Keyword Research Masterclass: AI-Driven SEO Strategies

Did you know that Google brings in a whopping 80% of the world’s online traffic?

You read that right, 80% of the world’s online traffic starts with a search.

And that’s why you need to get your keyword research strategy on point.

For me, keyword research is both an art and a science. And treating it as such, I’ve been able to get my websites to rank for over 40,000 keyword positions over the past 10 years.

Applying the same to Content at Scale, we went from just 160+ keyword rankings to over 15,000 keywords indexed in Google in just over four months!

So you might be asking, how do I go after the right keywords? 

What are those keywords? 

How do I find them?

If you’re doing keyword research as a service for your clients, you may be asking the same question for them.

In this keyword research masterclass blog post and video, my goal is to give you the essential guide to finding the right keywords — not just trending topics but evergreen keywords that can pull in traffic for months if not years.

Plus, I’ll show you how to use AI to shortcut the content creation process and literally create 3,000-word SEO blog articles based on those keywords in minutes.

So here it is — the ultimate keyword research strategy for your blog posts in 2023 and beyond.

What Makes Up an Ideal Keyword?

Whenever you are doing keyword research, the first step is to really understand what makes up an ideal keyword.

I actually spent a couple of years doing a little trial and error with this one. I thought a good keyword was a keyword that just had a low competition score so I went after completely unrelated keywords and got them to rank at the top of Google, but those keywords did not bring in any clients.

As you can see in the Venn diagram below, what makes up an ideal keyword is a combination of what you sell, your industry, your audience, and all the terms out there that are related to what you do and who you serve.

Let’s say you’re a marketing consultant and you’re selling content strategy. That’s the left circle on the diagram. 

On the right circle are marketing services, content strategy services, and marketing consultants.

So how do we find the perfect keyword that’s going to bring in ideal clients?

We’re going to filter it by competition, which refers to how easy or hard it is to rank for that keyword.

We’re also going to go after informational searches — what is, how to, best of — things that really qualify that person for the top of the funnel, a.k.a TOFU, that’s going to bring in a lot of traffic and awareness for your brand.

Where Can You Get Your Keywords for Content?

So where do you get your keywords?

You can get your keywords from four sources.

  1. First is the actual keyword research. This is a tried-and-true formula but you need the right tools and the right approach to make it work. Find your keywords, dig into the data on those keywords, and don’t guess the keywords you’re going to rank for.
  2. Hot YouTube videos can also be a source of great content.
  3. And then there’s competitor research — find top-ranking blogs in your niche that are working well for your competitors. How can you rank for a competitor’s keyword? How can you outdo them? That’s another great source of keywords.
  4. And finally, keywords can come straight from your ideas. Write your ideas in a raw format like a Word document or record it as an audio file on your phone. 

That last source — ideas straight from your brain — is more important than you’d think. You see, because of AI and the opportunity it brings to create content at scale so easily, it has become even more difficult to break into certain industries and stand out.

So how do you stand out?

You! Everything comes down to you — what you have to say, how controversial you want to get, how original your ideas are.

We want to take that and map it to keywords to create great content.

Ideal Keyword Example

Here’s an example of what makes up an ideal keyword.

Let’s say you’re a realtor in South Texas. The most obvious keywords here are “Texas realtor”, “Texas real estate”, “homes for sale in Texas”, etc.

But which keyword is the right one?

After some keyword research, I found this one: “Why choose me as your realtor.”

Here’s why it makes for an excellent keyword:

If I were a realtor in South Texas, I would create a long-form blog for the following keywords:

  • Why choose me as your realtor?
  • How to sell land in Texas without a realtor
  • How do I know if my realtor submitted my offer?

The Best Tool for Finding Ideal Keywords, and Metrics to Focus On

One of the best tools for keyword research is Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool. Let me break down some of its components.

  • Intent: This is the purpose of a search in a search engine. If you filter your search to show only question keywords, this column will show informational searches.
  • Volume: This is the average number of monthly searches for a keyword over a 12-month period.
  • Trend: This is the interest of searchers in a given keyword during a 12-month period. The metric is based on changes in the number of queries per month.
  • Keyword Difficulty: This shows you how hard it would be for a website to rank organically. The higher the percentage, the harder it will be to achieve high rankings.
  • Cost Per Click: This is the average price that advertisers pay for a user’s click on an ad triggered by a given keyword (Google Ads).
  • Competitive Density: This is the level of competition between advertisers bidding on a given keyword within their PPC campaigns. Competitive density is shown on a scale from 0 to 1.0 with 1.0 being the most difficult to rank for.

The metrics that you should focus on are keyword difficulty, volume, and trend

The number I place the most importance on is keyword difficulty. 


