Researching keywords and keyword phrases is one of the most important Techniques in a good search engine marketing campaign.We offer a number of keyword tools available and have listed a few of those.
It Takes Technique… and a Little Time
You could just guess at the keyword phrases your prospects are typing in to find your kind of business. Then you could spend a lot of time optimizing your site and planning expensive pay-per-click campaigns around those phrases. Only to find out – by the crushing absence of visitors and sales – that you’ve guessed wrong.
Or you could spend a few days doing some methodical keyword research and use some keyword tools before going to all that trouble and expense.
Hunches and intuition are a great starting point for shortlisting an initial set of search terms, but it’s what happens next that determines the success of your keyword selection process. And with the right technique, the right keyword tools, and a little time, it isn’t that hard at all.
Let’s start with the main keyword tools on the market:
1. Wordtracker: The gold standard, used faithfully by serious SEO professionals. Wordtracker has a unique feature called the KEI score, which amalgamates two factors: a phrase’s popularity (how many searches are conducted on it) and its competitiveness (how many websites are competing for that phrase). This helps you determine searches consumers are doing that aren’t being fully met by the online marketplace – truly valuable information. Go to Wordtracker.com and click on “Trial” to see how a scaled-down version works. The full-on version can be hired by the day, week, month or year.
Google AdWords Keyword Tool: Also free. Helps you uncover new keyword possibilities but supplies no comparative numerical data to indicate which terms are searched on most nor does it rank their competitiveness.
If possible, spend some time getting used to these three tools so you know their quirks before diving into the next part of the process… the technique.
Phase I: Building the Raw List
First, brainstorm a list of phrases that seem logical. This is where deep knowledge of your customers is so useful. Then, use one or more of the keyword suggestion tools above to reveal related terms you may not have thought of.
Phase II: Checking the Competition
Now that you have a shortlist of search terms, it’s time to see what the competition is up to. Go to Google or whatever search engine you prefer and run a search on each of your keyword phrases to see which sites come up in the results. Then spend some time visiting the top sites to find out what other keywords they are using that might be prime candidates for your site. Make a list and run them through Wordtracker to get their KEI scores – this will tell you if you should be using those terms or variations on them.
Phase III: Finessing the List
Now it’s time to narrow down your list to the final cut. A word to the wise: competing for the most popular search terms (one- or two-word terms like “toys” or “sports cars”) isn’t impossible but it’s usually expensive and time consuming. For modest budgets, it’s better to select terms that have less competition and a decent volume of searches. Also: pick terms that are relevant to the pages you’ll be using them on and that will attract the kind of targeted traffic you want.
Phase IV: Putting the Words to Work
First, apply your newly chosen keyword terms to your existing web pages. (Click to learn more about content optimization.) Then, if you have powerful search terms left over, consider creating new pages to highlight them. For example, if you sell K to 12 educational materials and discover that the phrase “learning problems” is highly searched on, consider creating an informational page on this subject.
Finally, don’t forget to put your keyword phrases in title tags, description tags, alt tags, text links, headings, and subheadings. Plus add them to any incoming links in articles, newsletters, press releases or blog entries you post to the web. Search engine crawlers take note of all these repetitions and conclude that your site must be a true source of information for that term.
Keyword phrases that contain deliberate misspellings are a common and legitimate tactic. But it has to be handled carefully or your site risks being seen as sloppy and unprofessional. If you decide to do it, minimize the risk by only using one spelling/misspelling of a word on any given page.
Some entrepreneurs use highly competitive terms that DON’T represent their product or service, but that represent their competition. (For example, a company that sells natural body building supplements but employs search terms like “steroids” to fool people into visiting their site.) Nobody likes being tricked and that game can easily backfire on you.
By using relevant search terms that accurately reflect your page content, you are saying to your visitors, “You’re in the right place, you can get your questions answered here.”
Combining what you already know about your business and its customers with good keyword selection tools and professional SEO techniques will help you optimize your site for both organic search engine rankings and pay per click advertising. This small investment of time will reward you handsomely down the road.
PS: If you still need a bit more inspiration, Wordtracker offers an entertaining, easy-to-read ebook that explains the keyword selection process. It’s free to download here: http://www.Wordtracker.com/keyword-research-guide.pdf
Additional Keyword Tools and Resources from GoodKeywords.com:
Keyword Suggestion Tools – identify more keywords that people might search for in addtion to your main keyword. Some of these tools also let you know the popularity of the keyword searches and that is always useful.
Keyword Spy Tools – see what people are searching for in real time. This is useful for website owners who want to identify or take advantage of emerging online trends. But please be aware that you may encounter some offensive adult keyword searches.
Keyword Top Lists – find out the most popular keywords searches on each major search engine.
Keyword Software Tools – high powered keyword tools that may give you more than the free info above.