Response: Moz’s One-Hour Guide to SEO, Part 2: Keyword Research

Keyword Universe Map

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In last week’s episode of Whiteboard Friday, Rand Fishkin continues the One-Hour Guide to SEO with a segment on keyword research.

In this segment, Rand first lays out the goals of keyword research:

  • Understand the search demand landscape so you can craft more optimal SEO strategies
  • Create a list of terms and phrases that match your marketing goals andare achievable in rankings
  • Prioritize keyword investments so you do the most important, high-ROI work first
  • Match keywords to pages on your site to find the gaps

After this, he explains the different types of results on SERPS and provides some data on mobile vs. desktop CTRs and the search demand curve.

Watch the video for yourself, it’s quite good.

My key take-away from this video was Rand’s keyword universe map.

After giving all of this context, Rand accomplishes all four of the goals he presents with this effective presentation of keyword research.

I’ve created my own mini keyword universe map, set up exactly the same way as in the video.

Keyword Universe Map

I like this format a lot, especially the business value and priority column. By setting up your keyword research this way, you create a solid foundation for SEO. Once this is done, you have your tasks laid out for you in priority order.

In my example, I’ve deemed “medical malpractice lawyers near me” as priority 1. Its difficulty is fairly low, though not the lowest on my list, but its CTR is phenomenal. It has a decent volume, but it’s still a long-tail keyword with strong search intent and not quite in the “chunky middle.” The SERP for this keyword has organic and paid results, as well as maps results (kind of a no-brainer, with a keyword like this). Because of this, I want to focus effort on getting on that map.

Conversely, “medical negligence” is my number 5 priority. This is the only SERP on my list with a knowledge panel (which is currently taken by a competitor), and I love the idea of having my client in that spot, but the difficulty is relatively high and the searcher intent is the lowest on this list. Without “lawyers,” this query is mostly informational, but I don’t want to lose out on this space entirely, as many competitors are bidding for this query.

TL;DR: Rand’s keyword universe map is an excellent way to analyze your research and make actionable insights. My favorite aspect of this has to be the priority column – it really focuses your research and creates an easy-to-follow checklist.

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