Keyword research is vital, valuable and is one of the most important aspects of online marketing due to the potentially high returns in the search marketing field. Here, we will give you some ideas on how to do keyword research and search engine optimization (“SEO”).
However, keywords are no longer the dominant factor, as you will see, content is king!
Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines use keywords to help rank your site. The search “bots” will crawl your site and strategic placing of the keywords will help them learn what the site is about. They will also look for relevancy between the site topics and the keywords used. In other words, if your site is about downhill skiing and you decide to hash out an article using keywords related to the latest craze, say “fidget spinners”, with the sole intention of drawing traffic, the “bots” will figure this out and you may well be penalized for it with a lower ranking.
This doesn’t mean that the search engines think you are a bad individual, but you must remember that their “end user” is the person sitting in front of their computer or staring at their smartphone, keying in “best downhill skis”. The searcher wants to find a site that shows them what they are looking for, not have to look at the cheapest fidget spinners first.
It is in the interests of Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yandex and all the others to be seen as a fast, easy, accurate and reliable source of information.
This doesn’t mean you can’t promote other products on your site, you just need to show relevancy. In this case, you could have an article about how downhill skiers relax and work in your fidget spinners that way. Just be logical about what you do.
Your potential clients are really the ones who will determine which keywords to use on your site. The more you know your customers, the more you learn which terms and phrases to target with SEO and how to use keywords on your website.
Your site may attract a lot of visitors, but what really matters is if they are your actual target audience.
How To Do Keyword Research Effectively
To kick start the topic process, think about products and services you offer that may interest your target audience. Let’s go back to the “Downhill Skiing” niche. Make a list of topics that can be the best fit for your site’s headline and you will later use them to come up with specific keywords later.
If you have either an established site, or a brand new one, you probably have the topics that you frequently talk about or try and sell, in this case maybe they include:-
best ski resorts
You get the idea. Whether its services or products you offer, we are going to assume the title of your site, not necessarily the URL name, reflects what your business is about.
Put Yourself In Your Customer’s Shoes
First of all, you need to put yourself in the shoes of your client’s persona – what kind of topics would your clients search for and what visitors would you want your business to attract? Here, skiers are hopefully looking for something we sell, and let’s say it’s a ski helmet.
They will probably go to Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. and key in “ski helmets”.
The term “ski helmets” is, not surprisingly, very popular and highly competitive with over 18,000 monthly searches. The issue with this is that the top search results are generally the huge sports and ski retailers. The search engines know what they are all about so they trust them. To compete with them, you will need to build up a massive product base, and show that your site has tons of relevant and good information. That will take an awfully long time.
Now, suppose they key in “best ski helmets”. Still fairly popular with about 1,900 monthly searches but far less competitive. The word “best” in the search often leads to some sort of a review site. Looking at the first page of Google, for example, shows a few major retail or E-commerce giants but also two or three sites anyone could compete against. The sites are not all that attractive and at least one of them takes you to various E-commerce platforms or Amazon to make your purchase.
Two other search terms (remember these are terms actually keyed in by potential customers) are, “top ski helmets” and “cheap ski helmets”, with some 300 queries monthly. It may not seem like much but if you can rank for those terms and get some visitors to your site you can sell other products while they are there – just like Amazon!
Long Tail Keywords or Head Terms
When individuals search for keywords in search engines, they either use long-tail keywords or head terms, sometimes referred to as short-tail. Head terms are keyword terms that are short and more generic usually not more than three words in length while long-tail keywords are longer phrases that contain more than three words.
To conquer or lead more customers to your site it’s important to mix both head terms and long-tail keywords. Using both strategies will give you balance in achieving your long and short term goals in the search engine market. Head terms are searched frequently making them much more competitive than long-tail terms. For example, which of these two would receive more hits?
-a list of healthy foods to lose weight
The first keyword would obviously get more traffic than the first answer; in this case the first term would receive 24 times more searches than the second, about 8,150 vs 380. But do not be discouraged, the second term would only have about 3% of the competition, or 9 vs 350.
While head terms bring more traffic to your site, if you can rank for them, this long-tail “a list of healthy foods to lose weight” is more desirable because the client is looking for a particular thing. With such low competition, you have a great chance of appearing on page 1 of the search results, and that is the whole point.
