Everyone, (or almost everyone) is aware of the significance of keywords when we’re talking about website optimization.
Most people click on the first few results and look for answers to their question there. You want to be there and give them answers/offer them something. So, it is immensely important that you position yourself high on search engines. The first step of doing that is a quality keyword research.
Some of you might think: “Well, my market segment is not that competitive, I don’t need to put in that much effort into my website.” Maybe so, but the truth is that online competition is getting stronger every year and those who work now, will enjoy the spoils later.
The first thing you must keep in mind and a first trap you need to avoid is; “Don’t write just for the sake of it.” There is a golden rule in the online world, and that is “quality beats quantity.” A number of daily, weekly, monthly website visitors are important, but not that important as their relevancy. You need people who are going to be interested in what you have to say, in your product or service. I doubt that pregnant women who are online shopping for baby clothes are important for your business if you’re selling chainsaws and hammers. The number of website visitors is a very tricky statistic and doesn’t say much. The only questions you should be asking yourself is “Who are they?” and “What did they do on my website?”.
Attracting essential visitors is what makes keyword research so important. If you’re going to do it right, it’s going to be slow and painful, but it will pay off, trust me.
OK, LET’S GO!
First, grab a pen and paper and start answering these questions:
- Who are we?
- What are we trying to accomplish?
- Who are our clients and what do they want?
- Who are our potential clients and what do they want?
After you’ve written down your answers, you should have a general idea of how to approach your target audience. Most people consider this part to be pretty straightforward and they think that they know everything about their target audience. When they take a look at the statistics (that says differently), they get surprised, and not in a good way. Don’t take this part for granted.
After you’ve got a general idea about your audience and their preferences, it would be smart to put together a list of clusters. Example: if you’re selling clothes, your clusters could be shirts, trousers, shoes and so on (and you could also connect them to genders – “women’s shoes”).
This step is not necessary, but it will make it easier for you, especially if you have many keywords. This way you’ll have structure and something to build on.
After you’ve jotted down your ideas, goals, target audience and clusters, you can get to the real deal – the research. Luckily for you, me, everyone, the internet is making it possible for us to use a lot of great tools, and a significant number of them is free (or they have a trial version).
The first one to mention is Google Keyword Planner. It is the most commonly used tool, but it should not be your only one. It provides excellent insight, but initially, it has been created for planning Google Adwords strategies.
After the Keyword Planner, (always!) comes Google Trends. It doesn’t provide a date for all keywords, but for those that it does, it shows changes of interest for that keyword during the specific time range, forecast (only for popular keywords), and you can use it to compare more different keywords. Great tool to find out how much the chosen keyword is relevant.
Soovle – cute and free tool to find keywords on different search engines with immediate recommendations for every keyword. You might not get the final keyword to use, but Soovle can definitely serve you as an excellent idea source.
KeywordTool – the best description would be a fast generator of a mass number of keywords. It’s simple. Put down your keywords, and it will give you a list of other keywords with their prefixes, suffixes, and listed alphabetically.
Ubersuggest – another fantastic and free tool that gives you substantial keyword lists and allows you to analyze every single keyword further.
Adwords & SEO Keyword Permutation Generator – this is the tool for when you’re familiar with top keywords in your niche, but you don’t know where to go from there. It’s a handy tool. Put down your keywords in keyword lists for example like this:
The tool will then give you many ideas to use further.
After you’ve opened all the tools, here’s how you’re going to play this out. Take your list of clusters and for every one of them, find keywords that are relevant. With enough effort, you should have a massive list of keywords. However, don’t stop there. All of these keywords should be analyzed further in Google Keyword Planner and Google trends to find out which ones are useful and which ones don’t bring anything with them.
If you’re a Firefox user, consider installing SeoQuake add-on. This add-on will (when on) show you a lot of interesting data with all your searches. It will show you how well each keyword is ranked and will show you a statistic called ‘pagerank’ that tells you how much does Google consider each keyword to be relevant (from 0 to 10). The higher the ‘pagerank’, the less likely you’ll be able to earn your spot amongst the first ones. If the pagerank is 4 or higher, it would be smart not to challenge there, but that depends on your time, will and knowledge.
Repeat the said process until you get a solid keyword list. The number of keywords varies because of the website content of course, but it usually is in the range of 5 to 20 keywords.
IS THAT ALL?
Of course not. Now you must write your website content based on that keyword list. Remember, quality beats quantity, so write smart and keep your (now relevant!) user entertained. The keywords should be delicately implemented into your content not just placed there awkwardly. Keyword stuffing is an old, ancient technique that not only doesn’t work, but could also lead to serious website penalizing. So don’t be lazy, create quality, relevant content around your keywords.
This phase depends mostly on you, your goals and the type of content you’re creating. Keep in mind that keyword research does not mean that the job is finished, nor can keywords give you a definite answer to what type of content should you create. Work to create a great combination of keywords and your market.