SEO Keyword Research, a Beginner’s Guide
SEO stands for search engine optimization and this concept is basically about finding out what internet users are searching for and how you can help them find the right info on your site.
Whether you’re writing about service, blogging about a topic or selling a product online you want the people who are searching for it to be able to find it. Well that’s what SEO is all about, it helps people find what they are looking for.
It’s one of the main tools used to build organic (non paid for) search engine results. It does this by looking at any given webpage and deciding how relevant it is for a given keyword or phrase. By understanding SEO you can build search engine friendly sites targeting the most popular and relevant keywords for your webpage, and in doing so increase traffic, and hopefully sales.
The vast majority of traffic to your webpage will most likely come from search engines such as Bing, Yahoo and Google. All the major search engines base their results on some fancy algorithms, which rely heavily on SEO, so you want to adopt these methods to help all those search engine users find your site.
Now I’m not going to go into how search engine optimization works here, as that would take way to long and could be a whole series of blogs in its own right, besides which, it has been done by many times before. If you would like to get a full understanding of SEO a good site to visit is the beginners guide to SEO at MOZ.
So when concentrating on how to optimize your site for SEO you should do some Keyword Research to help you target the right people.
How to Do Keyword Research
You need to know what terms “keywords” people are searching for in relation to the products, services or articles you have on your site.
Identifying the correct keywords that your potential customers are conducting searches for will help you target them and allow you to see developing trends for new products, services and materials that these people are seeking, by paying attention to this not only can you generate traffic to your current site content but also develop the right content for the future.
So how do you judge if a keyword is good for your site or not. well you will need a keyword research tool like Moz Keyword Explorer, Google AdWords Keyword Planner, Majestic or one of the many others available. Some of these are free and some have a subscription while others may allow for a limited free trial use so shop about to find the one that right for you and your budget.
You then need use the keyword generator and research the relevant keywords for your site. (This will need to be done for each page on your website especially if you have different topics and products on each page).
The keyword research tool will take the keyword you entered in to it and generate other similar keywords, it will list all of these by how popular the word is and should also list the amount of competition for those given keywords.
You need to highlight the keywords that have the best volume of searches but also weed out the ones with a lot of competition as if many sites are targeting this keyword the fierce competition will hinder your ability to rank for it on search engines.
You can select several keywords for each page, and many pages on your website may share some of those target keywords, that’s fine.
( remember you can conduct keyword research for different markets, if you are targeting an audiance in South Africa they may well use different search terms than those in say England, even for exactly the same product, with this in mind be sure to set the correct country when doing your keyword research)
Let look at an example of how to find some good keywords.
Say you have an online store selling rare books and its located in California, now if you only operate within the USA you should limit your research to just the USA.
You could search for Rare books with your keyword research tool, you may find a list of keywords such as this
Now you can see there is lots of competition for the word “books” so you would look down the list for some better keywords. Read books online has some good traffic and reasonably low competition but unless your site offers the option to read books online its irrelevant and wouldn’t bring you the right traffic. You can also see the keyword book store has loads of competition, much more than the traffic it gets so that would be very hard to rank for.
Further down the list you see some more promising results.
used books online
used book store
While these have much less traffic than those on the top of the list they also have much lower competition and by targeting these words successfully you could be pulling in around 100 users a day for each keyword, if you were no.1 for those keywords on major search engines.
The key now is to use this info and optimize your webpages for the best keywords by using them in site content. be sure to use them in a natural way, include them in headers, and titles where appropriate and also write good content including these words in their natural phrasing.
All this will help you rank for these keywords. Be sure to check your ranking for these keywords and as it gets better you should start to see more relevant traffic coming into your site. So if you follow this method you will find the best keywords to target for your webpage and be able to successfully drive traffic.