Episode 18 – Keyword Research

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Keyword Research

We share our thoughts on what types of keyword research are working and worth your time in 2021. So many people start off their SEO efforts with tedious keyword research that doesn’t always help their organic marketing efforts. Instead of getting frustrated with that process, we offer an alternative path.

Dylan: Hello, and welcome to episode 18 of the fuel, your photos podcast. Today. We're going to talk about keyword research and it's me, Dylan and Corey,

Corey: man. You know, if, if episodes were a years, our podcasts would be an adult today. That's right.

Dylan: I'm pretty proud of hitting episode 18. That's that's an accomplishment.

Corey: Yeah. And this is going to be a good one. We're going to make this one pretty conversational. Where are we talking about keyword research, just in general.

Dylan: Yeah. I mean, yeah, it's a huge topic because it's so much of what we do in SEO, especially like in the photography space. It's so, uh, I guess cute or content marketing in general is such a large part of SEO for photographers and keyword research.

Topic research is like, in my opinion, 70, 80% of the work, uh, So, yeah, it's going to be interesting. I'm

Corey: gonna have to dig in more on why, why you think that actually, you know what, let's just dive right in there. That was a bold statement. It is a bold statement. Tell me, tell me why it's so important. To do your research and pick your topics because when you say that, I don't think I want people to hear keyword research at 70% of SEO.

Definitely don't believe you're not a good quote, the right topics. Maybe that could be 70% or 80% of what it takes to be successful with SEO. Do you think maybe that is like a more accurate way of stating


Dylan: Exactly. So a lot of the time today, when we talk about keyword research, at least for me, I'm thinking more of topic research.

Uh, and I say that because while these individual keyword like exact spellings and plural or singular, uh, the order, if it's like a dog photography in Tucson or Tucson, dog photography, That does matter at the fringes in my mind, I just care about these topics and I, whenever I'm looking at a brand new project, if it's a brand new website or new client or something like that, I just want to get an idea of what topics can we create useful content around that their potential clients are actually searching for.

And what questions can we answer? And things like that. So for me, that's. The majority of content marketing is if you can nail that first part, the actual writing and the actual publishing, and what you do after is kind of like icing on the cake. But the, the really like important work for me is in that research.

Corey: Yeah. You know, I think personally, and this is really not what this episode's about, but I agree with what you're saying, but I think I would change it so that I would say. Understanding intent is the most important part of Tokyo all around. And I think that that really does fall into the keyword research category because that's where it starts.

That's where understanding intent has to start because we have to take the data for what people are actually searching. And then we need to make some sort of human. Um, intuitive guests about what did they mean? What did they need when they typed that? And so I guess really intent is heavily tied yeah.

To keywords. And maybe that's why keywords are so important. Yeah. I would agree with that, but it's ironic because I think during this episode, we're going to also. Kind of say that you're overthinking keyword research and it's not as important as you

Dylan: think. Yeah. That's also the case, but I think that's, and it's hard because we almost need better terms, but the traditional keyword research is way too much work for a very little payoff.

Whereas topic research with looking for that, those intenses. Where are you going to see so much pay off? So

Corey: it's, it's hard. Yeah. I think to tie into the intent, you know, talking about keyword research, one thing we're going to definitely want to touch on today is. How important it is to understand that different types of documents will work better for different types of queries, where if you're trying to rank for, you know, a wedding photographer in Portland, it's going to have very different factors and you're going to need a different type of page.

Then if you're trying to rank for, um, Seattle, Washington, helicopter, adventure, helicopter, adventure, elopements, like that's a very different topic. Um, You know, the, the article I published about, um, date night ideas for pregnant couples, very different expected type of content than maternity photographer, Dallas.

Right. So understanding that you can't just pick keywords and put them on any page you want and expect that to be enough for you to be able to rank that's going to be key as well.

Dylan: For sure. For sure. So would you say 500 words or a thousand words? Which, which one do you go to for those? Just kidding. It's like, I don't even know what you're trying to not relevant.

All right. So yeah, I guess to start the discussion on keyword research, do you want to talk a little bit about like search volumes and competitions and how different tools. Kind of estimate those and what they mean to you? Yeah. I mean,

Corey: well, we have an episode fairly recently where we compared keyword research tools and what we thought gave the best representation of volume and competition.

Um, if you're looking for those metrics, I think maybe where I would like to start is just talking about. Maybe some of the common perceptions of keyword research, like what do photographers think that keyword research means?

Dylan: Yeah, let's do it. I would say typically what I see is. I guess people probably pull up like ten-year-old Neil Patel or Brandeen videos or something, and it talks about building a spreadsheet and you need to figure out what terms, um, you're going to try to rank for.

And you're going to just plop in what the. Like volumes and keyword, uh, difficulties are for those terms. And you're going to be using synonyms and different orders and plurals and singulars. And some might be a question for them and some are, are not so it's. Um, and then like different modifying terms, like best, or, uh, I don't know, different stuff like that.

Um, And I feel like that's just kind of missing the Mark A. Little

Corey: bit. You know, I, I feel like for most photographers, they get stuck on keyword research in the very early stages where the only thing they're thinking about is what's the head term I want. My home page to rank for is exactly my photography case.

It might be wedding photographers in Columbia, South Carolina then, and they'll do all this keyword research to try to figure out which. Variation, they should use Columbia se wedding photographers, wedding Tarver in Columbia. See some other variation. What is it that people are searching and how, how many searches per month does it get and how difficult would it be for me to rank?

So they're definitely concerned with this idea of volume and competition for these kinds of really. Broad head terms, you know, it's, it's interesting because I think I have an article or a video out there from maybe like 16 or 17. And I was definitely teaching people. This is important. Like if you look at.

