Keywords play a vital role in whether or not your website is found in search by your target customers. Spending the time to research keywords is an important exercise that will help you discover how people describe your product or service, which may not be exactly how you describe your product or service.
Here’s how you can start your keyword research effort.
5 Ways to Research Keywords for Your Website
Identify keyword phrases for which you want your website to be found — put yourself in your target customers shoes or ask current customers what they would type in Google to find your business. If you’re a local business, be sure to include the name of the region, city, or neighborhood where you plan to get most of your customers. For now, pick up to 10 different keyword phrases, and you’ll refine them in the next step.
Use the free Google AdWords keyword tool to find monthly search volume and competition – this is a free tool that will show you the monthly volume of searches for specific keyword phrases on Google along with the relative competition for advertisers targeting that keyword using Google’s paid search program, AdWords.
You’re using this tool for keyword research for SEO, but the competition is a relative indicator of how many people are also targeting those keyword phrases in the organic search results. Enter one keyword phrase at a time and note those keyword phrases with low to medium competition and relatively high number of monthly searches. Pick the 5 keyword phrases that have the best blend of competition and number of monthly searches.
Use Google Insights for Search to see how the number of searches for the keyword phrase are trending — this free tool from Google will show you a trendline of overall search activity for a specific keyword phrase since 2004. The scale is logarithmic so you can ignore the actual values, but pay attention to the graph. You’ll want to select keyword phrases that are steady or trending up which means that there is a consistent or growing number of searches for that keyword phrase.
Enter the keyword phrases in Google to see number of search results — after you run a search on Google, it will display the total number of results directly below the keyword box. This number may be in the hundreds of thousand to hundreds of millions or even billions. You’ll have a much better chance of achieving visibility for your keyword phrases if the number of search results is less than ten million. If you’re not limiting the number of results to less than ten million, then be more specific in your keyword phrase by including additional terms.
Use Website Grader to analyze the URLs of the first 10 search results – finally, to get an understanding of the relative competitiveness of the top 10 search results for a specific keyword phrase, go to websitegrader.com, and enter your website URL along with the URLs of the top 10 search results. Run the analysis and scroll all the way to the bottom of the report page. You’ll see how your website compares to the others across a variety of criteria.
Pay particular attention to the numbers in “Google Indexed Pages” and “Linking Domains” as these are the values over which you have direct control. Basically, the first one is the number of website pages that Google might return in search results, and the second one is the number of other websites that are linking to yours and your competitors’ websites. Higher numbers for your competitors mean the more effort required by you to create keyword-rich content and acquire relevant inbound links.
Use this process to find those particular keyword phrases that will generate traffic and do not require exorbitant amounts of time and effort to produce results. Repeat this process as you gain visibility for specific keywords, and you’ll steadily increase your website traffic over time.
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What other ways do you know to effectively research keywords?
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