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KeySearch is one of the most popular keyword research tools for bloggers and online business owners. But how do you actually use it? In this step-by-step tutorial, I’ll show you exactly how to use KeySearch to find keywords that will grow your blog traffic… and income!
Keyword research is a hugely important part of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). In fact, I would argue it’s the most important part of SEO.
Because you can do everything else right, but if you write blog posts on topics no one is searching for you won’t get any traffic… and if you write blog posts on topics that are too competitive, you won’t stand a chance of ranking… and so you’ll get no traffic.
One of the most popular tools on the market for keyword research is KeySearch* – and for good reason. KeySearch offers a suite of powerful, yet easy-to-use, keyword research and SEO tools at a much more affordable price point than its competitors.
(Want to learn more about KeySearch and why I recommend it? Read my full KeySearch Review here.)
But just owning KeySearch isn’t going to magically improve your keyword research! You need to know how to use it correctly to find those all important high volume, low competition keywords that will increase your blog traffic… and your income! (Research shows that there is a strong correlation between number of pageviews and income.)
In this step-by-step KeySearch tutorial, I’ll show you exactly how to use KeySearch for keyword research – plus a few bonus tips for getting the most out of KeySearch!
**Psst… If you decide after reading this KeySearch Tutorial that you want to purchase KeySearch, you can get 30% off with my exclusive coupon code PB30**
How to use KeySearch for keyword research: step-by-step tutorial
Step 1: Brainstorm niche ideas
KeySearch has several brilliant tools for brainstorming ideas for Keyword Research. For the purposes of this tutorial we’ll look at just 1 of these tools: The KeySearch Brainstorm tool.
(If you want to learn how to use the more advanced ideation tools in KeySearch, check out my full SEO course, SEO Jumpstart, which has a whole module on advanced keyword research strategies using KeySearch.)
Head to KEYSEARCH >> KEYWORD RESEARCH >> BRAINSTORM and type in a ‘seed’ keyword.
I recommend you start with one of the main topics your blog covers. For example, let’s suppose you have a running blog, and one of your main topics is training for a marathon.
You could start with the seed keyword ‘training for a marathon’…
KeySearch will then give you a list of related keywords taken directly from Google and other search engines. I recommend you copy and paste all of these into a spreadsheet and then remove any that are not a good fit for your website.
At this stage, do not worry about Volume or Keyword Difficulty scores, we’ll deal with that later. For now, just concern yourself with whether they would be a good fit for your website, bearing in mind your target audience and topical authority.
You can repeat this process using other related seed keywords, for example ‘marathon training’, ‘marathon training plan’. You can also use keywords from your spreadsheet – for example ‘trail marathon’ ‘marathon tips’ and ‘marathon nutrition’.
Keep going until you have a list of at least 100 potential keywords.
Step 2: Eliminate keywords which are too hard
Next we are going to use the Quick Difficulty tool, which will allow you to quickly eliminate keywords you don’t stand a chance of ranking for.
This is an optional step but it will save you a lot of time if you have a very long list of keywords.
Head to KEYSEARCH >> KEYWORD RESEARCH >> QUICK DIFFICULTY
Now click on the green box to the left of where it says ‘Enter up to 50 keywords’ and it will give you the option to paste in a list. Simply copy and paste this list directly from your spreadsheet and hit SEARCH.
On the right hand side of the screen, you’ll see all your keywords with difficulty scores.
I recommend for now you simply delete any keywords which are showing in the ‘red’ – these are the hardest keywords to rank for.
Using the options in the top right, you can then save these keywords or export them to a CSV, but I find it quickest and easiest to simple copy and paste the data into a spreadsheet.
One small caveat: given the importance of topical authority, there may be keywords in this list that you don’t stand a chance of ranking for on Google but you should still write a blog post for. For example, ‘training for a marathon plan’ is a red keyword, but if you have a blog about training for a marathon, you should almost certainly have a post on ‘training for a marathon plan’, since this is a core part of marathon training. You may not rank for this post, but you can still get traffic to this post by linking from the posts that do rank to your ‘training for a marathon plan’ post.
Step 3: Refine your keywords
You now have a list of potential keywords to target.
Now it’s time to refine your keywords to find those all-important high volume, low competition keywords that will increase your blog traffic… and your blogging income!
Head to KEYSEARCH >> KEYWORD RESEARCH >> KEYWORD RESEARCH
Type in your first keyword, for example ‘training for a marathon for beginners’. Set it to the correct location if you only want to target 1 particular country or ‘All Locations’ if you want to target the whole world. Select ‘Related Keywords’ from the next dropdown. And hit Search.
