Detailed Guide to Keyword Research

April 26, 2012 by  Filed under: Advertising 

Discovery – In the discovery phase you are just looking to expand your keyword list, you might remember I mentioned a few ways to do this in the article: How to build a complete keyword list. Doing most of the things I listed in that post will help you when you use the keyword research tools, which will require you input a set of keywords to begin; start with the Google Keyword Tool. Choose the keywords that are tightly focused around your niche. You can read the post about how to build a keyword list for more detail, but generally speaking you are trying to identify the search terms which will most likely drive quality traffic to your website. This is not limited to only one word phrases, try and come up with two or three-word search terms as well. Try to cover all aspects of your products/services. For instance, it wouldn’t be enough to optimize an optometrist’s website only for “optometrist” or “eye doctor,” as people will probably make more specific searches such as “LASIK,” “glaucoma,” and “ortho-K.”

Analysis – Analysis of Keywords is where this starts to become an art form. You will want to collecting information about competition. Look at the results you get from working with Google Keyword Tool. For each query, you will get information about competition and monthly searches for each search term. There is not set rule here but you are obviously looking for keywords with high search volume and low competition. The main thing is not to only select words because they look vulnerable, you want to be sure they are relevant to your offering. Keep in mind that some terms are so much tied to a brand that there is a lot of searches but little competition. A good example of this is the NFL, Look at the pic below…

20.5 million searches and low competition!!! Looks great right? Targeting the search term “NFL” would most likely be a waste of time, the term is so vague, do people want NFL schedules NFL team lists NFL players NFL rules…I could go on but I won’t, hopefully you get the point. Achieving a high ranking might get you traffic, but your bounce rate (how quickly people leave your site) will be high as well.

Selection – In the two steps above you could potentially collect a list of over 500 words, generally that’s way too many. Now its time to drill down and narrow that list to specific and high-yield keyword phrases that accurately describe your industry, company, and products/services. Again, I will remind you focused keywords will give your site better rankings plus highly targeted web traffic, resulting in better sales conversion rates. When narrowing down your choice of search terms, keep in mind, if your keywords are unique and rare (i.e. “HP mobile printer h470”), having a little niche site with out a high PageRank won’t matter as much. If your keywords are common (i.e. “photography classes New York”), than PageRank starts to matter. Basically PageRank is a numerical weighting relating to the “measure” of your sites relative importance. Eliminate the “hopeless cases” – those for which competition is too keen – and the low popularity key phrases. Only select those with an acceptable rate of competition. And this will vary depending on your site and niche.

Deployment – After you’ve made your final cut of you should have around 100 keywords, but 15-20 of them should be your main keywords and the rest are related to those main keywords. I refer to them as “Supporting Keywords.” Place your “main search terms” in different areas of your website. I group then, I have a “main search term” and I group it with 5-7 related “supporting keywords” then when I write, I can sound natural but still use targeted keywords. Take care not to scatter all your “Main keywords” in one single web page.

Using this advice you should be able to start to learning how to select and implement keywords, doing so will be beneficial in many ways, not only will you raise search engine rankings, but the people finding your site will be more engaged.

If you liked this article you can let me know or ask questions on twitter @SMMInc, or comment on the article directly

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