Keyword Research Guide – Create Keyword Lists, Keyword Tools and Long Tail Suggestions

Keyword Research Intro

In this chapter I shall be discussing the importance of choosing the right keywords, where to find them and what to do with them. Following my advice can greatly increase the amount of traffic you currently receive which, in theory will result in increased sales.

Keyword Research is possibly the most important online marketing technique to get right. If you just guess what people are looking for, you take the risk that you’ll be wrong, consequently missing out on huge traffic potential. So why take that risk when keyword research can give you a tremendous insight into what people are really looking for?

Step 1 – Create a list of basic keywords

Jotting down notes will get you started, but it won’t give you any where near the full list of possibilities. Nevertheless, writing down what you believe to be good keywords is the best way to start.

When I start a new keyword project, my preferred method is to write down a few keywords then research competitors to see what they are doing. I read through their sites and note down the main ideas and concepts that are covered, and list what I believe to be the main keywords. I usually look at 10 websites to get a good idea of the important issues and ideas that are currently being discussed in my target industry. A great tool to check out your competition is SpyFu.

For this exercise I’ll make a list of around 20 main keyword ideas. The next step is to put these keywords into a Keyword Suggestion Tool to find out how popular they really are.

Step 2 – Input Basic Keywords into a Suggestion Tool

At this point you should have a notepad with a list of keyword ideas that you believe to be the most important. Great! Now we shall visit a few keyword suggestion sites to see if you are right.

My first port of call is usually Google’s free keyword suggestion tool. Primarily targeted towards AdWords users, this tool will tell you how many times a keyword gets typed in each month on Google and suggests related terms.

For example if I type in Web Design the tool generates a list of 150 keyword combinations that contain Web Design. I get results like dynamic web design, web design companies in London, budget web design etc. I only choose the keywords that are related to my business profile as you will find some keywords that don’t fit.

Use that list that you created in Step 1 and type in each keyword to find related terms. This process is time consuming but should give you hundreds of keyword suggestions. Save them somewhere on your computer, preferably in Excel format. Group them into themes – for example brochure design can be grouped with name badge creation as part of a major section on graphic design.

Step 3 – Advanced Keyword Suggestion

There are other keyword tools out there that will provide you with more advanced keyword information. You will be required to pay a small fee to use them and some of them offer a free trial. Although they are not essential, using them will provide you with a better keyword set.

Wordtracker

Wordtracker is one of the most comprehensive keyword research tools on the market and offers you a free trial to test it out. The full version of Wordtracker gets keywords data from 8 major sources, including Google, MSN and Yahoo. Their keyword database is made up of around 300 million keywords typed in over the last 90 days. The interface can be daunting to start with but creating basic reports and saving them is pretty straightforward. After a short while you will be generating thousands of powerful keywords in just a matter of minutes.

Keyword Discovery

This is my personal favourite and I highly recommend you check this tool out if you are serious about keyword research. The interface is simpler to use compared to Wordtracker; making saving projects a breeze. Their keyword database is much larger too; an estimated 32 billion searches are compiled from over 180 search engines. Instead of comparing data over 90 days Keyword Discovery gives you the chance to compare over a 12 month period which is perfect for analysing seasonal trends.

Step 4 – Find Long Tail Keywords

If you want to see first page rankings within a month or two then targeting the long tail is an absolute must. The Long Tail are those 3 and 4 keyword phrases which are very specific to whatever you are selling. Going back to the web design example, my long tail keywords would be small business web site design, award winning web design and web design companies London. It is easier to get high rankings with long tail keywords than it is with shorter more competitive keywords such as web design or graphic design. Not only are they easier to keyword search database for but they generally convert into sales better than generic searches. So where do you find long tail keywords?

You will be able to find suitable long tail keywords using Google’s free keyword tool but to get quality and accurate long tail keywords it’s recommended you use Wordtracker or Keyword Discovery. Simply input the keywords you have amassed in steps 1 & 2 and look for related terms that are less generic and more specific.

Next, look at the daily search counts to get an idea of the relevant importance of each term. Don’t be put off by low numbers; you may find you can jump straight to the first page when targeting that term and although there may be low traffic you could find it converts well. Using this technique, you can very quickly build up a matrix of hundreds, if not thousands, of quality keywords directly related to your business.

Just remember that keyword research should be an ongoing process and it’s important to experiment with different keyword combinations. If you feel like this is too much for you to handle Persona can take care of your keywords research. Contact us to find out more.

Step 5 – Input those keywords into your content

Now that you have established your target keywords, you’re ready to start creating your content and insert those keywords into the relevant sections. We’ll look at how to do that in the next article of the series.

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