A Step By Step Guide To Keyword Research: The Right Way

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keyword research

Keyword Research plays a critical role in your search engine optimization campaign. Targeting wrong keywords will results in search engines not ranking you and customer not finding you, resulting in loss of revenue and untargeted traffic to your site. Doing a proper Keyword Research is the foundation stone of your search marketing campaign.

Below are some steps that will help you start Keyword Research the right way, I am not saying that this is the best way but this will help you get a grip on doing keyword research for your site.

Obvious Keywords:
Start off by figuring out the obvious keywords. If you sell computers then an obvious keyword would be “computers.” Others might be “laptop” or “desktop.” After you’ve figured out your obvious keywords, type one of them into Google’s Keyword Research Tool

(Also, before you do this, make sure to sign up for adwords if you haven’t already because then you can see beyond 100 results.)

Sort by Global Searches:
Next, sort by global searches. (It doesn’t matter if you’re only selling in a specific region – you’re just getting a sense of how difficult each keyword is relative to each other.)  Now that they are sorted, you can easily see the relative importance of each keyword.  So, how do you choose which of these keywords to go after?

Personally, I’d suggest going after the long tail keywords – or the keywords with lower amounts of traffic. You can rank for them much faster than the harder words and they are likely to provide higher conversion rates as well. So what’s long tail? There’s no set answer.  

As a general guideline, I’d say that if the keyword has less than 2500 exact local searches in the United States, then it’s almost certainly long tail.  (Make sure the global search is reasonably close to the local to make sure that it’s not a hard keyword in disguise. 

You’re competing globally but you’re only interested in the regional traffic – so look at global for a sense of competition and local to see if the keyword is worthwhile.) 

Exact Match:
To find out exact match traffic stats, you’ll go to Google’s traffic estimator.  (It’s right below the keyword tool.)  Use brackets around the keyword like this [computer].  Make sure, though, that it at least gets around 1400 exact searches a month.  Otherwise, it’s probably not worth your time.

You also might be wondering why I use exact match.  I use it because it’s the most conservative measure I can use.  When you’re just starting out, you don’t have the authority to rank for many related words just because you rank for an exact word.

Focus on long tail keywords:
Now, assuming you get the #1 position on Google, which you should get if you’re focusing on one of these long tail words, you can expect roughly 20% of Google searches to click on your listing.  So, if you go after a word with 1400 searches a month, that’s about 47 searches a day, and you could expect to get 9 clicks a day with the #1 position. 

That doesn’t seem like a lot, but remember you can get lots of these long tail words and we’re only looking at exact match.  Eventually, as your authority and effectiveness grows, you’ll be able to rank for other long tail words without trying.

After you select a long tail keyword, make sure to check the 1st page of Google to see who’s ranking for it.  Compare page ranks, moz scores, site design, number of backlinks, and quality of backlinks to gauge the competition.  (If you check this keyword often, make sure to use proxy servers to check the first page of Google after awhile because Google eventually shows results based on how often you click certain listings.  If you click your own site often, eventually it may show up #1 for you when it really is not #1.) 

Traffic Range:
Considering the traffic range we’re going after, it’s highly unlikely you couldn’t get the #1 position if you put a decent amount of effort into it.  However, still, it’s a good idea to check before trying to rank.  If you see sites like Nextag, Pricegrabber, price comparison sites, junky information sites for an ecommerce keyword, etc. then you’ll be able to get on the 1st page of Google if you have adequate SEO skills

If you see Nextag as #1 or any of these other sites as #1, you can be the new #1.  Also, don’t be afraid of big sites like Amazon or Overstock.  They aren’t specialized and are likely ranking for the word just because no one who specializes in the keyword has taken the time to compete with them.

After you start making money from your long tail words, you can reinvest that money in going after some harder keywords. 

Wash, rinse, and repeat.