On the right hand side, this will give you estimated Volume and Keyword Difficulty for the keyword you are researching. But it will also give you Volume and Keyword Difficulty scores for hundreds of other keywords.
There are 4 things you can do here:
1. Assess your target keyword
The first thing to assess your target keyword – does it have good enough volume and do you stand a chance of ranking for it on Google?
The Volume score will give you an indication of how many people are searching for that particular keyword each month. It’s important to understand that this is not a ‘perfect’ number. KeySearch (like all keyword research tools – even the really expensive ones!) does not have access to Google’s data, so this number will always be an estimate.
The Keyword Difficulty score will give you an indication of how easy or hard that keyword is to rank for. Again, this is only an estimate, but it’s a helpful guide.
How exactly you decide on ‘good enough volume’ and ‘do you stand a chance of ranking’ will depend on how much traffic you currently get and how authoritative your website is.
I go into this in a lot more detail in SEO Jumpstart, but if you are a new, or a relatively small blogger, I would aim for keywords with a volume score of 100+ and a keyword difficulty score that it green or blue (39 or below).
In our example, ‘training for a marathon for beginners’ has a volume of 1300 which is good, but a keyword difficulty score of 49, which would be hard to rank for if you are a relatively small blogger.
2. Sort by volume and/or keyword difficulty
Keysearch allows you to sort by volume and/or keyword difficulty – this is a great feature as it allows you to find related keywords which DO fit your personal parameters.
For example, by sorting by volume I found the keyword ‘6 month training plan for half marathon’ which has a Volume of 1300 and a Keyword Difficulty of 39.
3. Filter the related keywords
Another great trick is to use the ‘filter’ tool. So I could filter the results to show me keywords with a volume of 100+ and a keyword difficulty score of 0-39…
And I would get this…
You can also sort these results by volume and/or keyword difficulty.
Now obviously some of these results are not going to be useful – don’t write blog posts on topics which aren’t a good fit for your readers and your website. But take note of any topics that fit your parameters and ARE a good fit.
4. Check the SERP analysis
One final check, I advise you do for each keyword that looks good is check the SERP analysis on the left hand side. This analysis will show you at a glance what the search engine results page looks like for the keyword you are currently assessing.
I go into exactly how to use the SERP analysis to assess your keyword in SEO Jumpstart, but the thing I recommend you pay close attention to is the DA column.
While DA is only an estimate of authority and not something Google pays attention to, it does give you a good idea of how authoritative the sites are that are currently ranking for that search term and whether you stand a chance of ranking for a particular keyword.
Step 4: Create a spreadsheet of potential keywords
The next step is a simple one: add any keyword that fits your own personal parameters to a spreadsheet, together with the Volume and Keyword Difficulty scores.
You can export the data to a CSV file, using the tool in the top right had corner of KeySearch, but I find copying and pasting is easiest.
Step 5: Sort your spreadsheet to find ‘gold nugget’ keywords
Now you can sort your spreadsheet to find those all-important ‘gold nugget’ keywords that are likely to deliver the most traffic to your blog post.
There are many ways of doing this, but I like to assign each Volume a score between 1 and 5 (1 is lowest volume, 5 is highest volume), and each Keyword Difficulty a score between 5 and 1 (5 is easiest, 1 is hardest).
This then gives each keyword a score between 2 and 10 – where 2 is lowest traffic potential and 10 is highest traffic potential.
I then sort my spreadsheet so the 10s are on the top and the 2s are on the bottom. The keywords with the highest score are your ‘gold nugget’ keywords!
(I go into this whole process in much more detail, as well as providing a done-for-you KeySearch version of my Keyword Research Calculator spreadsheet, in SEO Jumpstart.)
Step 6: Add your ‘gold nugget’ keywords to your Content Calendar
Now you have an ordered list of your ‘best potential’ keywords, your next step is to add these keywords to your content calendar.
Since your ‘10s’ are your highest traffic potential and your 2s are your lowest traffic potential, it makes sense to start with your 10s and work down the list.
However, you may want to take into account other factors, such as seasonality and topical authority.
For best results, I recommend that you go through this keyword research process once every 3 months to plan your blog posts for the next quarter. So, if you typically write 1 blog post per week, simply take the top 12 or 13 posts from your spreadsheet and plan them into your content calendar for the next quarter.
