage from Google Keyword Planner, April 2022 find out where most of your traffic and customers originate

Using this data, you could create location-specific landing pages for SWPPP plans for California, Texas, Florida, etc.

Bonus Tip: Filtering searches by location also provides a good baseline for the amount of reach local ads on Facebook and other networks will garner.

For example, if most searches are regionally specific, this could help you avoid wasteful spending across all ad platforms.

7. Optimize Keywords By Device

In addition to location and intent, optimizing web pages for different devices is also critical.

I created an ad campaign targeting “roof repair” in the Dallas metro area in the example below.

optimizing web pages for different devices is also criticaImage from Google Keyword Planner, April 2022optimizing web pages for different devices is also critica

Not so surprisingly, most of these searches occur on mobile devices and are most likely done as “near me” searches.

Based on this evidence, optimizing landing pages for mobile devices, inserting a click-to-call CTA, curating a strong brand presence on local directories, and optimizing the Google Business Profile (previously Google My Business) with clear contact information will net the most conversions for most ad campaigns.

Bonus Tip: Understanding which device users search for products allows you to target users on those devices with retargeting ad-based campaigns across social media and other websites.

8. Search For Keywords By Groups

Advertisers mostly use this strategy, but it provides a rich information resource for SEOs and content marketers.

By searching for keywords in Grouped View, instead of Keyword View, Google organizes keywords directly for you by category.

For example, by using the seed phrase “homemade kombucha” and “best kombucha,” you can see the number of keywords and topic ideas generated with two simple keywords.

Google organizes keywords directly for you by category.Image from Google Keyword Planner, April 2022Google organizes keywords directly for you by category.

By grouping these keywords by category, you could create page-specific content for each group, utilizing each keyword in the group to help optimize your content.

Bonus Tip: If you notice up top, Google provides relevant keyword and topic ideas to expand your marketing efforts further.

9. For the Ads – Remember To Bid On Branded Keywords

Finally, one converting strategy for advertisers is if you’ve run out of keyword ideas, consider bidding on the branded keywords and redirecting user searches to your website.

You can use this strategy genuinely if you sell brand-name products on your website, such as Nike shoes, if you sell apparel, or if you want to gain more clicks for your own branded keywords.

There are several advantages to bidding on branded keywords, including:

  • Taking up more SERP real estate.
  • Lower costs (for the actual business brand).
  • Higher CTRs (especially if it’s your brand).
  • Gain greater data about user intent and on-page metrics.
  • Build exposure for your brand.

Bonus Tip: You could also bid on competitors’ keywords to be competitive. While this strategy is not foolproof, sometimes it’s a good way to steal away traffic and clicks from competitors.

However, this plan could always backfire, and your competitor could do the same to you.

Google’s Keyword Planner is free to use with a Google Ads account and provides users with most of the tools needed to start keyword research and begin a multi-faceted digital campaign.

Furthermore, what Keyword Planner lacks in functionality can be made up for in third-party tools and a bit of creativity.

More resources: 


Featured Image: Nikolay Klimenko/Shutterstock

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Microsoft Announces ChatGPT Capabilities Coming To Bing

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Microsoft Announces ChatGPT Capabilities Coming To Bing

Microsoft announced today that it is bringing cutting-edge AI capabilities to its Bing search engine, with the addition of a new ChatGPT-like feature.

Microsoft revealed its plans for integrating ChatGPT at a private event held at its Redmond headquarters today, which centered around its partnership with OpenAI.

Unlike recent virtual events, this particular press conference was held in person and not broadcast online.

During the event, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella highlighted the significance of this new feature and how it will revolutionize the way people interact with search engines.

“I think this technology is going to reshape pretty much every software category,” says Nadella.

Nadella proclaimed, “The race starts today,” and Microsoft is going to “move and move fast.”

The event attendees were given a sneak peek at the latest search experience, which Microsoft refers to as “your AI-powered copilot for the web.”

This new experience combines the all-new Bing search engine and Edge web browser, which are designed to complement each other.

Nadella explained that the new Bing would provide direct answers to questions and encourage users to be more creative.

He also stated that the current search experience is not working as efficiently as it should be, as 40% of the time, people click on search links and then immediately click back.

This clearly indicates that the search experience needs to be updated and improved. Nadella claims that the search engine user experience hasn’t changed in 20 years, and it’s time for Microsoft to adapt.