And I just looked at this by the way in search console, right before we started this, uh, wedding photographers in Columbia, see gets twice the search volume as a Columbia se wedding photographers. Interesting 300 versus 150 over three months. Um, and you know, in that earlier video where I posted.

Something similar to that. Look, you could get double the impressions by just changing your keyword. I feel like that might've been just a little bit naive of me and I feel like that's probably where a lot of people who are teaching SEO, especially in the photography space, they're still teaching that kind of thing.

And I don't blame them. I'm sorry. I did the same thing, but I think experience has taught me something completely different.

Dylan: Yeah. I mean, I. I think I've made that mistake a few times as well. Um, I can think of some huge projects as working on where I was like, Hey, we're using this singular version of this and we need to go to plural because there's five times as much search volume.

And we made that change and it didn't improve rankings at all. And actually traffic went down.

Corey: And so, yeah. Speaking of that, when I was looking here at search console, for those two terms, I actually rank better for the one that I don't use in my title. My like the one I focused on, I rank whole position worse on average than the one that the opposite.

And I wonder if it would change. Like if I switched, if I switched everything to the one that gets less volume. Would my, would the positions. Flip-flop probably not, it's not quite that straightforward.

Dylan: Well, it's, it's interesting that you, while you were talking, I pulled up my site's data as well. And it's the exact same thing I was, and I'm, I'm basing this off of the previous term that I was targeting a Portland wedding photographer and I'm ranking one position worse compared to the plural.

The singular gets 50% more impressions. Yeah. But I'm seeing six times as many clicks on the plural. It's it's weird.

Corey: Yep. Yeah. There's, there's some nuance here. There are cases where it's not quite that straightforward, but just know if you find a keyword that's slightly different, that gets significantly more search volume and you change to optimize for that keyword.

That does not necessarily mean that you're just going to start ranking better because you made that minor change. In fact, it might make it worse.

Dylan: I've even made spreadsheets using the expected click-through rates for each position. And then estimated like, Hey, if we make this one change from singular to plural, we're going to get this amount of new traffic or something that's wrong.

You know,

Corey: would you say that there are cases where it does make sense, a minor change, like singular plural, or like some small difference that you might seek? It's a big difference in search volume.

Dylan: I think I'd really be looking for that. If I saw that I had a much lower than expected click through rate, or if it wasn't natural, how it's worded or if I could, if I could figure out if there was, if there's some sort of slight difference in intent between the two where yeah, I think that that's, that's probably where I would really concentrate on it though.

I'm trying to

Corey: think of examples here, but I do think photographer versus photographers. You can have a slightly different intent for sure. You know, with photographer, maybe I'm looking for someone specific and maybe I'm looking for a list. Maybe I'm looking for a husband and wife team,

Dylan: right? Yeah. I've noticed that as well where plural can definitely signify.

It's a team and people. Look for

Corey: that. Right. I'm also thinking of, uh, okay, so getting into international SEO, I think of some, something like, um, Scotland or Italy or Greece, where often I will see that in the country, people might search for. Uh, Greek wedding photographer or Scottish wedding photographer or Italian wedding photographer outside of the country, people might search for Scotland or Greek, Greece, or Italy wedding photographer, you know?

So then knowing whether you want to target the people inside or outside the country or whether they actually mean ethnicity or whether they mean like located in those kinds of small changes might make a difference because of. The intent, if Google is good enough at detecting that there's a difference there.

Dylan: Yeah. I think you bring up a good point. I've seen massive differences in what people like, I'm thinking mostly about the European, uh, The sites that I've worked on. If they're targeting Americans, it's a much, it's a whole different list of topics and ways that people were the queries, even if it's all English, um, it's just totally different than if it's people inside their country.


Corey: Uh, also one more example, just thinking through. The difference between something that's very similar, but a very, it could be completely different topics. So in this case, let's talk about, you know, dog photography, Tucson, Arizona, versus pet photography, Tucson, Arizona. You'll find that if you do these searches, you'll get.

Mostly the same sites. And if you search for dog photographer, you might find all titles that say pet photographer or vice versa in different markets. Interesting. But yeah, you will find that there is potentially a different intent here. People who search for patents are for, it might not have a dog. They might have a bird or a cat or whatever else.

And you'll find that some of the people who do have a dog searched pet instead of dog. Yep. Yep. It depends on exactly what you're trying to mean, but don't get caught up in the fact that some tool tells you that it is, has more volume or less volume or more competition or less competition. And that's definitely going to be the golden keyword for you because it's easier.

Dylan: Yeah. Not always, not

Corey: always work like that.

Dylan: I know we went into a, it's probably a topic for a different day, but I know we went into it on the SEO tools comparison, but those keyword tools are so easily tricked. And I run into this on almost a weekly basis. When I'm talking with people about what keyword they're picking for a certain article or opportunity that they found.

And they're like, yeah, the competition is only one. And then you look at the first page and it's like New York times, Washington post, like yeah, guys. But I, I also think that there are ways that you can get around that and you've proven it with like your date night ideas, where content that's really crafted to, to optimize for the keyword and the actual intense behind it mixed with.

Sites that are authorities on the topic they're talking about. You can, you can still ring for those. So, yeah, I don't want to scare people away.

Corey: Let's talk a little bit about, uh, intuitive keyword research versus tools, and then maybe even let's talk about free or affordable tools versus premium tools.

Dylan: Yeah. So you just did a YouTube video on intuitive keyword research. I definitely recommend everybody goes over to the failure photos, YouTube channel, check that out. Uh, it might be easier to follow along with the video format because there's examples of everything there. Yeah. But the, in general, I feel like the process and I haven't watched your full video.

