2 Techniques for Faster Keyword Discovery, More Rewarding SEO

SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. And at some point, your businesses is likely to experience a lull in organic traffic performance that requires you to mix up your strategy to get back on track. One way to do this is through dynamite keyword discovery.

The search landscape is always changing. This includes what people search for, how they search, and what syntax – or combination of words and phrases – they use to search for things.

Efficient and resourceful keyword discovery, done on a regular basis, is key to a strong content strategy and rewarding SEO over the long term.

So whether you’re in an SEO slump, or just trying to start SEO, use these 2 keyword discovery techniques to quickly identify promising terms.

1. Competitor Keyword Analysis

Most of us are pretty aware of who our customers are. But the likelihood of you and your competitors reaching exactly the same customers is pretty low. So, that means that digging into their audiences and how they’re communicating with them will probably reveal some great new opportunities.

All that to say, doing a competitive analysis + researching your competitors’ keywords is a great way to uncover:

  1. How they’re reaching audiences similar to yours
  2. What type of content they’re using, and
  3. What type of messaging they’re focused on

As a result, tapping your competitors for keyword discovery helps you:

  1. Expand your target audience(s)
  2. Refine your messaging with more specific phrases (i.e. long-tail keywords)
  3. Discover new messaging (i.e. keywords) you hadn’t thought of

You can do a competitor keyword analysis with Alexa for fast keyword discovery. Here’s how.

Enter the Competitor Keyword Matrix

the-matrixIn Alexa’s new Competitor Keyword Matrix, you can compare up to 10 sites at the same time.

The heat-map style view will let you quickly find competitors’ keywords that are different from your own.

You can filter the Matrix results by Sites in Common, Competition, or Popularity.

And you can use the purple shaded Traffic Scores to identify just the type of keyword opportunity you’re looking for.


For instance, you might want to target keywords your competitors get a lot of traffic from. These keywords are shown as dark purple boxes in the Matrix. One reason to target these terms is because they have proven interest. If you choose to focus on this type of keyword opportunity, your next step would probably be to research what kind of content your competitors are creating around these terms. Then, you could develop your own SEO content that’s better in some way. Maybe you elaborate on the subject. Or maybe you fill in missing pieces and include new research or recommendations.

Read this blog if you’re interested in learning other ways to approach competitor keyword analysis using the Matrix.

Regardless of what approach you take, or what type of analysis you do, the Competitor Keyword Matrix is a great way to identify high-opportunity keywords based on gaps with your closest competitors.

Need to find sites for your competitor keyword analysis? Start with our Audience Overlap tool. This will give you a list of other sites that share visitors with the site you entered.

Researching your competitors’ keywords is a dependable path to quick keyword discovery. And with the Matrix, you can separate the wheat from the chaff quickly, honing in on only the best keywords for your site.

2. Long Tail Keyword Research

Many people try to go after broad, higher competition keywords. In his article on Marketing Profs, Alexander Kesler puts this group of keywords in the “Fat Head” of the Search Demand Curve.

But there are several challenges with targeting broad, high competition keywords.

1. These major keywords make up only a small portion of total search volume.

2. The terms usually aren’t very specific and don’t accurately capture search intent.

3. They’re very popular, which makes them very competitive.

These “Fat Head” terms are bloated with competition, and they’re bloated in meaning.

Take, for example, a search for the broad term: marketing automation.

A person searching for this term may actually intend to find information on any of the below:

  • Marketing automation software (tools)
  • Marketing automation specialists (jobs/hiring)
  • Marketing automation tutorials (education)
  • Marketing automation certification (training)

By targeting these “Fat Head” terms, you’re more likely to blindly create content without really knowing what the user is searching for. Thus, you waste time on content that’s going to be thrown into a sea of search, crowded with others competing for the same 10 SERP spots. And in the end, you aren’t totally sure what the user was searching for in the first place!

But you’re in luck. Kesler’s Search Demand Curve points out that there’s a huge portion (70%) of search volume available for tapping. This 70% is comprised of long tail keywords.

Unlike “Fat Head” keywords, long tail keywords are usually a bit longer (in length). However, this makes them much more targeted – more intent specific. And you’ll have a much better idea of what people are looking for when they search.

Just think of marketing automation vs. marketing automation certification study guide.

It’s MUCH clearer what the searcher intended to find with the second, long tail phrase.

And because long tail keywords are more specific, your content will be more targeted. More targeted content more accurately satisfies search intent. And if search intent is satisfied, conversion is more likely.

In short, there’s a large slice of search volume made up of high-opportunity long tail keywords that may be very specific to your business. And these keywords have a high reward potential.

The goal: Strive for lean. Strive for long tail. Don’t get lost in the “Fat Head”.


Leverage Alexa’s Keyword Difficulty Tool for low competition, long tail keyword discovery.

Start with Competitive Power

Knowing your Competitive Power is the basis for any smart keyword research strategy. It basically tells you what level of keyword competition you can target that will result in the most rewarding SEO.

Alexa’s Competitive Power is the measurement of your site’s ability to rank for competitive keywords, based on your past performance driving organic traffic. The higher the Competitive Power, the more easily your site can rank for competitive keywords.

In the Keyword Difficulty tool, focus your keyword research on terms that are flagged with a lightning bolt. These are keywords that are at or below your Competitive Power – and those you’ll have the greatest chance of ranking for.

As a result, you’ll choose SEO keywords with more confidence that you’ll rank.

Find Highly Relevant, Long Tail Keywordsalexa-keyword-difficulty-tool

Using the Keyword Difficulty Tool, enter a seed word or phrase. We’ll return a list of results that you can filter to meet your specific criteria.

Filter the list by Competition score, Popularity, or by specific phrase. Continue narrowing the list until you have a collection of relevant keyword opportunities that you could create content around.

To integrate keyword research into your workflow, save the keywords that spark great ideas so you’ll have them handy later when you are ready to create content.

Read this blog for other ways to use the Keyword Difficulty Tool to find the best keywords for your website.

Long tail keywords may be lower in popularity than broad keywords, but they’re also lower in competition and are highly targeted to users’ search intent.

Alexa’s Keyword Difficulty tool can help make your keyword discovery easier, but also more focused. That way you waste no time because you develop the best content that will result in the most rewarding SEO.

Want faster keyword discovery and better results from SEO? Sign up for Alexa’s Advanced plan today. Your first 7 days are completely free.

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