A lower score means an easier path to ranking highly for that specific term, making it ideal for new websites with limited resources.

If you’re trying to go for a keyword with a difficulty of 80, you may never get that ranking because you’re up against high-quality, well-built robust domains.

But if you’re going for a keyword difficulty of 30 or lower, then the likelihood of ranking for that keyword is so much greater.

Going back to our realtor topic, the keyword “Why choose me as your realtor” has a keyword difficulty of 5! You can easily rank for this with a brand-new website and a little bit of link-building.

Here’s how I would position a content piece to get clients:

Why choose me as your realtor” should showcase YOU. It should be all about your unique, quirky traits where you’re talking about the things you like that help your clients.

Another good keyword is “How do I sell my land without a realtor” which has a keyword difficulty of 13. This is the perfect vehicle for busting some myths.

Now you may be wondering, how is this a good keyword when it’s only getting 20 searches a month?

Here’s the thing: you can rank for more related keywords because of the way the People Also Ask search feature works. More questions appear below the main question and you can rank for those additional questions.

Creating Content Around Your Keywords — 10x Faster with AI!

Once you have all the keywords that you want to rank for, put them on a spreadsheet or a Google Sheet. On each row, add details for your keyword such as your broad topic, the source where you got that keyword, and specific stats.

Then download this sheet as a .csv file and upload it into an AI writer.

The AI writer I use all the time is Content at Scale, which is the only AI writer with SEO insights built into the tool. It crawls the top of Google to see what’s ranking for your keyword and writes content based on that.

That is a skill set that I spend hours training a writer to do — go look at the top of Google, break down and distill that information, and write something that will rank and do better than those top pieces.

With Content at Scale, you don’t have to hire a writer to do that!

Content at Scale does that for you IN REAL TIME right after you click the “Create Content” button.

Let me show you how to do it.

First, I’ll create a project in Content at Scale and fill out all the fields with information about my target audience, tone of voice, and word count.

After setting up my project, I’ll click “Add Content” and choose “From a keyword” to upload the .csv file of keywords that we created earlier.

Click “Create Content Now” and wait a few minutes as the AI generates a 3,000-word blog article for each keyword.

The hardest part of SEO is not the keyword research once you learn how to do it. The hardest part was content creation, but now AI is making our job of creating content 10 times easier — and that’s pretty epic!

Real Example of the Power of Keyword Research + AI for Your Content

I’ll show you another example of killer keyword research. This comes from someone that I trained at Content Hacker, Jacki Alcorn, who runs a brick-and-mortar store that sells quilts.

As the owner of Primitive Star Quilt Shop, Jacki is building up with pillar SEO content written by AI.

Here’s how she’s doing it.

Go back to our Venn diagram. What does Jacki do? She sells quilts in a physical shop and an online e-commerce store.

Her topics are:

  • Quilts
  • Quilt shop
  • Quilts for sale

At the center of our Venn diagram is the keyword “ways to display quilts” which Jacki decided to go after.

If you go to the Semrush Keyword Magic Tool, there are lots of informational searches that come up for the word “quilts” with low keyword difficulty.

The keyword “how to break in a quilt” has an incredible KD score of 2 — that’s crazy!

In marketing, I rarely get breaks like these. My keywords often have a KD score of 30, 40, 50, or even 60.

These kinds of numbers make me so excited because of the opportunity they present. It’s why keyword research and SEO are so powerful yet vastly underrated. 

A lot of people think they should buy ads right away and burn money on an offer that’s not proven. They do Instagram reels and rush to these other tactics that do not offer opportunities as high as SEO.

Jacki used to focus on social media and ads only but now has ditched those strategies in favor of SEO. Now she’s ranking for the keyword “ways to display quilts” and she wrote her entire piece with the help of AI.

Before publishing, she added her personal style and great pictures of quilts — that’s how you do it if you’re creating content with AI.

This is an example of phenomenal keyword research.

Keywords from YouTube Videos

In addition to keyword research tools, you can also find hot keywords on YouTube.

To do this, simply type in your topic and sort by channel.

Look for relevant keywords with proven success in driving engagement and interest from viewers by browsing popular YouTube videos in your niche.

Let’s use marketing as an example.

Look for channels that are doing a great job teaching people about marketing, and of course, ranking well in Google.

I’ll pick “Marketing Tutorials” which looks like a great match for long-form informational content.

The real game-changer is converting YouTube videos into fully written blog posts using AI — saving time and owning the traffic generated from your content.

Grab a good video to unearth some good keywords. In this case, I chose “How to do a SWOT analysis” because it had great engagement (100+ comments, 300K+ views), and since it’s eight years old, there is an opportunity to do something that’s more relevant.

Copy-paste the URL and add it to your Google sheet.