I need to, but the process I'm 99% sure you've used is very much the same that I used. When I'm doing posts from my own side or on my own projects. And it's, I I'll use an SEO tool generally to maybe find topic ideas maybe. And then I start just throwing those into Google. Like I. I don't do any further keyword research in the SEO tools.

I'm just looking at what is Google telling me from autosuggest and auto-complete, um, the people also ask section, uh, searches related to that topic, the image, bubbles, et cetera. Um, and I'm, I'm really trying to figure out what does Google do they think that there's one intent for this query? Do they think there's multiple?

Uh, is there like a positive and negative intent where maybe it's. They want to show the best of some product and maybe the worst or something like that, or why something's great and why some things not versus intent. Exactly. Um, I just try to build, build out a picture in my mind of. Who is making the search and how can I help them.

And then that's kind of where, where I start my process of outlining my post.

Corey: Yup. I will. I want to just jump in and say, if you're following some tutorial that is telling you to use, uh ad-words or not at worst Google keywords planner. Yeah. Uh, just, uh, just stop, like pulling your hair out and skip that step.

Um, because it's just not that good. Honestly, you get basically the same value out of just going to Google and starting to type in some phrases and looking at auto suggest an autograph. It's going to give you the, the ideas of things that people are typing around that topic and the volume that you're going to get out of.

Uh, keyword planner is just meaningless, pretty much. They're huge buckets, you know, zero to 10, 10 to a hundred, a hundred to a thousand, a thousand to 10,000, you know, whatever. Like that's not helpful. In comparing what is, you know, pretty much any query is going to fall into the same categories. So you're not gonna able to compare them that way, any kind of competition level it gives you is only for ads.

So yeah, I would just say if you're an expert and you want to use that as a way to, there's some filters you can use in keyword planner and kind of ways that you can search that might help you uncover related topics, uh, might help you find some interesting opportunities you can drop in. Um, competitor's URLs to generate ideas in keyword planner.

So there are some interesting things because it's free. You can get some interesting data, but I won't say it's like a worthless tool, but it's meant for running ads. It's not meant for organic keyword research and it's pretty limited.

Dylan: Yeah, I completely agree. Um, I will say that. On the other end of the spectrum.

Like first we talked about people relying too much on SEO tools to like create their keyword lists on the other far end of the spectrum. I do, I have seen examples recently of people not using any sort of estimate on volume and creating well-researched content, really like well-written and awesome content for keywords that nobody's ever going to search.

Um, You D you, I think you do need to somehow find out if there's an opportunity, if there's some sort of audience where the content yep. These SEO tools, aren't perfect. Um, even keywords everywhere, which is using the good version, the enhanced version of, uh, the ads. Google ads, keyword tool, um, will give you some idea of if people are actually searching for them.


Corey: Yeah. Let's jump to that and other tools in a second. Uh, but let me throw out an example here. We already kind of mentioned it a minute ago and this came from a thread in the Facebook group, but Seattle, Washington, helicopter, adventure elopements. Dig it guaranteed that gets zero searches per month in the world.

Like no one searches that exact term. In fact, I would say helicopter, adventure, elopements, especially Seattle's pretty typically the whole topic probably has essentially zero search. It could be a few, but it's very, very little. That being said, that doesn't mean you should give up on the idea completely.

What I like to do in these cases is, is figure out, is there a different angle I can take where the person who would be interested in that would be searching for something related or similar. So for example, What about a topic like helicopter rides, helicopter tours, Seattle that'd probably get search volume.

Exactly. Like, you know, doors off helicopter, Seattle. If that's a thing, or even maybe go into the, uh, helicopter rental or helicopter license, Seattle who knows maybe that's a hole maybe. Oh, you're gonna find people who are aspiring helicopter pilots who are also thinking about eloping. Um, There's multiple topics you could go after.

You could even go after like hella pads in Seattle for pilots who are already pilots who need to know where they can land and store their helicopter, helicopter storage, Seattle. There's a lot of topics there that probably do have volume, but. You have helicopter. If venture elopements probably gets none.

However, you take those topics that do have volume, put them on a site about elopements. And guess what? Now, whenever someone just maybe magically happens to type Seattle, Washington, helicopter, adventure, elopement. You're good. Your site is guaranteed to show up.

Dylan: Exactly. Yeah. I think my, my strategy for that exact term would be similar to yours.

I think I would be building one, uh, Helicopter based post for that location. Just like you were talking about with all those topics, it might be targeting helicopter rentals, uh, different locations. You can fight on the helicopter, things like that. Um, And I would maybe just have one heading that targets that adventure a little bit possibility and maybe a little paragraph about how we, I can offer that service.

Yeah. And you're guaranteed to be the only page on the internet targeting that. And if anybody is ever looking for you, they will. Yeah. I'm

Corey: even already thinking about like the, the, a different angle being. You know, I did one that was like engagement session locations in Columbia, but a big section of it was like day trips from Columbia.

Well, this kind of thing, B helicopter trips from Seattle. Can you hire a helicopter pilot to take you to some Epic place from downtown Seattle? And if so, what are some suggestions of cool spots that are only accessible by helicopter? That could be interesting.

Dylan: That'd be amazing. Like I'm interested in that post.

Yeah. And it it's enough that yeah, I would. I'm thinking about helicopter rentals. Yeah.

Corey: That would get search volume, but something around in Seattle, you're basically going to be able to kind of. Takeover that whole topic with a big page that covers multiple facets of helicopters in Seattle. All right. So let's go back to tools.

