There are no two opinions on the importance of keyword research in the website optimization process. The success or failure of a website could hinge on the apt selection of keyword phrases. There are instances where website owners have invested heavily in developing a website but have failed to bring in adequate returns because of targetting the wrong keywords in their website text or not doing keyword research at all!
What is Keyword Research?
Simply put, keyword research is all about finding out what keyword phrases are used by the internet surfer to search for information, goods or services online. If there are no searches made for a particular keyword phrase, then why bother chasing the word? Instread use those phrases that internet surfers do search for!
Keyword Research-1st SEO step
Researching your keywords before writing the copy or even building your website is the first step. If possible, even the domain name selection should only follow after keyword research has been initiated on the site- specific industry and the target audience duly identified. Initiating any other step in the optimization process would be like putting the cart before the horse and an invitation for site failure.
Dos & Donts of Keyword Research
The first parameter should be to ask yourself whether the keyword phrase is in fact, relevant to your site and its contents. You should, besides, using keyword research tools find out whether people search for this phrase and also the extent of competition that you may have to face. If you are a company that sells dental care for example then you need to consider only the services that you offer, even though you see traffic for something 'almost' in your area. It sounds silly, but people do it. I have seen it.
Start the keyword research process by preparing an excel sheet and noting down all relevant phrases that come to your mind. Go through your entire website content with special emphasis on the title tags and note down all key phrases that may prove beneficial. You could also check the competitor’s website and record key phrases that may also serve your purpose. Thanks to keyword suggestion tools, you don't even really need to be that detailed in your selections.
Popular Keyword Tools
After you have made your selection of keyword phrases use a keyword research tool to find the frequency of their use among internet surfers. Here are some industry standard keyword suggestion tools:
- Google Keyword Suggestion – this one is fairly new but is in my opinion, the best one out there. Your keyword suggestions should begin here.
- Keyword Discovery – Trellian offers a good free trial and the tool is very useful for people that do not get what they were hoping for from Google.
- Word Tracker – until Google came around, Word Tracker was the industry standard for keyword research. They slept in a bit by not offering a free based suggestion tool and this is where both Trellian and Google crept in. Now word tracker has one. Its pretty good.
Chasing Long Tail Key Phrases
Once the phrases have been collected you can sort them out in descending order with the popular ones figuring at the top of the table. One important thing to keep in mind; Don't simply list the keywords that have the most searches first. Instead you need to create a balancing act of which keywords are most relevant to your company and the number of time they are searched. Next, consider a 'long tail strategy'. Picking keywords that are more detailed, then broad keywords will get you a more targeted visitor that is more apt to be happy with your site.
Example: You are a immigration law office located in Toronto Canada. Instead of focussing on a broad search phrase like "Law Firm", you would get a far more targeted visitor by focussing on "Immigration Lawyer Toronto". Presto! Suddenly you are getting a targetted website searcher.
Following these simple steps will ensure you are starting your website with the right techniques.
For more information on keyword research make sure to check out some of our other copy writing suggestion articles;
Harvesting Performance Keywords in Google Analytics
A good way to get keyword suggestions is to use Google Adwords keyword tool. First, you need an Adwords account. Then start a new PPC campaign for your site and use the keyword tool to find not only keywords that people have searched on but also their monthly relative search volumes.