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The concept of keyword research isn’t new, and lots has been written about it. It seems that we need a guide to do keyword research every year (give me a break), and the guides do a great job of explaining conceptually how keyword research should be done, and how to do it on a small scale. However, there are literally hundreds of thousands of keywords you could be going after – even if your website is small. And in today’s competitive SEO environment, you need to spread a wide net to find that lucrative search arbitrage you’re looking for. If you’re doing a thorough job of keyword research, you should end up a list of several thousand keywords. This amount of data can be cumbersome, overwhelming, and tough to extract insights from. That’s where data visualization comes into play.

  • AB

    Alex Birkett

    3 months ago #

    This is super cool! Love the Scatter Plot / Difficulty- Matrix. Makes it super clear how to prioritize content strategy and keyword targets. Gonna start messing around with keyword data viz myself

  • MB

    Michael Berliner

    3 months ago #

    Hey Ryan I see that you are using Tableau - we do at DOSH as well but are looking at some others, do you have an opinion on Tableau vs. Looker vs. Mode etc?

    • RF

      Ryan Farley

      3 months ago #

      Personally, I love Tableau. A bit of a steep learning curve but it has some powerful data viz capabilities. They also release new awesome features every release.

      I looked into Looker but was super pricey and requires the overhead of learning LookML, though our CTO is a big fan.

      The upside of a SQL editor like Mode is that you can easily do an ad hoc query and save it for reference. I also love the idea of having Python right there. But you definitely sacrifice visualization capabilities, and getting queries into a chart is a little less intuitive than Tableau's interface.

  • ML

    Mark Lindquist

    3 months ago #

    Wow, this is fantastic. Do you have a preference on which keyword difficulty tool to use? I tend to prefer Ahrefs but it doesn't take into account the strength of the domain, so I often get keywords that are scored as low competition but are dominated by the Hubspots and Entrepreneurs.

    • RF

      Ryan Farley

      3 months ago #

      I also use Ahrefs primarily. It's true that Ahrefs does not use domain strength, which can be misleading for results that don't have many other links.

      Moz and SEMRush both have options.

      Moz's keyword difficulty sore is described on their site as "picking a site somewhere in the middle of that SERP (the top 10, that is) and looking at its DA/PA (as appropriate) to figure out where you'd need to be to compete."

      A rep from SEMRush told me this about theirs: "To calculate the difficulty of a keyword, we analyze the top domains that are ranking in the first twenty organic search results for the given keyword. Based on each website’s SEMrush Rank, we calculate its domain strength and define its keyword difficulty."

      I also sometimes include the number of linking domains as another reference point.

      Keyword difficulty definitely should be used as a directional metric, not taken as exact science due to the reasons you mentioned.

  • JD

    John Dorian

    3 months ago #

    Love the story Ryan! The treemap, the Pareto charts, the quadrant, everything!
    An idea for the Pareto chart: maybe add a reference line at the 80% mark?
    I'm thinking in could be easier to see the 20% of keywords this way

    • RF

      Ryan Farley

      3 months ago #

      Thanks John!

      And yeah, on the Pareto chart it should be pretty easy to add an 80% (or whatever mark you want) line.

  • CL

    Cassie Lance

    2 months ago #

    Hey Ryan I have been using ZingChart for a very long time now.
    Could you suggest me some tools other than you have already mentioned!

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