Um, you mentioned keywords everywhere. I think that's a great place to start, especially for if you're looking for free or affordable keywords, everywhere is $10 for a a hundred thousand credits. Uh, when credit is one keyword lookup in their database, which will give you volume. Uh, their competition is not a competitive score for how difficult would it be to rank?

It's more of how many ads are running for this or something along those lines. Yeah. But still to get volume and related keywords right there within your Google search, it's worth paying the $10. Just here's a tip. Turn it off when you're not using it. And you won't use up your credits.

Dylan: Exactly. Which is, yeah, I'm, I'm always so interested as I browse the web to see that, that, that data just as a, a nerd on SEO, but yeah.

Save your credits. Yep. Uh, super off topic, but I looked up helicopter, rental, Seattle, roughly 40 searches a month. Um, AHS says it's a nine for difficulty with, and all of the, uh, sites that are ranking are. Pretty much a group on two TripAdvisors and then five different helicopter rental

Corey: services. Yeah. I mean, I think it's definitely possible to do some sort of Roundup there.

Dylan: Yeah. You can push out the Groupon or the fricking trip at one of the TripAdvisors I would

Corey: say so for sure. It's worth going after the topic. It's just that you need to realize in that case, it wasn't about keyword research. It doesn't matter exactly what keyword you use. You need to go a little more generic probably and rank for the top.


Dylan: Okay. So for tools. So we

Corey: talked about keywords everywhere as a browser extension. Um, what, what else is something you would use regularly?

Dylan: Regularly simplified my own process so much to just kind of use Google, but, um, gosh, what's the, there's the site that, uh, you can type in and get all the questions there on the topic.

Answer the public. Yep. That, one's kind of interesting. Yeah. I think that one can lead you astray in the S the ways we were talking about earlier, where it's going to show some answers or some questions that don't have any search volume, and you're going to think there might be, but. They don't right. You kind of have to compare that with other

Corey: tools.

Yup. Um, there's other keyword tools out there. Almost all of them have gone. There used to be a, some decent free ones. Now they've all either gone premium or really strict limits on a freemium model. Something like keyword tool.io, Uber suggest, um, what's the. There's a couple others out there that are similar to those two.

And basically, did you, you know, that Uber suggests started off as just a auto-suggest scraper? I didn't know that first started. That was where it got its name. It was just like, It took the, it's kind of like keyword shitter. Now take you where you dump it in. And it goes that keyword space, a and it gets all it scrapes, all the suggestions and dumps them back into, um, the bucket.

And then it takes. That it goes to BCD and then it goes to the next keyword that it just dumped into the bucket. And does that same process that's exactly what keyword shitter does right now. Uber suggest used to be very similar to that back in its early days. I'm pretty sure at least there's, there's a couple others that did the same thing, but now I just feel like it's easier just to go look at the auto suggest, especially with keywords everywhere.

The auto suggest will also give you volume type beside them. So

Dylan: nice. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, at that point, you're kind of leveraging on Google to tell you which keywords are actually relevant to the topic you're looking at rather than creating entire lists and doing that whole process yourself.

Corey: Yeah. Do you think that if you were very concerned about volume and competition, just like in our episode, we compared the tools, I still recommend KW finder.

Um, low enough price. I think it's, if you only do monthly, it's like 50 bucks a month. Um, but you know, do that for a month or two and do your keyword research just for, you're looking for standard keywords, with some volume ideas and competition level ideas. That's a great tool for beginners. It's relatively easy to use.

Pretty inexpensive, you know, decent tool. Uh, there's also something like, I don't know if it's still called merge words. If you just Google like merge words, let me see what it comes up with. Um, Yeah, it looks like toptal.com is what comes up for merge words. I think they bought it, but it lets you put in, it gives you three columns and you could put in something like in the first column you put in city, like, so I can put Columbia, Greenville, Charleston, Lexington, and then in the next one, put specialties like wedding portrait, whatever.

Um, and then the third column I can put photographer photography. Et cetera. And it will give me, it'll just give me, uh, all the combinations possible from those columns so that I can take those and dump them back into something like the keywords everywhere. Bulk keyword, checker. Nice. So that's a great thing to use if you're looking to just like, I talked to someone recently, who's in Chicago and it's like, they want to know, is there any volume around any of the suburbs?

Um, the towns and cities then suburbs of Chicago. And if you want to find that out, this is one way that you could at least do a quick and dirty check. Um, you can't depend on it. A hundred percent like keywords everywhere is not going to have volume on everything. But at least it could show you if there's a lot of volume on something that you would be missing.

Dylan: Yeah. I'm yeah. I'm really trying to remember keywords everywhere using the Google ads, keyword tool. Do they bucket these keywords? Like if you look at, uh, Keyword like a Portland wedding photographer for Portland wedding photographers. Are those going to have the same volume in the tool, even though they're separate keywords possible?

Yeah, I think they, I think they combine in bucket then, which makes

Corey: the various and stuff. Sure. But if, if you're talking about like Columbia versus Lexington versus West Columbia, you know, I don't know what the servers or the Swartland are, but like if you come, if you're coming up with. Towns that are nearby.

And you're not sure if they have any search volume, if they at least have 10, even if it's a bucket, like it's just showing you, Hey, there's 10 here. If it says 10 on keywords everywhere, you know, just give it the benefit of the doubt it could. Yep. Agreed. That doesn't mean there's necessarily zero. It's just, again, this is a quick and dirty method to say.

Is there something simple here? I'm missing. By not targeting one of these towns or local. Municipalities or suburbs or whatever. There's interesting things that I've found in certain markets by doing this, I would say probably 80% of the time a merge word search on local towns is going to come up pretty much any empty handed.

