Sidse Sorensen, Content Marketer at Digital Impact
To me, there’s no tool almighty. Some are more impressive than others, but no one tool does it all. My keyword research is usually broken into three phases: Keyword brainstorm, extended keyword brainstorm and Keyword analysis.
In my initial keyword brainstorm, I am a big fan of free tools. The aim of stage one is to take our loosely targeted keywords, massively expand them and find similar topics of interest.
Three of my favourite tools in this stage are Google’s suggested searches, Answer The Public and Hashtagify. All are tools that take my list of keywords and give me suggestions to what others might be searching for at the same time. At the end of stage one I will usually have a substantial list of keywords.
Stage two, the extended keyword brainstorm, is similar to stage one. This time I run my long list of keywords through Google’s keyword planner. Whilst the keyword planner used to be a free tool, that is no longer the case. To get access you need to have a running adwords account.
Last stage of my keyword research is keyword analysis. A few of my colleagues download the keyword difficulty, search volume, suggested bid etc right off Google’s Keyword planner and then work through them. I like to take my keywords through a final step, Ahrefs. Ahrefs’ keyword explorer is a super useful tool that gives you a lot of intel about your keywords. This can help you identify high volume, low difficulty keywords and plan your marketing campaigns around words and phrases optimised for SEO.
Keyword rank tracking
We are massive fans of Agency Analytics here at Digital Impact. Agency Analytics is a all-in-one reporting platform that keeps track of not just ours, but all our clients SEO and PPC efforts and results.
The SEO organic rank tracker is built into the report dashboard, and provides a super neat overview of tracked keywords and their rankings. It’s updated daily and is the absolute best rank tracker we’ve used in the office. The all-in-one dashboard is really all-in-one, it even goes above and beyond and conducts site audits and suggests technical SEO improvements.
For analysing backlinks and potential backlinks, we use Ahrefs. When deciding whether to pursue an opportunity or not, we carefully check the profile of the URL that will potentially provide a backlink. Ahrefs makes this super simple. Stick the URL into ahrefs’ site explorer and you’ll get all the stats you could dream off. Links to site, referring domains (+ history), organic keywords, outgoing links etc. etc.
Link building (outreach)
In our outreach we all have our individual preferences and customized Google sheets but one thing we all love to use is Buzzstream.
Buzzstream is a digital PR tool, a web app with matching chrome extension. If you want to bookmark a site, add it via Buzzstream and it’lll trawl the website you are on for information such as contact details, name, and with as many customizable fields as you wish it makes outreach and personalized bunk emailing feel like a piece of cake.
On top of that, you have a clear overview of who your colleagues have contacted and under what circumstances.
I’ve found Streaks Pipelines to be an extremely valuable tool to my work. Pipelines are a CRM tool for Gmail, and it’s free! I’ve set up different pipelines for all my agency clients, and all the individual pipelines go through different stages: First outreach, Negative, Positive, Final draft sent, Live.
This means that when I initially email a blogger/ influencer to hear if they’d be interested in hosting a guest post or doing some collaborative work, I mark the email as ‘first outreach’. If the blogger gets back to me that they’d be interested in hosting our article, I mark it as ‘positive’. This sound simple enough, but when you’re working in zig zag across clients and tasks so it’s easy for emails to get lost in an inbox (coming from a person who has the neatest inbox in the office). When I pick up a task two weeks later I know exactly where I am, who I’ve contacted and when, who I need to push, remind and thank.
I know there are fancy tools and expensive web- aps for outreach management like this, by Streaks Pipelines are simply, dead easy to use, and right in my inbox.