Image Credit: hmyhomebiz

Article by Andrew Wise

Andrew has written 1 articles.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • used tires December 29, 2010, 4:10 am

    Yeah in the past I had made the mistake of taking the “Broad” numbers as the true traffic measure, it wasn’t until I realized that I needed to set it to “exact” to give me the true numbers I was looking for. So yeah, its definitely important to do keyword research, the right way, good post!

    -Jean

  • Jasmine December 29, 2010, 8:11 am

    Great tips on keyword research. I like your long tail keyword analysis, looks like it’s worthwhile to spend some time and effort exploring this. Although we might get less searches and traffic, but the conversion should be good. 🙂

  • Tej Kohli December 29, 2010, 10:11 am

    Even I am using Google adwords find its perfect tool besides that keyworddiscovery.com is perfect , But here Yahoo Keyword suggestion while searching gives some new keywords

  • Alex@Jocuri December 29, 2010, 11:46 am

    It’s pretty confusing when you are a newbie. But with time and experience you can pull this off.
    Of course reading great articles like your can only help!

    Thanks Andrew!

  • silpada December 29, 2010, 10:35 pm

    Great tips on keywords research. I always recommend long tail keywords as they easy to optimize and more rewarding.

  • Web Design Company December 30, 2010, 8:00 am

    Internal ranking factors for SEO purpose completely depends on the keyword research .Thanks for such tutorial, it will really helpful to better understand keyword research…

  • home jobs December 31, 2010, 4:11 am

    Quality based keyword research helps you.

  • Blogging Tips December 31, 2010, 11:39 am

    Hi Andrew,

    Keyword research is without a doubt a crucial off-page SEO element. Finding those low-competitive keywords that get good searches at the same time, can really make a difference in the organic traffic you get. Unfortunately with the thousands of blogs being created daily, getting your hands on those kinds of keywords gets harder by the day. Google’s tools gives a great helping hand nonetheless.

  • kirsty January 1, 2011, 1:05 am

    I believe on using long tail keywords and I am currently using it now on my sites. At least with this long tail keywords, you can target a lot of good keywords that have big search counts. I still beleive in using Google Adwords.

  • Web Marketing Solutions January 3, 2011, 3:08 am

    Keyword research is the first building block and could very well spell the difference between failure and success. I also would like to add that you may also consider keyword synonyms and consider targeting top ranking at other search engines other than Google such as Yahoo and Bing. Thank you for this nice tip!

  • Software Development Company January 3, 2011, 7:54 am

    Keyword research is one of the important part of optimization. Choose good search volume and low competition, long tail keywords are more effective.

  • Compare Car Rental January 4, 2011, 12:10 am

    Kw is critical, like you said. But is it what we really should be donig these days?? I think its changed, you need to focus on what Google think its users are looking rather that the keywords that describe your business.

    Google is using persoanlized search more than ever these days!

  • Michael D Brown January 4, 2011, 2:24 am

    Obviously I don’t do adwords, I had not seen the traffic estimator tool there before. What a great trick copy all the words that you have selected and drop them into the “estimator.” Great post, just learn to be methodical and write enough to go after on KW at a time.

  • Komodo Dragon January 4, 2011, 2:37 am

    Awesome post, lot of great tips. I’ve always struggled with keyword optimization myself. There many stats and areas to research through. I usually end up getting lost in them and come up with a vague idea at best, of what to do.

  • online MBA January 4, 2011, 3:14 am

    I have a one question, Is the locality words like city names and state names including with the keyword is beneficial or not?For example – If we have a keyword “web design” and the business is in Delhi then “web design in Delhi”.

  • Matt January 4, 2011, 2:32 pm

    hi great tip’s to keyword research share by you but I also would like to add that you may also consider keyword synonyms and consider targeting top ranking at other search engines other than Google such as Yahoo and Bing. its possible that all search engines show’s different different results for same keyword research.

