Keyword Research The Professional Way

As discussed in yesterday’s post, guaranteeing an improvement in your search engine rankings, we will be discussing the importance and steps of keyword research. Keyword research is the basis of anything dealing with search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), or even pay per click marketing (PPC). To have any insight on what you should use for your online search marketing strategy you have to know what you’re targeting.

There are several methods and thoughts behind which keywords to choose and I’ll be examining and distilling several of these. You’ll be a keyword research whiz in no time and ready to move onto bigger and better things.

Every thought or hunch you ever had about keywords or determining how to get a high search engine ranking position should be thrown out the door. You cannot think like a typical searcher and your cannot apply their theories. The great thing about keyword research is the fact you can base your decisions entirely behind data. Everything is quantifiable which in the long run makes it tough to argue against.

Lets start with examining your business or site. What are your products or services? What is the point of your website? Why should people come visit your site? Answering these questions will give you a basis for some general keywords and ultimately the basis of your online search engine strategy.

Think about who your competitors are and examine their title tags, meta description, and meta keywords. This can accomplished by looking at the source code accessible by clicking view and then page source in your web browser window.

Any other words that come to mind that people may associate you or your product with your should written down. You’ll be taking all these words and plugging them into the Google Keyword tool that is free.

First click on the link filter my results located just before the get keyword ideas. Mark the box “Don’t show ideas for new keywords. I only want to see data about the keywords I entered.” and un-mark the box that says use synonyms located just below the keyword phrase input box. Plug your keywords in and click to get keyword ideas.

You’ll notice several columns appear: advertiser competition, approx. search volume for “month”, approx search volume. Advertiser competition tells you how competitive that word is. The more general the word is the more competitive it will be. The approx. search volume columns tell you how many people search during the current month and on average for that word. Again more general keywords will have higher volumes.

Now you’ll plug these keywords back in and mark the box “use synonyms” and un-mark the box “don’t show new ideas”. You’ll be finding similar keywords to the ones you currently found. Keywords you find relevant should be added. Keywords that have too broad a meaning or could be confused with something other than your interpretation should be left out. The goal is not to have a keyword list of words concentrated on high search volume it’s to have a list that is relevant to describing your product or business. This must always, always, always be the underlying them when choosing which words to use or not use.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that a low level of competition with a high search volume is ideal. You have be relevant to your product though. Choosing the keyword baseballs when your a basketball manufacturing will more than likely not work because the content on your site is irrelevant to baseballs.

Plurals, order of words, and match type all make a difference. Baseball is different than baseballs. Denver Colorado is different than Colorado Denver. “Magic Tricks” is different than Magic Tricks which is different than [Magic Tricks] (phrase type, broad type, and exact type). This is where your intuition and thoughts of “everyone searches the same” is WRONG!

Think about it who is a more qualified searcher looking for a youth basketball rec league? Someone searching for Portland basketball or basketball in Portland? Just because a keyword has a high volume of traffic doesn’t mean it’s qualified.

You’ll continue the process of plugging in like minded keywords and seeing what Google will spit out they find to be relevant or similar to your current list. Depending on the number of pages your site has will in large determine how many keywords you have. Look at the main themes your site talks about and what on your keyword list could be applied to these themes. A few different variations should be used, but generally no more than three or four. When you’ve aligned your page themes with keywords you have completed your keyword research report.

We’ll be using these keywords to conduct our Title tags which will be explained tomorrow as we continue on our quest of perfecting your online search marketing strategy.

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