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Keyword Research


Google AdWords Tool

Keywords are single words or phrases used by searchers when trying to locate information on the web.

Keyword research is a practice used by search engine optimization professionals to find and research actual search terms people enter into the search engines when conducting a search. Search engine optimization professionals research keywords in order to achieve better rankings in their desired keywords.

It's important to complete your keyword research before you attempt any Internet marketing efforts so you won't be focusing on search engine keywords that no one is using in a search or on keywords that are far too competitive for your site.

Keyword research is the process of determining what specific terms searchers use most frequently to find related information. The keyword research process generally involves using one or more fee-based or free keyword tools to determine the average number of people searching for a word or phrase per day (popularity) and then determining how many search results are returned for those keywords (competitiveness).

When selecting the keywords you would like to rank for, you must take several factors into account. Preferably youíre able to calculate its potential ROI by finding out what effort is required for a return in profit. There are, however, various uncertainties that you can choose to minimize.

There are more keywords to investigate. The traffic potential of a keyword and value for your site determine how much effort you should be willing to take. The required effort itself determines how certain you need to be of a successful outcome.

Donít forget to take time into account when looking at the effort of your competitors. What happens when you take someoneís No. 1 spot? Will they increase their effort? Is the scan being done off-season for a keyword with seasonal trending? Is this an emerging market?

There is no point finding niche market keywords that have low search volumes as you will attract very few visitors to your website. Equally if you choose website keywords with high search volumes, that also have a high number of websites competing for that keyword, you will struggle to achieve a high placement on the search engines, simply because you are competing with thousands of other sites. The solution therefore is to identify website keywords with high search volumes but with a much lower number of websites competing for that keyword.

Most websites fail to achieve high rankings on search engines due to the lack of attention to keyword research. Choosing and qualifying the correct website keywords are absolutely crucial to the success of your site.

Extensive keyword research will help you to identify the most relevant search terms used by your potential customers. These search terms will also help to improve your search engine rankings.

Most customers are likely to use search terms containing 2 or 3 keywords when searching for a particular product or service. Therefore websites containing mainly single keywords are unlikely to produce high levels of search traffic. The use of single generic keywords are also more likely to produce a lot of non relevant traffic to your site. For example, if a customer uses the keyword "coffee" they may be looking for a coffee making machine, fresh ground coffee or even a local coffee shop. Therefore keyword research is vital to the success of your online business.

A lot of website owners fall into the trap if thinking that it is very easy to identify the relevant search terms that potential customers are likely to use when searching for their products. However extensive research has shown that the search terms used will be based on a customers own experience and the way they relate to a specific product or service. Very often this will be totally different to the way the owner of a business is likely to refer to their own products or services.

You will need to review and refresh your keyword marketing as your website develops. For example, you will need to introduce new search terms to promote a new product or service.

After all, if you are not going after the right keywords from the start, you will just be swimming in the wrong direction.

Some people mistakenly think that this step is simple Ė all you have to do is come up with a list of keywords that YOU THINK people are searching for and optimize for them. But experienced SEOs know that you really need to do some research on the keywords before you start optimizing

If youíre new to the game (and even if youíre not), here are some tips on how you can do keyword research.

1. Figure out how many keywords you are trying to optimize for

This will depend on your business and the size of your website. If youíre selling just one product and/or have a very small website, perhaps 5-10 keywords is enough. Larger websites with more products/services can try to go after a larger amount of keywords. This number does not have to be set in stone, but itís a good idea to get a ballpark before you start.

2. Come up with a list of initial keywords that you think are most obvious

Just think what you would search for when looking for your products/services, and try to get as many words as possible. This is where most people would stop with their keyword selection, but it should only be the first step. This is just the start of the list of your potential candidate words, out of which you will eventually select the final keywords to optimize for.

3. See what your site is currently ranking for

SEMRush is a great tool that lets you know which keywords your site is currently ranking for. There are other tools available as well. Itís often easier to get the keywords you already rank for to rank higher than to start from scratch. This doesnít mean you shouldnít start from scratch for new keywords, just that the keywords youíre ranking for should be considered with a higher priority in your final selection process down the line. You may also find some keywords here that you did not think were obvious at first, but would be worthwhile to include in your list of candidates.

4. See what your competitors are ranking for

Figure out who your competitors are (if you donít know already), and see what they are ranking for. You can use the same SEMRush tool, or search for some keywords to see where they come up. This may give you some further keywords to add to the list of candidates. Try to see what they are and are not ranking for. Sometimes looking for what the competitors are NOT ranking for, can give you an advantage in that field.

5. Use keyword suggestion tools

Now that you have a pretty large list of candidates, itís time to expand it even further. If youíre shooting for 20 keywords to optimize for, it is not uncommon for your list of POTENTIAL candidates to be upwards of 400 keywords before you pick the final 20.

Some of the most popular keyword suggestion tools are Wordtracker, Google AdWords Tool  You can try any of them to see which you like best.

Wordtracker seems to be the most popular, but I personally like the Google tool the most. It seems to have a higher search threshold than Wordtracker, meaning low volume searched keywords that show up as ĎNot foundí in Wordtracker may still show up with some search volume in Google Tool; thus, the Google tool will still give you suggestions for lower searched keywords.

By using the keyword suggestion tools, you can quickly expand the list of your potential candidates. You should put all the keywords in a spreadsheet for easier tracking.