  • facebook customize fan page January 5, 2011, 4:46 am

    Keyword research is a fundamental part of achieving pay-per-click and search engine optimization success.In order to successfully market through search, need to continuously discover quality and goal-producing new keyword opportunities to create a competitive advantage. Effectively and continuously turn your keyword research into action….
    Thanks for providing such guide to understand keyword research in detail…

  • Pragati January 5, 2011, 4:48 am

    Nice post to understand Keyword research in a better way..Thanks for sharing !!!

  • Application Developer January 6, 2011, 8:03 am

    I donot think that long tails are now going to be existed after the implementation of Google instant. Let’s see other keywords research ideas.

  • SEO Services January 8, 2011, 1:54 am

    Professional use it 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.Thanks for sharing more informative stuff for it..

  • Car Rental January 9, 2011, 4:49 pm

    Thanks for useful tips, I didn’t know much about long tail keywords before and I think this is where we need some improvement as well.

  • Company incorporation in cyprus January 9, 2011, 9:20 pm

    Excellent and useful tips. I also want to share with you my experience in keyword research. I recently bought srapebox. It’s a nice tool for your search engine optimization campaigns. You can use the above tool for Keyword Research and link building. In my opinion is one of the top tools in the field. You should add it in your arsenal.
    Also a free tool for keyword research is youtube.. yes you can use youtube to see what users search there.

  • commercial property services January 10, 2011, 6:49 am

    I consider targeting top ranking at other search engines other than Google such as Yahoo and Bing. its possible that all search engines show’s different different results for same keyword research.

  • Printable Coupons January 10, 2011, 8:58 am

    This is an awesome steps. and I don’t have to pay for it too. lol Good job. Thanks.

  • Waikiki Beach Bum January 11, 2011, 4:09 pm

    I started out not focusing on keywords all that much, but once I did it was amazing how much more traffic I started getting. I know there are quite a few bloggers who say that you don’t really need to focus on keywords, but for niche sits I think it’s the only way to drive traffic.

  • Greg January 11, 2011, 4:37 pm

    Hi,

    Would you help me to understand why you first search for keywords using the AdWords Keyword Tool, but then go to Traffic Estimator for search volume data?

    The Keyword Tool has estimates for search volume, Global and Local, so why not use those values?

    Thank you very much.

    • Andrew Wise January 14, 2011, 12:17 pm

      It doesn’t really matter either way. If you use the traffic estimator, however, you’ll only see the keywords you type in – so you don’t accidentally look at the wrong keyword’s stats.

  • Seo company Kanpur January 12, 2011, 7:36 am

    Ya!I think you are right here with have a Right Way on Keyword Research info.I am impress to read it.
    Thanks.
    Raj……………..!

  • Evan Schulte January 12, 2011, 7:14 pm

    Keywords are most important. If you don’t do your research correctly you could be wasting time and effort in the wrong direction.

  • claire bright January 16, 2011, 3:34 pm

    Impressive article on keyword research. It is really one of the factors to consider in making a successful site.

  • dizi izle January 20, 2011, 5:46 pm

    step guide to keyowrds really true thanks

  • Leaflet Printing January 21, 2011, 12:32 am

    it wasn’t until I realized that I needed to set it to “exact” to give me the true numbers I was looking for.

  • FirstHosting January 26, 2011, 4:02 pm

    I would like to mention that we would also use some less quality keywords, does not matter if they are exactly matching your content or not, it must be related only.

  • p90x February 3, 2011, 3:36 pm

    Fantastic guide on keyword research. The steps are very easy to follow. I hope to see more posts from you seoexpert. Thank you.

    – Robert

  • Fazal Mayar @ Make Money Online February 13, 2011, 8:17 pm

    thanks for the tips, keyword researching is very important whenever you want to start a blog or create a website on a niche. You have to target for some keywords!

  • lose weight August 23, 2011, 11:47 am

    How to find keywords and how to evaluate points will be more helpful to all