Introducing The New Bing

The new Bing is powered by a next-generation language model from OpenAI, which has been specifically customized for search purposes. It’s even more powerful than the ChatGPT model.

Microsoft has implemented a new way of working with OpenAI called the “prometheus model,” which enhances the relevancy of answers, annotates them, keeps them up to date, and more.

The search index has also been improved by applying the AI model to the core search algorithm, which Nadella calls the largest jump in relevance ever.

It runs on a new user experience with an expanded search box that accepts up to 1,000 characters. Examples shared during the event look exactly like recent leaks.

The new Bing includes a chatbot that behaves similarly to ChatGPT, allowing users to interact with Bing in a natural language.

Bing’s new ChatGPT-like feature will take it a step further by allowing users to have an actual conversation with the search engine, with the ability to follow up on previous questions and provide more context for their search.

The new Bing is now available for a limited preview on desktop, and anyone can try it out by visiting Bing.com and performing sample searches.

You can also sign up to be notified when it becomes more widely available.

The preview will be expanded to millions of users in the near future, and a mobile version will be available soon.

The New Edge Browser

The chat interface Microsoft demonstrated in Bing is available as a sidebar feature in Edge, allowing users to access it without navigating to the Bing website. The interface can run alongside any webpage and interact with it.

During a demonstration, the AI assistant in Edge could summarize a 15-page PDF with one click and even translate a code snippet from Stack Overflow into another programming language.

Another benefit of the Edge browser’s “AI co-pilot” is having it complete tasks for you, such as filling out forms and writing emails.

In Summary

Microsoft has made a substantial leap in search engine technology by integrating a ChatGPT-like feature in its Bing search engine.

The new Bing is powered by a next-generation language model from OpenAI, which takes key learnings and advancements from ChatGPT and GPT-3.5.

Bing with the AI co-pilot is now available for a limited preview on desktop, and a mobile version will be available soon.

Additionally, the chat interface will be available as a sidebar feature in the new Edge browser, which has the ability to summarize information, translate code, and even complete tasks.


Source: Microsoft

Featured Image: Poetra.RH/Shutterstock



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From Competitors To Partners: Conductor Acquires Searchmetrics

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From Competitors To Partners: Conductor Acquires Searchmetrics

Conductor, a leading enterprise organic marketing platform, has acquired European-based competitor, Searchmetrics, to accelerate its expansion in the European market.

After acquiring ContentKing in 2022, the acquisition of Searchmetrics continues to strengthen Conductor’s position in the industry.

Seth Besmertnik, Conductor’s CEO and co-founder, said that the acquisition would bring the best of what Searchmetrics does to Conductor and its shared customers:

“Searchmetrics has been a competitor almost since we started Conductor, with a strong data foundation and a powerful presence in the European market. We are excited to bring the best of what Searchmetrics does to Conductor and to our now shared customers. Our goal is for customers to greatly benefit from this acquisition through delivery of more product value on a global scale.”

 

Matt Colebourne, the CEO of Searchmetrics, expressed his excitement for the company to join Conductor, calling it the “definitive global leader”:

“Conductor is indisputably the SEO space market leader. For years, we’ve admired their commitment to innovation for customers and their efforts to foster a dynamic and rewarding workplace culture for employees. By joining Conductor, we bring the best of what we do along with a large European customer base—solidifying Conductor as the definitive global leader. We cannot wait to build more for customers going forward.”

 

Ken Ogenbratt, Searchmetrics’s Chief Financial Officer, said the acquisition is a “pivotal step” for the SEO industry as the two companies move forward as partners with the opportunity to drive even greater value to customers.

With this acquisition, Conductor continues its commitment to creating a single, global platform that integrates all parts of the SEO workflow.

With Searchmetrics’ strong European presence and solid customer base, the acquisition will significantly accelerate Conductor’s growth in Europe.

Conductor has completed its second acquisition in a year with the purchase of Searchmetrics, which follows the company’s significant funding round from Bregal Sagemount in 2021.

This acquisition is seen as a sign of Conductor’s recent growth. It is expected to solidify its position as a leading player in the SEO space by incorporating the strengths of both companies for their shared customers.


Featured Image: dotshock/Shutterstock



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How to Execute the Skyscraper Technique (And Get Results)

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How to Execute the Skyscraper Technique (And Get Results)

In 2015, Brian Dean revealed a brand-new link building strategy. He called it the Skyscraper Technique.