Um, but that 20% of the time when it doesn't. I've seen it mostly in the major metros, the Dallas Fort worth, Houston, Chicago, um, Southern California, potentially. You'll come up with some really interesting stuff where like one of the beaches has tons of volume that you didn't think for family photography.

You're like what in the world? Um, so it does happen every once in a while. It's one of those extra tools you can throw in there if you want.

Dylan: Yeah. Do you think we should go through this list from the group and kind of talk about some situational. Let's

Corey: do it. Cool.

Dylan: Well, I'm talking about senior photographers in Atlanta being a keyword turnip.

Um, this person was in the East Metro. And they'd love to know how to, how often to add other cities instead of just Atlanta

Corey: and that one. I, yeah, I use that as the example in the YouTube videos. So I think it's worth going and looking at that because I showed how, whenever you search Atlanta senior photographers, first of all, if you're senior photographer, I know you're going to hate me for telling you this, but the general keyword is going to be senior pictures.

Just is almost across the board. Um, you can still rank for senior picture searches with senior portraits. Instead, if you really feel like you have to do that, but if you want to target the way that people are searching is senior pictures. Uh, and then as far as that goes in Atlanta, we were getting, uh, Marietta and, uh, one other, I can't remember which one, um, cities near Atlanta that were showing up as.

Searches related to, and in a lot of the different, um, titles on that page. And so that showed those probably are worth targeting. They probably have some search volume. Yeah. But like what let's say that there's nothing showing up like that. And you're in the East Metro and there's some towns and cities that you would think maybe people would search for this.

Maybe people should be searching Buckhead instead of Atlanta. That's not really East, I don't think. But, um, W is, is there any good reason to use those if they don't have any search volume based on any research tools you're using

Dylan: in my experience? Yes. Um, I think for two reasons first. There can be people slipping under the, or data slipping under the keyword tools.

So I've always seen, or in most cases, if it's a suburb of a, of a larger town, there's still going to be some search volume. Um, second you're adding relevance and you're showing that you cover the whole Atlanta area. Um, you could have a page that mentions all of the Atlanta suburbs that you've shot in and links out to all of those different blog posts to different, uh, Seattle, uh, Cities outside of the Metro area.

Um, so I do think it's worthwhile, especially if you're running out of ideas of how to optimize your blog posts. Like instead of just writing about Atlanta all the time, write about the other, other

Corey: areas. Yeah. I do think it kind of depends on why you're mentioning them. Like, let's say you have a studio that's in downtown Atlanta.

Is there. Like, what would be the reason for writing something about the suburbs? If you want to just list them on a page somewhere, it might help with adding some relevance because they're local entities. But I think the key here is can you find a way to get involved in. That town or suburb or city that's nearby.

Uh, can you go there and photograph a parade that they have and post pictures? Can you, um, you know, donate something to the local high school in that area and make a blog post about it? Can you, you know, what is it? I don't know. There needs to be some real relevance if you're just like. You know, you did a studio, um, shot of our shoot of a family in your downtown studio, and then you call it, uh, Marietta family photography.

Like that's silly it doesn't, it's not really related to Mariana at all. Right. What is it about the post that's relevant to the area? If you can work that in, in a way that makes sense. And there are tons of ways, by the way, you can get creative with this. But if you're just throwing it in as a keyword, you're going to have to either get lucky that no one else targeted it and you just happen to right there because it's very low competition and no one searches for it.

Um, yeah. Or it's just probably not gonna work.

Dylan: Yeah. Agreed. Um, do you, Oh, go ahead. Oh, do you want to talk about Seattle or did you use that in the video? And I use that one. Okay. So it looks like this person's targeting intimate weddings and elopements, um, Washington, Oregon, but mainly Seattle. They're asking about Seattle elopement photographer versus adventure live in Washington versus Washington elopement photographer.

Um, I guess, do you have any thoughts on that while I I'm going to plop these into an SEO tool real quick, just to see what it says.

Corey: I don't have any like, really specific thoughts here, although I do think it's interesting to talk about the difference between wedding elopement and intimate wedding or small wedding or backyard wedding or micro wedding, uh, which is actually another interesting keyword I've seen pop up quite a bit in a few markets.

Yeah. Uh, is it worth targeting? W how often is Google going to show the same results for terms that are closely related? How far away do they have to get for Google to start showing very different results? So, in other words, intimate wedding and elopement are very close in an EMMS, whereas micro wedding and wedding they're synonyms.

Of some sort, but they could have very different, intense micro wedding and elopement. I feel like her they're apart than intimate wedding and elopement and that's just my intuitive guests. But what are your thoughts on that?

Dylan: I think so too. Yeah. I mean, I. I have a hard time discerning between intimate wedding and micro wedding.

So I'm not sure there, but I do agree that it's like we have three separate bubbles where full-size weddings are their own topic. Google's finally able to kind of see the difference between those and elopements quite well. And then now people are throwing micro wedding into the mix and I'm, I'm not sure if Google's caught up yet, but when I read press or like major wedding blogs or.

Coverage on micro weddings. You can tell that there's definitely a different intent where it's people are still trying to plan a full-size wedding, but only for 10 or 20 period or

Corey: something about if there are 10 pages that are targeting micro weddings in the Hudson Valley, and you want to target the lope mints, micro weddings, intimate weddings, whatever in the Hudson Valley there.

I'm just trying to think through if, if your page is about elopements and intimate weddings, does it make a difference if there's already posts that are about specifically micro weddings or specifically intimate weddings, is that going to change the way that Google presents the results? I'm just trying to think of like, if there's no.

Results out there that specifically target micro weddings. And I feel like Google is going to return the results for elopements, but if there are results out there for micro weddings, does that mean you need a separate page for micro weddings than you would for elopements?

