[Method] Improve Your Keyword Research With Search Operators

Holzr

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Hi all!

So a lot of people know about checking scores, metrics, on-page SEO, links, Search volume and all that when doing keyword research. But a lot of people don't a simple keyword difficulty checker that can be done by searching Google.

I'm talking about Search Operators and the Moz article I linked to is a good cheat sheet for it.

Often I see people banging on about computer generated keyword difficulty scores and "should I use them" "what's a good score" etc. which is fine as an initial filter but the fact is is that metrics can be fudged very easily as @Nargil has spoken about a number of times including here on his post about expired domains. I'd like to give a big shout out to @hacko and his keyword research guide here as it's an excellent guide and this mini guide I'm writing here is sort of an addition to his guide to add to your keyword research arsenal.

How can we use search operators to improve our keyword selections?

Ok so we have a list of keywords we'd like to consider going after. They all have a KW difficulty score all the same, the SERP results look similar (the results below I haven't checked but as an example lets say metrics and volume is the same)

What's important to know is exactly how many pages are competing for your keyword. We can find the out using a search operator such as intitle:"your keyword" (with the " " don't add a space after the :.)

This simple search operator will show us the number of indexed pages that include your keyword/phrase in the title of a post. Say for example we want to find out whether to write an article about the best vodka brands or maybe tequila brands. What we can do is type in Google the following:

  • intitle:"best vodka brands" - About 757 results
  • intitle:"best tequila brands" - About 371 results
  • intitle:"best cognac brands" - About 192 results
  • intitle:"best sake brands" - About 18 results
What we are looking for is the lowest amount of results possible. So for example:
  • intitle:"best tv" - About 349,000 results
You don't need a fancy keyword research tool number to tell you this is going to be a hard keyword to rank for as you are competing against nearly 350k pages all with "best tv" in their page titles.

Using search operators is a great way of quickly judging competition of a keyword and I would highly recommend people to try it out and use some of the other search operators available that I linked to the Moz article above.

It's not a perfect keyword research method and by no means should you only use just this. Using search operators should be used with other research methods such as search volume, seasonality, commercial intent etc. etc. as mentioned by @hacko and many others who have spent hours writing about keyword research.
 

Local SEO

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i have seen keywords with intitle:"key word" with only 1000 results, but still its one of high compititive keywords, in my eyes, kwfinder's eye, ahrefs eye and any other keyword tool's eye..

you know why? Rank brain. intitle operator gives you results for specific words but not what rank brain ommits.


I Still Respect You.
 

Holzr

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Simple but very useful method.

Exactly, often the most simplest methods can often be the best.

i have seen keywords with intitle:"key word" with only 1000 results, but still its one of high compititive keywords, in my eyes, kwfinder's eye, ahrefs eye and any other keyword tool's eye..

you know why? Rank brain. intitle operator gives you results for specific words but not what rank brain ommits.


I Still Respect You.

Of course I agree with you 100% rankbrain and ranking factors mean that a seriously strong site could rank for a keyword even if they have no mention of it. It's by no means a perfect method, it's just another one people can use when researching and you there are other search operators for finding in url and text etc that are just as useful.
 

mexela

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the bad news is that google won't allow too many searches with advanced operators to be made without displaying a captcha
 

ContentWriter

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What you have just mentioned is almost everything I've been doing for the past few months and I agree, they're very simple, but they're undeniably helpful. Sometimes, overthinking is what sucks you into trouble.
 

theRevolt

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This is about the oldest "metric" some tools used. As someone else mentioned very flawed in my opinion and at best a rough estimate of what could be there in terms of competition. As much as domain metrics matter just looking for URL/title as a factor of a term being difficult will make you miss out on a bunch of stuff.
 

ekibum

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Rank brain. intitle operator gives you results for specific words but not what rank brain ommits
Agree, but keyword in title tag [allintitle:"KEYWORD"] is still a strong ranking factor.
 

Esiyow

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Yes, sure it is fine to use as suplemental consideration.

But the biggest problem with that techniques is now we oftenly saw top 10 results in google even don't use exact keyword, for some cases even don't include it at all, just synonim or closely related terms.

Thanks anyway, still useful method.
 

X

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This is similar to the Keyword Golden Ratio (where you look at the # of allintitle pages vs search volume) - been testing it out and found that it really is pretty easy to rank for a lot of longtail keywords that have low allintitle competitors. And of course one would think "duh, if there aren't many pages of course you're going to rank easily," but I see solid rankings WITHOUT the allintitle operator, where there are 100k+ results - with solid onpage SEO and very little other work. It's not 100% - some top SERPs are too competitive to break into with a lower-authority site, but it's definitely worth checking & testing.
 

Esiyow

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is this different to allintitle:keyword

Very much almost the same, OP just use quotation marks.

Basically it will tell google to only bring back results that include your search terms exactly how you typed them in order.

Usually you will get fewer results when using quotation marks
 
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