Step 7: Write your ‘gold nugget’ keyword posts
The next step is simply to write each blog post! However, there are 4 things you need to bear in mind here…
1. Write high quality blog posts
Here are 3 blog posts to help with this:
- How to write the perfect blog post (for search engines AND your readers)
- How to write high quality blog posts that rank (according to Google)
- How to write helpful content that ranks on Google – lessons from the Helpful Content Update
2. You need to optimize your blog post
It’s not enough to write a really great blog post on the topic of your chosen keyword, you also need to optimize your blog post for search engines.
You can find out more about how to do that here >>> How to use the Yoast SEO plugin to optimize a blog post 
3. Secondary keywords
You can also use KeySearch to help you find secondary keywords.
Before you write each post, type your main keyword for the post into KeySearch’s Keyword Research tool and make a note of any other good high volume keywords that you see on the right-hand side.
Try and sprinkle some of these secondary keywords into your post.
By including several secondary keywords into your post, you stand a better chance of ranking for multiple keywords. Also, because they are secondary keywords, you don’t need to worry so much about keyword difficulty!
(I go into much more detail about secondary keywords in SEO Jumpstart.)
4. You can use KeySearch to help you write your blog post
Did you know that KeySearch has AI writing tools built in?
You can use the AI Writer to:
- Create an blog post outline
- Help you write your page title
- Help you write H tags
- Create an intro paragraph
- Create a conclusion paragraph
- Create main content
- Create meta descriptions
- Create a listicle
And you can also use the Content Assistant tool to help you improve your content…
Step 8: Rinse and repeat
For best results, I recommend you go through this whole process once every 3 months.
So, once you have written the first quarter’s blog posts, come back to this tutorial and go through each step again to come up with a new list of ‘gold nugget’ keywords for the next quarter!
(If you are on a tight budget, you can do all your keyword research for a year in one hit – see Tip 12 below.)
Step 9: Watch your traffic soar!
If you have followed all the steps in this tutorial, you should see a very positive increase to your blog traffic (and your blogging income, since there is such a strong correlation between pageviews and income.)
However, there are two very important thing to bear in mind…
1. SEO often takes a long time
SEO often takes a very long time to ‘work’ – and that very much applies to the whole process of keyword research and writing a keyword-optimized post.
I have found, over the years, that it can often take 3-6 months for a well-researched, well-written, well-optimized blog post to really hit its stride and start sending really good levels of traffic. And in some cases, it can take 12 months – especially if your blog is new or small.
So, if you don’t see instant results, don’t panic! The more time that goes by and the more content you write, the better your results will be.
(Want to speed up your results? See Step 10!)
2. Keyword research is only one part of SEO
It’s also important to remember that keyword research is only one part of SEO. To get the full benefit from keyword research you need to get all the other parts right too.
If you want to boost your SEO and maximize your pageviews, check out my full SEO course >> SEO Jumpstart
(Not quite ready for a full SEO course, snag my free DIY SEO Audit!)
Step 10: Turbocharge your growth with the Content Booster Challenge
There is a strong correlation between the number of posts you write and traffic, so one of the best ways to boost your traffic is to write more blog posts!
The Content Booster Challenge (Traffic Booster Challenge) is a bonus module in SEO Jumpstart… but since you’ve made so far into this blog post, I’ll give you a sneak peek…
In the content booster challenge, you start by doing keyword research to find 30 ‘gold nugget’ keywords, then you write and publish 1 blog post per day for the next 30 days.
OK, so there’s a bit more to it than that, which I go into in SEO Jumpstart – and for best results you really do need to fix the rest of your SEO first, but at its core that’s it… So, if you are not in a position to get SEO Jumpstart right now, you can still do your own DIY version of the Content Booster Challenge!
Just follow the steps in this post to find those 30 ‘gold nugget’ keywords, then challenge yourself to write and publish 1 blog post per day for the next 30 days – I think you’ll be very impressed with the results!
(I did this a couple of times in my early days of blogging and it had a dramatic effect on my blog traffic and revenue.)
12 tips for using KeySearch for keyword research
1. Watch your credits!
Be careful. Every search uses credits and credits can go down quickly. If you are on the starter plan, you have 200 search credits per day, 2000 site audit per month and 5000 AI Credits per month.
To see your current credit balance go to ACCOUNT >> SETTINGS in the top right hand corner.
2. Volumes and Keyword Difficulty scores are only estimates
It’s important to bear in mind that monthly traffic volumes and keyword difficulty scores are only estimates. In the case of volumes, they can often be underestimates.