Dylan: I mean, I think they'll, it'll, they'll definitely prefer the micro wedding pages, if that's the exact term being targeted.

Um, even if there's that much of a difference in content or intent. So. I think if it was me and I was trying to kind of target that entire topic, I would probably have a page optimized for allotment or one of those pick any. And then I think as long as you had maybe an heading, that was like, what is a micro wedding and tips on planning, a micro wedding and micro wedding versus elopement or something like that.

You'd have a really good chance. I, I. Th these are often situations though, where to rank first for the term micro wedding in Hudson Bay or whatever it was. Um, you're probably gonna have to have a page like a cornerstone dedicated to that to micro weddings. Yeah. If that's what your competition is doing here

Corey: would be interesting to see for sure.

Dylan: Yeah. It depends how relevant they are. Depends on authority. Depends on how. How quality their content is, but

Corey: yeah. All right. So what'd you find when you plopped in Seattle venture elopement, Washington, Washington, a little bit photographer.

Dylan: Yeah. So Seattle elopement photographer has a 60 for volume in a dress and a 37 for keyword difficulty, which is quite

Corey: high.

I kind of love my topic and is

Dylan: especially, yeah, one of the most competitive markets I've seen in the element world, which makes sense because. In the wedding world, Seattle was always overly competitive as well. Um, adventure, a little bit Washington as, uh, an a for difficulty and zero to 10 for volume, kind of to be expected and Washington limit photographer.

Isn't pulling up anything, which is interesting.

Corey: Tell me why. That's interesting.

Dylan: Eh, there is so much more to Washington as far as elopement locations than just Seattle. Um, and maybe the, the problem that they're facing here is that the other locations are famous enough on their own, that people are specifically searching for Olympic national park allotment or Mount Rainier elopement, or, um, Gosh, I'm trying to think of the other most incredible places, but like there's so many mountain ranges and mountain towns and hikes and coastal areas.

And I think that those, those are just going to have individual location-based search volumes. Um, I'm I'm wondering why Washington aluminum photographer isn't okay. This is what it was a woman photographer. Washington state is one that shows up, um, That one's only showing a 10 for volume, zero, or not, not available keyword difficulty.

Corey: And this is one go back to the, the tips that I gave in the YouTube video about intuitive keyword research. So you go to Google and you type in hello and photographer, Washington state.

Dylan: Exactly. Yeah. I'm interested to see what it says for you. Um,

Corey: So, let me see if I'm just looking at the autosuggest or searches related to our elopement photographers, Seattle adventure, aluminum photographer, P and w elopement packages, Washington adventure, elopement photographer.

For some reason, I saw this yesterday, too. East coast, elopement photographer.

Dylan: Yeah. That's funny. It doesn't put all, I feel, I feel like somewhere I'd have to like go through the first few pages of. Results for a lot of these different terms, but somewhere there must be some like guide to allotment locations or photographers that mentioned like East coast, West coast caliber.

Like, I don't know. Some, somehow Google is pulling that. I don't know pretty much

Corey: all of the page titles that are ranking at the top are just Washington elopement photographer. Yep. Uh there's a lot of Seattle mentioned in the titles. A lot of adventure mentioned in the titles. So I mean, that person is on the right track with their intuitive guesses with Seattle aluminum photographer, adventurer, elopement, Washington, Washington, aluminum photographer.

Those are all good terms to use. And I think in this case, based on the volume, you know, obviously Seattle, my photographer is going to be the one with the most volume, but also the most competitive potentially out of those specific ones. And so. And we don't have to worry about just what ATF says about competition.

We just know that's going to be more competitive because so many people are targeting it. Um, I don't know. What, what would you do if you wanted to target those things?

Dylan: So I think I would probably, it depends where they're at with their site and their authority, but I think I would write off. I shouldn't say this.

I think in the short term, I would not expect to rank for Seattle elopement photographer in the first few pages. But I say that, and I've worked with a few people in different markets like this, where it even surprised me how quickly they were able to rank for those competitive terms. When they re really nailed the, the content and did everything right.

And the Google gods were in their favorites. Um, but I think I would target. Something like elopement photographer, Washington state, or just Washington elopement photographer. Um, I looked at the image search for that term and it's giving you so many good ideas. Like it has a whole section for Olympic national park elopements.

So that's really important. It's telling you that Mount Rainier is important. Snoqualmie falls. Um, they should mention mountains in Seattle and aluminum packages. And winter, like, I don't know. I feel like there's just endless content ideas. I wouldn't worry as much about the main term. I think that those take a while those can take a year to be competitive.

They can take two years in really competitive markets, but could you write a Mount Rainier Lowman guide? And can you rank that in the first few pages in a few months, more likely, um, Snoqualmie falls, ultimate guide, probably pretty easy. Um, Yeah, I think I would start just biting off those terms with a little bit less competition and more.

I guess opportunity for really high quality content. I think

Corey: so, too. And we mentioned earlier about like different document types, ranking for different types of keywords. I think this is one again, use some intuitive keyword research, go and do the search for something like Seattle, my photographer, you're going to see.

There's definitely gonna be a map for that, which means that Google is going to be basing the results pretty heavily on the searchers location and the location of the business in question where it's verified, even if. You don't need to have a studio location to do that type of photography.

Unfortunately, who my business is basically busted. It's terrible. Um, with the way that local search is heavily influenced by the location of the business and the searcher. And the title of, it's not talking about that, but anyway, um, just know you're going to have to do different things to rank for some of those that have a map pack versus the ones that don't.

Yeah. Um, uh, let's say it's faster this up. It's going to be like two hours long. And now, so let me just kind of hit some of the highlights on these and I'm going to be like, you give your thoughts first. Let's say you're trying to rank for family photos in Northern Kentucky, the person said that they don't.

