3 Keyword Discovery Strategies To Maximize Your Ranking Potential

You know your business depends on keyword discovery. You need to determine what phrases your ideal customers are searching for so that you can show up in those searches (as it relates to your business offering, of course).

Your challenge is that you’re not quite sure how to turn your keyword discovery into a keyword strategy.

Your challenge ends today.

Our guide gives you three keyword discovery strategies that can help you maximize your search engine ranking potential—starting now.

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What Is Keyword Discovery?

Keyword discovery is the first step to creating search engine optimized content. 

It is a little like being a researcher or maybe even a detective. Your job is to research, hunt down, find, and uncover keywords related to your business that you can use to create content around.

Keyword discovery can provide you with the information you need to create a complete content calendar for your business (for months or even a full year—depending how often you create content online).

How To Research Keywords

Learning how to look up keywords or how to keyword search can be a challenge. 

Many keyword tools exist to help you in your research process. There are free and paid tools you can use.

A few options for a keyword discovery tool include:

Keyword discovery tools allow you to plug in a search term to find variations of a keyword. From one keyword search, you may be able to generate six to 12 topics based on that one search.


From one keyword search, you may be able to find six to 12 keywords you can use in one article.

You can repeat the keyword discovery process for half a dozen or so topics that relate to your business but end up generating dozens of article possibilities. 

For a new website, you want to target creating a list of 30-50 keywords to get you started.

How To Choose Keywords

We’ve talked a lot about how to do a keyword search, but once you have the keywords from your discovery up on the screen, how do you analyze which keywords to use?

  1. Relevance: You want to make sure that the keyword is relevant to your business in some way. Is it a word that your customers would use to search for something that your business offers?
  2. Search volume: Check how many searches per month those long-tail keywords have. You want to target words that have at least 10 searches per month.

If you are wondering how to know how many searches a keyword gets—The keyword discovery tool you use has a search volume column. This column shows you how many searches per month this particular term receives.

What Your Competitors Are Already Doing To Discover New Keywords

As much as you have to know what your clients are searching for, you also have to know what your competition is up to (so you can do it even better).

Most competitors are searching for short keywords with high volume and low-to-medium difficulty. This means that a decent number of people are searching using this term AND it is relatively easy to rank for this keyword.

The key to analyzing your competition is,once you discover which keywords your competition is ranking for, you can create longer AND better content around the same keywords tso you can outrank them.

How Is This Method Effective?

Targeting short and concise keywords can be a highly effective method for keyword discovery.


Because prospects often use short and concise keywords to find the information, products, and services they are seeking. 

While you can find success by using this method, it’s not the ONLY method for effective keyword discovery.

In addition to focusing on keyword discovery methods that your competitors are using, you also want to focus on strategies that your competitors are NOT using.

What Your Competitors Aren’t Doing: 3 Keyword Discovery Strategies

The following keyword discovery strategies are what your competitors are not doing. These strategies are also a bit more in-depth than using short and concise keywords.

If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, right?

The good news is that if you use these three strategies as part of your keyword discovery strategy, you can really propel your business way beyond that of your competition. 

Keep in mind:

These keyword discovery strategies won’t necessarily have high volume like the keywords you come across when searching for short and concise keywords.


Short and concise keywords tend to be popular so they have a high search volume. But, these keywords also tend to be highly competitive so it can be difficult (but not impossible) to rank for.

For these more advanced strategies, the keywords are more specific

When someone searches for a keyword that fits into one of the following three strategies, they tend to know more about what they’re hoping to find in the search results. 

Let’s dive a little deeper into three keyword discovery strategies you can use.

Strategy #1: Long-Tail Keyword Discovery

Long-tail keyword discovery is the first strategy you can use that your competition is probably not using.

Long-tail keyword discovery involves searching for longer, more specific keywords. These keywords tend to be anywhere from three to six words long.

Long-tail keywords usually have low-to-mid volume, which means that there is typically less than 30 to 40 searches per month. 

However, try to target long-tail keywords that have a minimum of 10 searches.

How Is This Method Effective?

The reason long-tail keyword discovery is highly effective is that a more specific query leads to more precise search results.

In other words, the information the searcher finds tends to be exactly what they are looking for.

The catch is, long-tail keywords have to make sense so that it’s a keyword phrase the searcher would use to start their search.