With over 10,000 backlinks since the post was published, it’s fair to say that the Skyscraper Technique took the world by storm in 2015. But what is it exactly, how can you implement it, and can you still get results with this technique in 2023?

Let’s get started.

What is the Skyscraper Technique?

The Skyscraper Technique is a link building strategy where you improve existing popular content and replicate the backlinks. 

Brian named it so because in his words, “It’s human nature to be attracted to the best. And what you’re doing here is finding the tallest ‘skyscraper’ in your space… and slapping 20 stories to the top of it.”

Here’s how the technique works:

Three steps of the Skyscraper Technique

How to implement the Skyscraper Technique

Follow these three steps to execute the Skyscraper Technique.

1. Find relevant content with lots of backlinks

There are three methods to find relevant pages with plenty of links:

Use Site Explorer

Enter a popular site into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. Next, go to the Best by backlinks report.

Best pages by backlinks report, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

This report shows you a list of pages from the site with the highest number of referring domains. If there are content pieces with more than 50 referring domains, they’re likely to be good potential targets.

Sidenote.

Ignore homepages and other irrelevant content when eyeballing this report.

Use Content Explorer

Ahrefs’ Content Explorer is a searchable database of 10 billion pages. You can use it to find mentions of any word or phrase.

Let’s start by entering a broad topic related to your niche into Content Explorer. Next, set a Referring domains filter to a minimum of 50. 

We can also add:

  • Language filter to get only pages in our target language.
  • Exclude homepages to remove homepages from the results.
Ahrefs' Content Explorer search for "gardening," with filters

Eyeball the results to see if there are any potential pieces of content you could beat.

Use Keywords Explorer

Enter a broad keyword into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. Next, go to the Matching terms report and set a Keyword Difficulty (KD) filter to a minimum of 40.

Matching terms report, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Why filter for KD? 

The reason is due to the method we use at Ahrefs to calculate KD. Our KD score is calculated from a trimmed mean of referring domains (RDs) to the top 10 ranking pages. 

In other words, the top-ranking pages for keywords with high KD scores have lots of backlinks on average.

From here, you’ll want to go through the report to find potential topics you could build a better piece of content around. 

2. Make it better

The core idea (or assumption) behind the Skyscraper Technique is that people want to see the best. 

Once you’ve found the content you want to beat, the next step is to make something even better

According to Brian, there are four aspects worth improving:

  1. Length – If the post has 25 tips, list more.
  2. Freshness – Update any outdated parts of the original article with new images, screenshots, information, stats, etc.
  3. Design – Make it stand out with a custom design. You could even make it interactive.
  4. Depth – Don’t just list things. Fill in the details and make them actionable.

3. Reach out to the right people

The key to successfully executing the Skyscraper Technique is email outreach. But instead of spamming everyone you know, you reach out to those who have already linked to the specific content you have improved. 

The assumption: Since they’ve already linked to a similar article, they’re more likely to link to one that’s better.

You can find these people by pasting the URL of the original piece into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer and then going to the Backlinks report.

Backlinks report for ResumeGenius' how to write a resume, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

This report shows all the backlinks to the page. In this case, there are 441 groups of links.

But not all of these links will make good prospects. So you’ll likely need to add some filters to clean them up. For example, you can:

  • Add a Language filter for the language you’re targeting (e.g., English).
  • Switch the tab to Dofollow for equity-passing links.
Backlinks report, with filters, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Does the Skyscraper Technique still work?

It’s been roughly eight years since Brian shared this link building strategy. Honestly speaking, the technique has been oversaturated. Given its widespread use, its effectiveness may even be limited. 

Some SEOs even say they wouldn’t recommend it.

So we asked our Twitter and LinkedIn following this question and received 1,242 votes. Here are the results:

Pie chart showing 61% of respondents feel the Skyscraper Technique still works

Clearly, many SEOs and marketers still believe the technique works.

Sidenote.

According to Aira’s annual State of Link Building report, only 18% of SEOs still use the Skyscraper Technique. It’s not a go-to for many SEOs, as it ranks #20 among the list of tactics. I suspect its popularity has waned because (1) it’s old and SEOs are looking for newer stuff and (2) SEOs believe that content is more important than links these days.

Why the Skyscraper Technique fails and how to improve your chances of success

Fundamentally, it makes sense that the Skyscraper Technique still works. After all, the principles are the same behind (almost) any link building strategy:

  1. Create great content
  2. Reach out to people and promote it

But why do people think it’s no longer effective? There are a few reasons why and knowing them will help you improve your chances of success with the Skyscraper Technique.

