In this lecture we are going to discuss “Keyword Research For Link Building “

Not so long ago, this was one of the most straightforward steps in any link building campaign.

Google would provide the list of keywords driving organic search to your site. You would build links using the top keywords as anchor text. You would look for opportunities for traffic by identifying the search terms you were getting some traffic from but ranking poorly.

You would start a link building campaign focusing on these keywords. The anchor text would work with other on-page factors and confirm what your site was “about.”

Straightforward to understand, straightforward to manipulate.

Not anymore.

Building a slew of links with exact-match anchor text is now considered a link scheme. Even if this weren’t the case, this would be difficult to continue to do as Google no longer gives you your keywords for free. As of September 23, 2013, 100% of Google’s searches are secure, which means that analytical data no longer exists for Google’s organic search traffic.


Say you’re starting a link building campaign for a site that sells handcrafted, gourmet pickles. If Google still provided keyword data, this is where you would have started to figure out which keywords drive traffic to your site and which could drive more traffic to your site.

Since we’re building links, we’re going to assume that the intent behind our keyword research is to find new keywords to rank for that will drive your link building strategies.

If asked to describe your product in the simplest of terms, you would likely say that you sell pickles. Pickles is a broad keyword, or a head term, which means that it’s more difficult to rank for because a wider variety of websites could potentially rank for “pickles.” Along these lines, the more specific the keyword or keyword phrase, the easier it is to rank. So from here, you want to ask yourself:

• What kinds of pickles do I sell? What makes my pickles better than my competitors?
• What can people do on my site?

This would be a decent starting place but you could beef up the list by adding modifiers that add things such as a date (“pickles 2014”), quality (“best pickles,” “expensive pickles”), or location (“boise pickles” or “pickles boise”) Also consider adding phrases that reflect what people can do on your site. This will give you a list of potential conversational search queries, such as:

• buy pickles
• buy pickles online
• where to buy pickles online.

So Lets Consult the Google Adwords Keyword Planner

While Google Analytics may no longer provide the keyword data for your particular site, it does provide organic search traffic data through its Adwords Keyword Planner tool. This tool was designed to help users choose keywords for their paid ad campaigns it will also:

• tell you the number of times each of your brainstormed phrases has been searched on Google in the past month
• suggest keyword phrases related to your general keywords

These results show us that of our initial keywords list, “pickles”
receives the most search volume, followed by “dill pickles” and “pickled cucumbers.” In deciding which keywords to focus on, you also want to consider the “suggested bid.”

As you can see, when I entered “pickles,” “dill pickles,” and “gourmet pickles,” the Keyword Planner suggested a number of keyword phrases I hadn’t considered, many of which have a greater search volume than ones that I had initially written down.

You will want to come back to this after we search for your competitors’ keywords using SEMRush.

This wouldn’t be SEO if you weren’t concerned with what words your competitors use, especially if your competitors rank higher than you do in the Search Engine Results Pages better known as (SERPs). SEMrush provides tools that can give you similar keyword data to the Keyword Planner, but can also give you insight into what keywords your competitors are ranking for in addition to what keywords your site is ranking for.

When you click “search,” you will be brought to a page that shows the “Organic report for URL,” with an option to view the full report.

Here, you can see that they rank for a number of terms that we hadn’t considered. We can also see that they rank for their brand name.

Their target suggests that while brand terms, product terms, and competitor terms are more likely to lead to conversion, it is wise to consider substitute product terms such, as relish and olives, complementary product terms such as hamburgers and bloody marys, and audience terms like cocktail garnishes and spicy foods. The outermost terms on the target will actually be the most helpful when determining your link building keywords.

The next challenge is narrowing down which of these keywords to focus on and pinning down the most effective keywords to use for your link building anchor text.