It also has to make sense in that it has to be a long-tail keyword that is relevant to what your business offers or sells.

How To Analyze Keywords

We talked a lot about how to do a keyword search but how do you analyze which long-tail keywords to use?

Good question.

You want to focus on three main points when deciding which long-tail keywords to use when creating  content:

  1. Relevance: You want to make sure that the long-tail keyword is relevant to your business in some way. The more relevant, the better but don’t discount long-tail keywords that are a little outside the realm of your business. If there is a way you can tie it back to what your business offers or sells, it can be a viable option as part of your keyword strategy.
  2. Long-tail keywords: Typically, long-tail keywords contain 5+ words. Short keywords are typically less than five words and the majority of short keywords are only one or two words.
  3. Search volume: Check how many searches per month those long-tail keywords have. Remember: You want the long-tail keyword to have a minimum of 10 searches per month in the search volume column. 

How to check how many searches a keyword gets?

Another good question. 

The keyword discovery tool you use has a search volume column. This column shows how many searches per month are made using this specific keyword.

While a short keyword can have hundreds or thousands of searches, a long-tail keyword with 10+ searches per month can be useful to your content strategy.

Examples of Long-Tail Keywords

You are probably wondering what a long-tail keyword looks like. 

Here are a few examples of long-tail keywords that people may search for:

  • Safe lawn care for a home with dogs
  • Microdermabrasion treatments near the Mantua neighborhood
  • Skincare regimens for women who are 45
  • At-home outside activities to do with a 2-year-old  
  • Groomer that specializes in labradoodles in portland

You can see that the long-tail keywords have over five words and are very specific searches for what the person is looking to find.

Strategy #2: Keyword Discovery For Long-Tail Questions

Keyword discovery for long-tail questions is the same thing as long-tail keywords but in the form of a question. Instead of a phrase, Google users are typing in questions.

How Is This Method Effective?

If the reader is searching for a specific question, Google can have an easier time giving them the exact answer they’re looking for. 

If you target answering that question with epic content, you have a good chance of ranking high since long-tail question keywords have lower volume than shorter keywords.

Plus, Google likes content that answers their users’ questions or provides the user with the information they seek. Google refers to this concept as the searcher’s intent.

Examples of Long-Tail Question Keywords

A long-tail question looks similar to a long-tail keyword, but it is in the form of a question instead of a phrase.

For example, a long-tail question may be:

  • How does a diamond become a diamond? 
  • How do I get my three-year-old to stay in her own bed?
  • What is the best way to get rid of the aphids on my rose bushes?
  • Does yellow squash grow well in a garden in the mid-Atlantic region?

Strategy #3: Negative Keyword Discovery

Most, if not all, of your competition, is using positive wording as part of their keyword discovery strategy.

This means you have to go at it from another angle: negative keyword discovery.

Negative keyword discovery is finding keywords that contain a negative word in it. Negative words can include:

  • No
  • Not
  • Never

How Is This Method Effective?

This can be a powerful keyword discovery tool because you have the chance to turn a negative into a positive for the reader. Your article can turn their situation around and give them the solution they are looking for.

Examples of Negative Keywords

Some examples of negative long-tail keywords include:

  • What can I do when I have no time for self-care?
  • No time for self-care
  • Not going on a summer vacation this year
  • Alternatives to saying no to my toddler

Keyword Discovery Example:

Let’s say that you’re a realtor and are working hard on your real estate SEO.

But you’re stuck on which keywords to target.

Here’s an exact step by step process example you can use:

  1. Figure out who the TOP performing real estate companies are in your area (from an SEO perspective): Use a tool like SEMrush to figure this out. 
  2. Determine the exact keywords that they’re ranking for: Again, use a keyword tool like SEMrush to discover this.
  3. For the keywords that they’re ranking and driving traffic for, inspect the pages that are ranking: Are they blog posts? Are the blog posts well-written? Can you write more comprehensive content than what they have?
  4. Get to work targeting the same keywords that you discovered during  this process: It takes time, but it’s worth it!

This example can be replicated no matter the industry!

Keyword Discovery Solution: Portland SEO Growth

Instead of Spending Hours (or Days) Doing Keyword Research and Getting Frustrated, Portland SEO Growth Can Help

Portland SEO Growth services Portland-based businesses and businesses across the United States. Click here to learn more.