KeySearch (like all keyword research tools – even the really expensive ones!) does not have access to Google’s data, so this number will always be an estimate.
3. You can rank for multiple keywords
One of the reasons why volumes are usually underestimates is because most blog posts rank for multiple keywords – especially if you get your secondary keyword strategy right. (See STEP 7.)
So, bear this in mind as you do your keyword research, don’t reject a good keyword out of hand because it doesn’t have much search volume.
I have many blog posts on both my blogs which KeySearch and other keyword research tools tell me should get less than 100 pageviews PER MONTH – and actually get me 100+ pageviews PER DAY!
4. Use common sense and gut instinct
As I always say, common sense and gut instinct are two of your best keyword research tools. Don’t blindly trust KeySearch – or any keyword research tool, for that matter. Use your own common sense and gut instinct when doing keyword research – for example, choosing a keyword that looks like it has low volume because you just ‘know’ it will do well.
5. The more you do it, the better you get at it
Keyword research is both an art and a science. The ‘science’ bit I can give you in a tutorial like this and even more so in my SEO course. But the ‘art’ part comes from experience. Put simply, the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. Think of it like a muscle – the more you use your ‘keyword research muscle’, the stronger it will get and the better you will get at keyword research.
That’s one of the reasons why I recommend doing it every 3 months for best results. You’ll learn so much from your initial batch of content that you’ll be able to apply to your next round of keyword research – especially if you are doing secondary keyword research every week too.
6. It doesn’t always work – but it works ‘on average’
You can do everything right and for some reason a blog post targeting a total gold nugget of a keyword just gets no traffic. It happens to all of us. (Even me and I have 8+ years of keyword research experience!)
Whatever you do, don’t give up because one blog post flopped, or write the whole keyword research thing off as a waste of time!
Keyword research does pay off ON AVERAGE and IN THE LONG TERM.
No, not every post is going to do brilliantly, but for every post that bombs, there will be others that vastly exceed your expectations.
And remember, it takes time! Some posts will take a year or more before they start delivering the good traffic… (but then, on the flipside, sometime you’ll get a post that takes off in a matter of hours!)
7. Don’t neglect topical authority
I’ve mentioned this above already, but it’s so important I’m going to say it again: don’t neglect topical authority!
Sometimes that means writing a blog post that has a high difficulty score or a low volume estimate – but that’s OK. If the blog post is an important one to have on your website, then you need to write it – even if it won’t rank well on Google!
And remember, you can still get traffic to that post using good internal linking from the posts on your site that do rank.
8. Don’t spend hours every week on keyword research!
Every now and again I get a message from one of my readers telling me that they are spending hours and hours on keyword research. Don’t do that!
While there are huge benefits to devoting a few hours per quarter to doing keyword research for the next quarter, and ideally 5 minutes per week to doing secondary keyword research for each post, devoting hours and hours to keyword research every week is not time well spent – there is very much a law of diminishing returns at play here.
In fact, if you are spending hours and hours a week on keyword research, I recommend you reduce that drastically and write a second blog post each week instead – I can almost guarantee you that will produce better results for you if you want more traffic!
9. Keep a list of future blog post ideas
In between rounds of keyword research, I strongly recommend you keep a running list of future blog post ideas and jot down any good blog post ideas whenever you think of them.
That way, when you repeat this process in the future, you can miss out steps 1 and 2 and go straight to step 3.
10. Use Google Search for Step 1
Another variation to this process is to use Google for STEP 1, as outlined in this blog post on using Google Search for keyword research. This does take longer, but I find it delivers even better results.
11. Get a 30% off KeySearch
Even at full price, Keysearch offers incredible value for money – but why pay extra when you can get a discount!
12. On a tight budget? Just get KeySearch for 1 month!
For best results, I recommend paying monthly for KeySearch. This will enable you to go through this whole process every 3 months and do secondary keyword research on a weekly basis too.
However, if you are on a really tight budget and a monthly subscription to KeySearch is just too much right now, this is what I recommend…
Just get KeySearch for 1 month, do all your keyword research for the whole of the next year and make use of all the other tools as much as you can… and just remember to cancel before the month is out!
So, basically you can pay just $11.90 for all your keyword research for a whole year!
Over to you…
Do you have any questions about KeySearch? I’m happy to help – just type your question into the comments below. Or perhaps you have a few KeySearch tips or hacks of your own? I’d love to hear them – and I’m sure my other readers would too. Let us know in the comments below!
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