If you know anything about SEO, chances are you’ve heard quite a bit about keyword research. We’ve talked about it here on the blog quite a few times, and it’s a pretty well-known fact that, when it comes to moving your site up in Google rankings, KWR is certainly an integral process. After all, search terms and keywords are the lifeblood of organic search, and if you can get your site to rank for some popular ones then you can get one step closer to internet domination.
But, though you may have heard these buzzwords before, knowing about and doing are two different things. In fact, it’s quite impossible to truly understand the process of keyword research without proper guidance and information. That’s why we’re here to hold your hand through this infinitely boring but crucial topic! So, without further ado, here are our forbidden and exotic secrets of keyword research; we’ll try our best to keep it entertaining.
Before we get started, it’s important that you understand what, exactly, a “keyword” is. For a searcher, a keyword is simply text that they enter into a search box describing what they are looking for. If a user wants pizza, a “keyword” that they’ll enter might be “pizza shops” or “pizza in [their city]; it doesn’t really get much more complicated than that. But, on the search engine side of things, a keyword is so much more! In addition to signifying what a searcher is looking for, a keyword is a signpost for your site. It is a simple way of describing what your site is about and it is one of the many things that search engines look for when a searcher runs a query. This is where the battle begins. With keyword research and implementation (and all SEO, really), you are competing with other sites to make your site “show up” when someone looks for this signpost by running a query. In other words, if you own a pizza shop in New Jersey, you are trying to find the right keyword—based on market research, psychology, and basic ingenuity—that is searched by enough of the right people to put your site high up in the rankings, thus bringing you traffic and (hopefully) profit!
At this point, you may be wondering what keyword you need to make sure people find your site. This, dear reader, is something that every SEO type person thinks about on a daily basis, and this is where keyword research begins. The first step on the path towards determining this answer is to begin brainstorming a list of keywords that you can start out with for your webpage. These are only beginning keywords, and you might not even use them when all is said and done, but they do give you a leaping point upon which the rest of the process is built upon. Here are a few things to keep in mind about this step:
Using these facets, create a list of keywords (at least ten is good for now), and record them somewhere. If you did it right, you’ll have a list of potentially valuable keywords that will lead to even more valuable ones down the line. Got it? Then on to the next step!
This is the point where conjecture, ingenuity, and hope actually start turning into hard numbers that you can use to make your website soar. But, in order to make this a reality, you are going to need a few tools that will give you the data you need. The most popular include:
We will start by using Google Keyword Planner, which you will need an Adwords account for, before moving on to the Moz Keyword Difficulty Tool. The Google Keyword Planner tool—perhaps the most popular keyword research tool on the web—gives you all sorts of yummy information that you can use to determine the value and the worth of a keyword. From search volume to competition to even local searches, the statistics you’ll get from here are invaluable to your research campaign, and should be used as heavily as possible. Here are the steps we follow when using Google Keyword Planner for a keyword research campaign:
Finally, we like to top everything off by using the Keyword Difficulty tool by Moz. This awesome tool allows you to determine whether or not a keyword is worthy of pursuing based on how high the demand is for the given phrase, as well as how difficult it will be for you to pursue it.
Though this is a premium service*—meaning you’ll have to pay for it—this step is invaluable, as you’ll be able to combine the search information and keyword ideas you’ve received from Google’s Keyword Planner with statistics about how difficult those terms would be to pursue, allowing you to make the final cuts. * If you wish to avoid paying for a service, Wordtracker is a good free demand tracker for keywords, and Google’s own keyword planning tool gives you a decent idea if you will be able to easily rank for a keyword or not.
Once you complete this step, you will finally be able to choose your final handful of keywords! Don’t forget; the keywords that you choose need to display the following qualities:
Make sure you pick 5 or so keywords that display a decent balance of these qualities, record them, and you are finally done with this webpage’s keyword research journey, phew! All you have to do now is sprinkle those keywords naturally throughout the page—a topic for another day—and you’ll be able to reap the rewards your hard work brought you!
We know this was a long and in-depth article, and we know that it may seem a bit difficult. But, you have to understand that keyword research is one of the most important steps in any SEO campaign. It provides the lowest bar of entry to some of the most powerful marketing data, and it can make you a lot of money—providing you do it the right way! So, follow our directions, and make sure you put your utmost effort into each keyword research campaign; it will pay off in the end.
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