See, um, any volume around Northern K Y or they haven't been able to rank for that, but they know people have to search for it cause they do. What do you say in cases like that? So this for Northwest Arkansas as well? Um, yeah,

Dylan: I would say, I guess what's what I would like to question them further on how they've never been able to rank for those keywords.

Um, does that mean that there's too much competition for those keywords or does Google just not pick it up or what's going on there, but. If, if you know that people are targeting that term, um, and the keywords tool say no, don't believe the keyword tools.

Corey: Yeah. Same thing. Again, another example, Northern Virginia NOFA people, or use those things all the time.

And often they won't show up in the search, a keyword research tools. Sometimes you just have to try them and then look in, in search console. So use Northern Virginia Nova. Uh, specific cities within Northern Virginia or counties or whatever, and then see which ones stick you'll often be surprised. You thought a lot of people were searching Northern Kentucky, but actually they just all searched for whatever city is in Northern Kentucky that you're trying to rank for.

Um, let's go to, if you want to rank for something that is really specific, that definitely is not going to have any search volume because too specific. We already kind of talked about this with Seattle, Washington. Hello, helicopter, Illumina photographers. But here's a couple of examples. Bocas Del Toro, Panama elopement, or eloping in the gate in Gates of the Arctic national park, like really specific queries like that.

Dylan: So I think you're fighting a few different. Variables there were allotments themselves in those areas aren't popular yet. And then maybe those locations aren't overly popular touristy and the wedding adjacent world. So I would, I would create the content. I would. Probably be sure to mention wedding more than a LA or like as well as elopement, just in case people are like, they're not hip to the fact they need to Google with the term elopement.

Even if they're planning a small wedding in Bocas Del Toro. Um, these locations probably lend themselves only to small allotments. Like you're not gonna have a 300 person wedding and Gates of the Arctic national park. Yeah, I don't think, um, and so I would just make it like. A guide to planning a wedding and Gates of the Arctic national park or tips for planning a wedding and get, get to the Arctic national park.

And then also heavily mentioned a little bit in that process. Yeah. I think that

Corey: is worth building that content. If it's something that you want people to know about, if you want to book more of it, often you can be the one who helps people realize that it's a thing. Right. So if you're a host kits, right.

Pinned on Pinterest a lot or whatever, you might create search volume around terms like those. Um, you don't want to waste all of your time going after things that definitely are not going to have search volume. Initially you need to have some mix, but throwing those in to your content list, I think is a great job or a great idea.

As long as it's like, you know, 20% or less of your overall topics. Yep. Uh, okay. Let's see. Let's talk about, uh, we already talked a little bit about dog versus pet and how there's some nuance there. We w this is, I don't know. Maybe we've even covered this in another episode. I can't remember. But what about if your site.

You're targeting wedding and family. And then let's say, you're, this guy is in Houston and Galveston, which are fairly close, but not like right next to each other two services in two cities. What do you do there?

Dylan: Figure out a better business model. That's I mean, I say that kind of is joke, but also like. I do think at some point specializing in one service and having a primary location is going to make it much easier for you to have a more concentrated marketing strategy.

Um, I don't know the exact populations of Galveston Houston is huge. Like if you can't just do weddings in Houston and be successful. Yeah, I don't know. Or if you can't just do families in Houston, same thing. Like, I think you just need to cut down the attempt to market for everything. I think

Corey: a lot of people will do the Galveston thing in Houston.

I'm pretty sure I can't remember off the top of my head, but I think

Dylan: is it like a high end market or

Corey: on the golf? So it's like one of the closest places where you would go from Houston to the Gulf coast itself? Um, yeah, I mean,

Dylan: At that point, create two separate brands, two separate sites, but yeah, yeah. In this situation they do.


Corey: I mean, yeah, I could work

Dylan: it, it depends once again, like it's going to require looking at the competition. Um, if you think you can rank an internal page for these secondary locations and services, then create an internal, a great internal page for Galveston family portraits. Um, but if it's going up against.

Really the competitive sites that their homepages and their entire website and brand is focused just on Galveston and family portraits on the beach. You're gonna have a really tough time. Um,

Corey: yeah. Yeah. I think maybe 15 years ago you would have been able to be a wedding photographer in Houston and have a page on your site.

That's like Alison family beach portraits and do just fine. I think now the problem is there's probably. 50 photographers based in Galveston, who only do family vacation portraits, you know, like the market has just changed and more people have websites, more people are, are marketing to that kind of thing.

It's tough. I wouldn't say it's impossible, but you're definitely in this case. I do think either you go with a separate brand or like, don't say you have an internal page, your home page is probably going to need to be optimized for Houston wedding photographer. And then you have a FA uh, Galveston family portraits page that targets that as best you can with as much relevance as you can, because you're not going to have that local relevance necessarily.

Um, so yeah, that's about the best you can do. Here's a good one. So let's say you're trying to target this one is headshots Parry sound, um, small town, but no, one's searching for headshots specifically in very in Perry sound. Is it better to go for something general? Like Perry sound photographer.

Dylan: Yes, I think so. I think for the, for the homepage, for the main topic of your entire site, yes. Pain, Parry sound photographer, um, maybe it's Perry sound commercial photographer. Google's gonna going to understand that you're still a photographer if you're a commercial photographer. Um, and then you're going to have to have content.

Probably an internal page dedicated to headshots, unless headshots are the only service you're offering. And then your homepage could also just be really headshots specific. Um, maybe have like a headshots pricing page that might rank, um, I think if you're in a really small town, if, as long as you had any content, like.

