Not to long ago we wrote a post that discussed the importance of creating engaging content for your directory website. This is a point that we can’t belabour enough. If you want to create a successful directory website, you’ll have to create content that provides value to your visitors. The directory is important but it’s the content that draws people in and keeps them coming back. Content is also what will help you rank for crucial keywords that attract traffic.
As you sit down to work on your content strategy, one of the first questions you’ll be asking is:
“What kind of content are my visitors searching for?”
In this post, we’re going to cover the basics of performing keyword research for your directory website. More specifically, how can you come up with a list of potential target keywords, categories and post topics. Keep in mind that effective keyword research is an ongoing process that you’ll have to repeat every time you sit down to refresh your content calendar.
It’s also important to remember that using tools to uncover keywords, does not eliminate the research process. Sure, some keywords will be easy to find, but others will require a little more digging.
Let’s jump right into the details, shall we?
Keep Your Keyword Research Simple and Repeatable
It’s possible to make your keyword research process quite complicated and generally that’s not a good idea. The more complicated and tedious your process is, the more likely you are to abandon it completely.
In creating a directory website, whether it’s for businesses, events,classified, tourism, job board or anything else, you should start with a broad list of topics that are of interest to your audience. From there you can narrow them down until you get to the point where you’re creating content that targets a specific keyword phrase.
For our purposes we’re going to use the following framework:
- Topics or Categories – Broad topics or categories that our visitors are searching for
- Keywords – Create a list of relevant keywords
- Post Topics – Create a list of keyword specific topics that can be targeted
Discover Categories & Topics Using Google Search
As a directory website, you’ve got it pretty easy when it comes to keyword research. Coming up with keywords and topics just takes time — most of the information you’re looking for can be easily found. The best place to start is at the top of the funnel and that usually means starting with the name of your destination. What are the general topics that your target audience might be searching for in relation to your directory website.
Let’s assume we’re creating a directory website that targets a popular tourist destination, Koh Chang Thailand. What are some general topics people might be searching for? The first thing we’re going to try is Google Search. Remember, at this point in time, we’re searching for broad topics or categories. In just a few second we come up with some rough ideas based upon Google autocomplete
- Koh Chang hotels
- Koh Chang beaches
- Koh Chang weather
- Koh Chang resorts
- Koh Chang hotels
If we continue typing the word Thailand, we get a few more ideas:
- Koh Chang things to do
- Koh Chang real estate
- Koh Chang nightlife
Already we’ve got some broad topic ideas that we can start working with. Many of these sound like great categories and potentially navigation items as well. As you’re doing this research, it’s a good idea to input your information into a spreadsheet. As it starts to become more detailed, you’ll want to create post topics that are well categorized.
Next, we head back to out Google Search and start typing in one of our categories from above. As you come across new ideas, add them ideas to your spreadsheet and look for new topics that merit further exploration.
For example, let’s perform a search for “Koh Chang things to do”, and take a look at the SERPs, we’ll find a whole list of potential topics. Dig into each of the top 10 URLs and make note of any potential topics.
Next, if you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you’ll find a list of related searches. You can add each of these to the “Koh Chang things to do tab”. Some of the items in this list of related searches might make good post topics while others might require a little further exploration. Related searched are also great secondary keywords that can be used within your posts.
You can also start digging into some of the top 10 posts in the SERPs. Using this opportunity to examine the on-page SEO for the top results.
Extract More Data with Google KeyWord Planner
Using the Google Keyword Planner is another way to uncover potential ideas. We can quickly discover an initial list of categories and then dive deeper into some of the target keywords.
Once you’ve loaded the Google Keyword Planner, you’ll notice 2 tabs at the top, just underneath your search volume trends. One is called “Ad group ideas” and the other is called “Keyword ideas”. We’re going to stick with the Ad group ideas tab as we search for ideas.
In just a few minutes we can come up with a list of relevant topics and post ideas that might be worth pursuing. For example:
- Best Hotel in Koh Chang
- Best Beach in Koh Chang
- Cheap accommodation in Koh Chang
- Best place to stay in Koh Chang
Clearly these are all pretty broad topics but they’d also make great detailed list posts. What if we wanted to come up with some ideas that are a little more specific? Going back to our list of things to do, you’ll notice some specific topics that provide the basis for an in-depth post:
- Koh Chang waterfalls
- Koh Chang scuba diving
- Koh Chang cooking school
You could even take this one step further and create individual posts for specific waterfalls, scuba diving locations and cooking schools. But before you do, plug the information into the Keyword Planner and take a look at the search volume like you see in the image below.
Keep Your Audience in Mind
This post is by no means a complete guide to performing keyword research. But it should be enough to get your creative juices flowing. With a little bit of effort, it doesn’t take long to come up with a list of great keywords, categories and topics for posts that have the potential to drive traffic to your website.
Creating a successful directory website takes time and effort. The most important ingredient is the content that you’re creating for your visitors.
If you’re struggling to come up with content ideas for your directory website, let us know in the comments below.