Head terms can also give results that are sometimes not related to what an individual wants and maybe totally unrelated to your business. Since long-tail keywords are more detailed, it’s easier to tell what a person is looking for. Your topic bucket list should be a mix of head terms and long-tail keywords for good ranking. Long-tail keywords will definitely win you potential clients who specifically need your products or services and in time, you will gather more visitors. This is another factor that will lead to the “bots” trusting you, thus giving you a better chance to rank for those valuable head terms.
Where To Put Keywords For SEO
Put one of these keywords in the title of your post, in at least one of the section headings in your articles and in the first paragraph if possible. Do not overuse it.
It will still take time to rank but heeding the advice that content is king, you should get there.
Put some thought into the article, do not just put out a pile of crap – don’t forget that someone has to read it.
Keyword Stuffing Or Overuse
You cannot stuff your articles with keywords. Well you can, but you’re going to be in deep search engine doo-doo . A few years ago, it was quite common and the technically correct way to attract traffic. It also made for lousy bedtime reading when the webpage started with about 50 nouns, maybe a couple of verbs and little or no punctuation, all to give you some 10 different methods to enlarge one’s penis.
You sure knew what the site was about but the search engines and their “bots” slowly started to take over the world and now they decide what we need to look at. It’s not too bad really as there is a lot more good, informative and readable content.
How Do I Find Keywords For My Website
There are several tools you can use, and I will go over just a few of them briefly here:-
Probably the king of them all is SEM Rush. This tool will:
- Give you the keywords for your site.
- Find related keywords for you, which will give you some ideas for articles.
- Show you the top results in the category you are trying to rank in.
- Show you the keywords that those sites are ranking for so that you can also target them.
- Give the keywords for any site.
- PPC tools that will give the latest information on the best terms to target.
- SEO friendly templates to help with your page design.
- Details of backlinks.
- Tracks the ranking position of your websites.
Much, much more (but it doesn’t do ovens).
The drawback? The cost of around $80 – $90 per month. It’s expensive and I believe you can use it in a limited way free as a good introduction. If you have several sites or one very large site and don’t have a ton of time for this kind of research, this is probably the best. I recently started using it and although the cost is significant, the time it has saved me is huge. I can use that time better to work on my content.
The Google Adwords Keyword Planner
An excellent tool that is free, just sign up for an Adwords account if you don’t already have one.
Go to your Adwords account, go to Tools, go to keyword planner, where it says “Your product or service” key in or paste in the URL you want to see the keywords for – it can be yours or your competitors – click on “Get Ideas”, and there you are, a list of the words that your competitor ranks for, how many searches, etc.
Now go and write articles using this information.
Go to the search bar and start keying in a search term, e.g. “skiing” and a list of other suggestions start appearing, in this case, skiing in canada, skiing terms. The Alphabet Soup comes into it when you start with your basic search term followed by the letter “a”- again “skiing a” – a list will start appearing such as skiing accident. Then go on to use each letter of the alphabet and note the ideas that it comes up with. This will generate a ton of ideas for not only keywords to put into your posts but ideas for articles also.
The terms that this throws up are actual search terms that people are using, so there are real opportunities here.
Time consuming, but free.
Long Tail Pro
There are many other keyword tools out there, probably the best pure keyword research tool for a long time was Long Tail Pro. It is a paid tool, about $37 a month, less if you pay annually. This does several of the things that SEM Rush does but is definitely not as comprehensive. I find when it comes to generating keywords, that Long Tail Pro is probably the best and most accurate.
For the price, it’s really not too bad and again, it may save you many hours of keyword research.
There is a free version also with limited capabilities.
The price was reasonable, $19 per month when I started but now up to $49, since it was revamped. Jaaxy has many tools such as site ranking, analysis, brainstorming. Again, a time saver and I would say that following the revamp a few months ago, it is as good as Long Tail Pro, however a little more expensive.
Wealthy Affiliate Keyword Tool
The final one I will bring you is the tool that I used at the very start. It is free BUT is part of my membership at Wealthy Affiliate.
This tool is all you need when starting out and many people who can manage their time much better than I, still only use this for keyword research. It is basic, can be a little time consuming but is also very easy to use. It is free to use without becoming a Wealthy Affiliate Premium member but you are limited to 30 searches per month, which is not a lot.
The reason I included this is because of the actual Wealthy Affiliate Program itself. Without it, I would not even be wondering about keywords because I got my online business started with them. You are the best to decide what you want to try out, not me, so if you get a chance, check it out for yourself. No credit cards, no BS, no rush, no time limit on the free trial.
I also wrote a review on it here and still stand by it.
I hope you found all this to be of some use, so please feel free to send a comment or any questions you may have.