At all optimized towards headshots. You're

Corey: going to rank. Yeah. I'll tell you my personal experience when I was a photographer, all the work that I did that was headshot or commercial related. Uh, when I did ask people about it, they basically searched. Columbia photographers, like just really simple terms like that.

They aren't looking for a specific specialty photographer when it's like some agency head or some, you know, business owner. Who's just like, I need product photography. Then I can search food photographer, Columbia, necessarily. They just search Columbia se photographers. Um, and then I think once you get them there, you show them that you do what you want to offer.

And they're either going to bounce because it's not what they were looking for or they're going to be. Uh, they're going to hire you because they were looking for that. Um, let's see, what else do I think we had a couple of other questions that were okay. How about while I'm pulling up a couple of other questions?

Tell me what your thoughts are on trying to rank for LGBTQ plus terms.

Dylan: Yeah, I mean, it's, I think that you just need to kind of look at the. A few data sources. Um, the keyword tools might have some somewhat decent information. I haven't really seen that term pop up as much as it should probably. Um, I would look at how the communities are talking themselves or what terms they're using.

Um, I would ask people in the market like what they search for, if they're finding that, um, And then kind of just go with your instinct. I think that you, this, this is kind of the, you're merging both. How do I target these terms with a lot of other issues on how do I like respect these communities in am I referring to them how they want to be referred to, um, and, and a lot of other aspects.

So it's, um, A little bit tricky, but totally doable.

Corey: My tip. This would be, if you're, if you're talking about keyword research specifically would be to break down the terms and yes, LGBTQ is a pretty commonly used term now, but you'll also find that if you break those down into their individual, let things that each letter represents.

You'll find some search volume more often for. The specifics, you know, gay weddings or lesbian weddings, like often get more, uh, search volume in my experience than LGBTQ weddings. And those are not necessarily close enough synonyms. Uh, if you type. LGBTQ, you're going to get a lot of results back that have that specific phrase.

Um, surprisingly Google. Isn't great about breaking that down into what it actually means and giving you all of the results that only use gay wedding photographer in their title instead of LGBTQ, at least that's what I've found in my recent research. Yeah, I agree. Um, okay. Let's see. We had a couple of other things here.

Let's see if I can find, um, so. Is there ever a case for your homepage using something that is not a location based keyword? Yeah.

Dylan: Yeah, totally. I think that look by localizing your services to a location you're greatly reducing the competition and you're giving Google. Easy relevance to a certain market.

If you don't have a market that you want to target or can target, uh, really your only option is to go more broad. It's going to be more competition and it's going to be more difficult, but maybe that's your only option. Um, it's, it's rare where I find myself. Uh, recommending that to a

Corey: photographer, destination, wedding, photographer, adventure, elopement photographer, these kinds of terms that are not location-based are competing, is everyone in the world at that point?

Dylan: Yeah. You're competing against people that have like thousands of different sites linking to them, uh, years of history getting features in magazines and awards and all of those things. So it's, um, It's going to be difficult

Corey: in this comment that they were on the, like near the border of Utah. And, um, just didn't think that they would be able to rank as easily for Colorado terms because it's so saturated.

And I think that might've been the motivation here, but that's still, if you're trying to target Utah. You're going to have to use Utah based terms. You're not just going to say wedding photographer and then hope that people in Utah find you. So I don't know exactly how that question tied in, but, um, I do think there are some cases where you might go more generic, especially if your, your goals are to be the authority.

Um, I mean, I have seen some people who just like went all out on. Birth photography to the point where like they were being interviewed by all the major buzz sites, they had, you know, stuff that had gone viral and they had become at this point where everyone thought of them when they thought of birth photographer.

And so at that point, if you want your homepage title to be something like authentic birth stories, blah, blah, blah, whatever that doesn't have a location necessarily it's, it's possible. You can rank for that kind of stuff.

Dylan: Yeah. I think going back to your Colorado, Utah, Uh, example, I think a lot of people, when they find themselves on state lines like that, they don't look at it.

Or they need to look at it, like kind of like a media market where if I'm on the Eastern Oregon border in Ontario, Oregon, I'm not an Oregon wedding photographer. I'm an Idaho wedding photographer because I'm in the like Boise, Idaho TV market. Like the, the main people I'm targeting are in Boise and are in Idaho.

So, um, if you're on the edge of being in Utah, just put Utah. Well, let me photographer. You might not rank for that exact term, but it gives Google a lot of relevance. It makes

Corey: sense. Well, any other thoughts that you have on keyword research in general when, uh, any closing state?

Dylan: I think that's probably it, um, I'd love to hear people comment in the comments below if they have any interesting like ideas or terms that they aren't sure what to do with, um, feel free to join our free Facebook group at feel your photos.

Um, and. Join the ER, checkout Cory's video on this topic on our to,

Corey: to make some more videos that get a little bit more specific if people are interested in that. And I guess my last thought would just be, we didn't talk a lot about search console here. I think we mentioned it a couple of times, but you have to have to have to make sure that you have search console set up before you start creating content.

Use your intuition. Don't overthink it. Don't get it. Too concerned about how competitive something is or whether it has search volume, because all the tools are going to be flawed. You don't know, you're just, you know, hopefully guessing with some education here, but still it's going to be a guest. It's going to be experiments, run your experiments, try things, get the data from search console and go back and adjust them as needed.

You don't need to be afraid of if I get this wrong, I can never change it. You can always change it. So that would be my encouragement. It's just. Go out there and do it and don't get hung up on keyword research, even though it is important to get the right topics. It's not that important that you get it.

Perfect. Because you can always adjust it later.

Dylan: Perfect. I like it.

Corey: All right. See you on the next episode.

Dylan: Take care.

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