Let’s start with:

1. Sending only Brian’s email template

In Brian’s original post, he suggested an email template for his readers to use:

Hey, I found your post: http://post1

<generic compliment>

It links to this post: http://post2

I made something better: http://post3

Please swap out the link for mine.

Unfortunately, many SEOs decided to use this exact template word for word. 

Link building doesn’t exist in a vacuum. If everyone in your niche decides to send this exact template to every possible website, it’ll burn out real fast. And that’s exactly what happened.

Now, if a website owner sees this template, chances are they’ll delete it right away. 

Sidenote.

Judging by my inbox, there are still people using this exact template. And, like everyone else, I delete the email immediately.

I’m not saying this to disparage templated emails. If you’re sending something at scale, templating is necessary. But move away from this template. Write your own, personalize it as much as possible, and follow the outreach principles here.

Even better, ask yourself:

What makes my content unique and link-worthy?”

2. Not segmenting your prospects

People link for different reasons, so you shouldn’t send everyone the same pitch. 

Consider dividing your list of prospects into segments according to the context in which they linked. You can do this by checking the Anchors report in Site Explorer.

Anchors report, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

You can clearly see people are linking to different statistics from our SEO statistics post. So, for example, if we were doing outreach for a hypothetical post, we might want to mention to the first group that we have a new statistic for “Over 90% of content gets no traffic from Google.”

Then, to the second group, we’ll mention that we have new statistics for “68% of online experiences.” And so on. 

In fact, that’s exactly what we did when we built links to this post. Check out the case study here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

3. Not reaching out to enough people

Ultimately, link building is still a numbers game. If you don’t reach out to enough people, you won’t get enough links. 

Simply put: You need to curate a larger list of link prospects.

So rather than limiting yourself to only replicating the backlinks of the original content, you should replicate the backlinks from other top-ranking pages covering the same topic too.

To find these pages, enter the target keyword into Keywords Explorer and scroll down to the SERP overview.

SERP overview for "how to write a resume," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

In this example, most top-ranking pages have tons of links, and all of them (after filtering, of course) could be potential link prospects.

Pro tip

Looking for even more prospects? Use Content Explorer.

Search for your keyword, set a Referring domains filter, and you’ll see relevant pages where you can “mine” for more skyscraper prospects.

Referring domains filters selected in Ahrefs' Content Explorer

4. Thinking bigger equals better

Someone creates a list with 15 tools. The next person ups it to 30. Another “skyscrapers” it to 50, and the next increases it to 100.

Not only is it a never-ending arms race, there’s also no value for the reader. 

No one wants to skim through 5,000 words or hundreds of items just to find what they need. Curation is where the value is.

When considering the four aspects mentioned by Brian, don’t improve things for the sake of improving them. Adding 25 mediocre tips to an existing list of 25 doesn’t make it “better.” Likewise for changing the publish date or adding a few low-quality illustrations. 

Example: My colleague, Chris Haines, recently published a post on the best niche site ideas. Even though he only included 10, he has already outperformed the other “skyscraper” articles:

Our blog post ranking #3 for the query, "niche site ideas," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

He differentiated himself through his knowledge and expertise. After all, Chris has 10 years of experience in SEO. 

So when you’re creating your article, always look at any improvement through the lens of value:

Are you giving more value to the reader? 

5. Not considering brand

As Ross Hudgens says, “Better does not occur in a branding vacuum.”

Most of the time, content isn’t judged solely on its quality. It’s also judged by who it comes from. We discovered this ourselves too when we tried to build links to our keyword research guide.

Most of the time, people didn’t read the article. They linked to us because of our brand and reputation—they knew we were publishing great content consistently, and they had confidence that the article we were pitching was great too.

In other words, there are times where no matter how hard you “skyscraper” your content, people just won’t link to it because they don’t know who you are. 

Having your own personal brand is important these days. But think about it: What is a “strong brand” if not a consistent output of high-quality work that people enjoy? One lone skyscraper doesn’t make a city; many of them together do.

What I’m saying is this: Don’t be discouraged if your “skyscraper” article gets no results. And don’t be discouraged just because you don’t have a brand right now—you can work on that over time.

Keep on making great content—skyscraper or not—and results will come if you trust the process.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour.” 

Final thoughts

The Skyscraper Technique is a legitimate link building tactic that works. But that can only happen if you:

Any questions or comments? Let me know on Twitter.



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