You want a vacation. You deserve a vacation.

But would you ever go to the airport, pick a random gate, and just hop on a plane?

Of course not. It sounds stupid to even suggest it… but this is exactly what people do when they spend hours “fixing” their website and writing blog posts without doing keyword research. It’s like hoping on a plane without knowing where you want to go.

Google isn’t going to magically put you in the right place (in front of your customers) unless you know where those customers are. The way you figure that out is through keyword research.

Over the years I’ve developed a simple process for how to do keyword research in under 5 minutes. In this article I’ll walk you through it quickly.

1. List your main services (topics) and identify your biggest competitors

If you are a dentist your services might be implant dentistry, veneers, braces, etc. To find your main competitors simply type your main service into Google, i.e., “implant dentist nyc” and pick the top 3 companies that show up.

2. Put competitors into Ahrefs.com

Ahrefs.com is the best tool to scope out competitors, period. The tool is a minimum $99 a month but there is a 7-day money back guarantee so, if you felt so inclined…

Anyway, put your main competitors into Ahrefs, click on “organic keywords” and export a list of at least a thousand keywords. You can repeat this process for all your major competitors.

3. Type main topics into Moz Keyword Explorer

Moz.com offers a free month trial. So sign-up for that to use their keyword explorer. Enter in your main topics and export the list.

Between steps (2) and (3) you should have a list of a few hundred (if not thousand) keywords.

4. Get Google search volume and suggested bids

Sign in to the Google Keyword Planner, click “get search volume data and trends”. Copy and Paste your list of keywords into the box, click “get search volume”. On the next page click “download” and open the file.

5. You’re done!… well, not really…

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At this point, you’ve completed the gathering info part of keyword research (in under 5-minutes!) but you still need to organize and prioritize the list.

You’re going to need to do some formatting to clean up your list. The info that I care about are keywords, search volume, and suggested bid (CPC).

The next step is an epic pain in the neck but absolutely crucial. You’re going to want to comb through every single keyword and delete all the ones that don’t make sense.

This is going to take a long time so either grab a coffee or outsource this to someone who knows your business well.

After that’s done you’re going to need to prioritize the list…

How to prioritize

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It’s your forgotten friend, MATH!

The best way to prioritize your list is using metrics. You want some way to take into account search volume, CPC, keyword difficulty, and the importance to your business.

So add two columns – one for keyword difficulty (can be found using Moz Keyword Explorer) and another for Importance. Importance is the importance of the keyword to your business on a scale from 1-10 (10 being the best). Go through each of the keywords and enter in your importance rating. Use the Keyword Explorer to get the difficulty numbers.

Now you’ll have to create a formula to give each keyword a Score.

I like to first get the average for the different metrics. Calculate the average search volume, average CPC, average keyword difficulty, and average Importance for the entire group of keywords.

Next calculate how each keyword compares to the average. Example:

Score = (volume / ave volume) + (CPC / ave CPC) – (difficulty / ave difficulty) + (importance / ave importance)*3

In this example I’m multiplying Importance by 3 because that metric matters the most to me. Difficulty is being subtracted because high difficulty is a bad thing. You can play around with the formula by weighting the different metrics however makes sense.

Once you have the score column calculated sort the sheet by score, highest to lowest, and you are good to go!

If you want more details on this you can check out my do-it-yourself SEO Course. In the course there’s a video that goes step by step on how to perform high-level keyword research.