How to find high-potential keywords for SEO

High-potential keywords don’t come from keyword planners or SEO tools. They come from third parties. Here’s how to find them.

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High-potential keywords are phrases that bring relevant traffic to your website and lead to revenue. While Google Keyword Planner and SEO tools are useful, they focus on search volume and intent, not necessarily revenue. 

To find keywords that actually lead to sales, it’s important to explore other sources that combine website traffic with actual conversions. 

Let’s look at what conversions to consider and then explore where you can discover keywords with high conversion potential tailored to your business, whether you’re a publisher, a B2B brand or a seller of consumer products.

Keywords geared toward conversions

Conversions for SEO include:

  • Sales
  • Leads
  • Email and SMS subscriptions
  • Higher pageviews that drive CPM revenue
  • App and ebook or information downloads
  • Phone calls
  • Live chat sessions
  • Free trials

If you get someone on your email list because you provided solutions, you can bring them back to shop once they’re ready. And as they’re opting in, you can ask about interests. 

If you sell gardening supplies, find out if your customers are into tools, indoor or outdoor gardening, and whether they prefer growing vegetables, flowers, or succulents. Knowing this helps you tailor your marketing to their interests. 

If you track customer lifecycle metrics, you can see that SEO attracted them initially, and email was what persuaded them to make a purchase. This approach also works for other indirect conversions, like those from social media, PPC ads or blog content.

And this is what leads us to find these high-conversion phrases. Look at non-SEO tools and data providers first.

Referring URLs

We all see the traffic backlinks we get naturally, the ones that we’ve built, and what our affiliates send us. And our companies are tracking the conversions from them. If they aren’t, start today while following all tracking laws.

If these referring URLs have traffic that converts, there is no reason you cannot try to replicate and beat them at their own game. 

Media companies advertise their own content and bring traffic to their high-conversion articles so they can make money. You cannot mimic that through SEO, but you can advertise on those pages.

Take the referring URL and plug it into your favorite SEO research tool. You’ll get a list of the keywords and phrases they show up for. Now, compile the ones most like the reasons you’re getting sales. Sometimes you’ll see zero search volume, but guess what, there actually is. 

Tip: Check out the backlink profile and, if you can, social shares. If there is no SEO traffic, the traffic has to be coming from elsewhere and converting. Creating better content and a better UX allows you to get all the traffic vs. the referral.

Customer surveys

When was the last time you surveyed your customers? If you never have or haven’t asked the customer service and PR or branding teams for the data, you’re missing out on a gold mine. 

Customer surveys let you know what solutions the people who make you money need and what they’re interested in.

Here are some questions to ask and how they can help you find high-intent SEO keywords.

What did our product not solve? 

If customers tell you what they need, and you address those needs, you can create blog posts, update product information and run ads to reach people seeking those solutions. 

If you haven’t offered this solution before and now you do, there’s a good chance that people actively looking for it will be more likely to purchase it.

Dig deeper: How to turn polls and surveys into great content

What do you do for fun? 

By knowing the person’s interests and seeing that a large percentage of your audience has the same, you can do keyword research and create a separate content funnel. Just ensure the content is topically relevant to your products or service, or you can do more damage than good.

If the topics aren’t relevant, but something you can write about, create a new entity like a blog with a forum/community (once the blog takes off) and use it for lead generation. 

Now, you can beat the places they go to engage for fun and remarket your main brand through PPC to bring them into your conversion site for revenue. 

Which websites do you visit for fun or for keeping up to date?

Even if they say mass media sites with a million categories, that is still beneficial for keyword research. 

  • Reader demographics: You can find political swings, along with age, gender, income, and other skews.
  • Relevant categories: Keep track of the evergreen topics covered by these sites and begin developing a content strategy as long as the topics stay relevant to your core offerings and topics.
  • Advertise: Look for where they are on these sites and show ads on relevant topics to your brand and with your audience demographics in mind. If you can track the referring URL, see the topics and keywords that the page shows up for. This can result in more keyword data for you.

PPC data

I left this for last because it involves the strategies we discussed earlier. Instead of just asking about the keywords your PPC team is using (since they shouldn’t spend on unproductive traffic), also inquire about where the ads are being displayed.

Google Ads and similar platforms allow you to check where your ads appear, such as on YouTube videos and websites. If you’re getting a good number of conversions, look at the topics that brought those conversions to your site.

YouTube videos can be a goldmine for article and keyword ideas. If the videos have chapters, consider creating a series of content about each chapter. If they showcase a feature that could lead to a conversion, check if you have that covered on your product or service page.

When you get the list of referring URLs that drove at least XYZ conversions, use the research strategy from the first section. 

Dig deeper: 7 reports SEO and PPC can use to help each other succeed

Finding high-conversion keywords beyond SEO tools

Don’t start with the SEO tools for high-intent and high-conversion keywords. Those are all about search volume and intent. 

Beyond SEO tools, explore customer surveys, referring URLs, and PPC data for strategic insights. Aligning keywords with conversions is the key to driving revenue. 

Shift your focus, embrace strategic approaches and watch your business thrive.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Adam Riemer
Adam Riemer is an award winning digital marketing strategist, keynote speaker, and growth consultant with more than 20+ years of experience. His agency creates and executes integrated and growth marketing strategies based on data points and ROI. From top funnel affiliate marketing to SEO, email, and conversion optimization, he helps brands of all sizes grow and scale.

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