Just as we did for our Texas real estate project, log into Content at Scale and click “Add Content.” However, this time we’re not using a keyword but a YouTube URL.

Keywords from Competitor Research

Our third source of keywords is competitor research.

How do you find keywords that are performing well for your competitors?

Closely observe trends among top-ranking blogs to gain insights on which topics are currently resonating with readers.

Mine information from forums and online communities related to your niche to uncover popular topics and potential keywords.

Analyze competitor websites using tools like Moz Open Site Explorer to see what’s working well for others.

Then go to Google, enter your topic, and pick the top three organic results.

Again, copy-paste the article URL and add it to your Google sheet or spreadsheet of keywords.

Then log into Content at Scale, click “Add Content” and create a long-form blog post from an existing blog post URL.

Within a few minutes, you’ll get a fully written blog post that you can make better based on your style and personal preferences.

Keywords from Raw Ideas

As far as your raw ideas go, the sky is the limit.

Let’s say you’re working with a client. Do they have a podcast? Do they want to record a spiel on their phone and send it to you as an audio file?

Content at Scale can also write blog posts based on raw ideas in a voice file.

In the past, we’d assign this task to a writer and have them do the keyword research, the topic research, and then write the entire piece. 

We don’t have to do that anymore.

Content at Scale makes the entire process a breeze. Now you can just upload a Word document or custom MP3 file to write a fresh piece of long-form content.

Once you click “Create Content Now”, the app will do the SEO research on the spot and find the ideal keyword to rank for based on that custom audio file or Word doc.

It’s now easier than ever to create content for your website. 

Just last December 2022, I was hiring freelance writers and doing all of this by hand. Now we have a one-stop solution that goes from a keyword, raw ideas, or YouTube video into a fully written blog!

How to Make AI Content Your Own

Now let’s look at the blog articles that we generated with Content at Scale.

Clicking on the title will take you to the text editor where you will see all of the content — headline, meta description, introduction, table of contents, key takeaways, bulleted lists, FAQs, and conclusion.

On the right panel is an optimization score with keyword suggestions, an SEO checklist, a plagiarism scanner, and an AI detector.

The keywords are color-coded so you can see which ones need to appear more in your article and which ones are already optimized.

With a built-in editor, you can easily make this article your own — adding anecdotes, personal stories, and even humor that reflects your personality.

AI is never perfect, so make sure you clean up the text to make it enjoyable to read.

For more information on how to make AI content more humanlike, check out our free tutorials on our CRAFT framework.

aio craft

Want to learn every step involved in our C.R.A.F.T. framework? You’re in the right place. To learn more about AIO and C.R.A.F.T, read our individual guides:

Additionally, subscribe to our blog, watch our C.R.A.F.T. and AIO tutorials on our YouTube channel, and read this blog to understand the AIO model.

Free Resources to Train Your Writers into AIO

I’ve been personally training agency owners and teams and helping them convert to the AIO way. Want these? You’re in luck – we’re giving them away.

Free Guide

First, I wrote a full guide – a writer’s worksprint, links to our best tutorials and training, and even a job description template if you want to find an AIO writer.

Want this incredible resource? It’s called the AIO Writer’s Worksprint. Download now for free.

Free Step-by-Step AIO CRAFT Writer’s Training Course

Additionally, after months of putting AIO and C.R.A.F.T. into action (over 40M words are produced each month by our users at Content at Scale, and our Done-for-You client side is another 500,000 words/month! Talk about AIO at scale 🤯 ) – we put together a step-by-step AIO C.R.A.F.T. tutorial.

Ideal for you, your writers, and any content creator ready to adapt to the CRAFT methodology and the AIO way.


New to the idea of AIO and CRAFT? Read this to understand the innovation behind AIO. 

Want a written guide that has all the CRAFT steps from the YouTube video? Your wish is our content command. Step-by-step AIO writing tutorial, blog version.

Artificial intelligence has made it super easy to create content from your keywords. It just saves you so much time than sticking to the traditional human-only model.

I hope that this keyword research strategy tutorial has helped you see what’s possible when building an entire business with a sustainable traffic stream that you get to own.

There’s nothing more beautiful on the Internet than that — traffic that YOU own.

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About the author

Julia McCoy

Julia McCoy is an 8x author and a leading strategist around creating exceptional content and presence that lasts online. As the VP of Marketing at Content at Scale, she helps marketers achieve insane ROI (3-10x their time back at 1/3rd the cost) in a new era of AI as a baseline for content production. She's been named in the top 30 of all content marketers worldwide, is the founder of Content Hacker, and recently exited her 100-person writing agency with a desire to help marketers, teams, and entrepreneurs find the keys of online success and revenue growth without breaking.

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