Basic Keyword Research Guide: Simple Steps For Keyword Success!
One of the most important and most neglected aspects of search engine optimization is keyword research. It takes a great deal of time and effort, and often money, to rank a site for a given keyword. Without performing at least some keyword research before doing so, you will have no way of knowing if it is worth the effort.
Before optimizing a site, you need to take the time to find keywords that are profitable, that bring a great deal of traffic, and that have competition that you can beat.
It is always possible to pay for keyword research, but this is not always necessary. Here are some keyword research tips that you can take advantage of in order to ensure that your efforts are not in vain.
The Google AdWords Keyword Tool
AdWords is the advertising service offered by Google, which allows users to pay every time a user clicks on their advertisement. The advertisements are displayed when a specific keyword is searched for. This tool is designed for advertisers, letting them know how many people search for a given term. When you enter a keyword into the tool, it will display related keywords. It lists attributes such as the number of people who search for the term, and the average CPC (cost per click) that an advertiser is willing to pay.
This information will not necessarily tell you exactly how much a keyword is worth. The value of the keyword will depend on how you are monetizing your site, how good your conversion rate is, and so forth. Despite this, it is a good way of finding the most profitable keywords.
A highly profitable keyword is worthless to you if you have no chance of beating the competition. A rudimentary method of checking out the competition is to download the Google Toolbar, search for you target keyword, and look up the PageRank of the top four or five results in Google. PageRank is a measure of Google’s algorithmic view of the authority of a site. If your competitors have a PageRank higher than three or four, you will need quite a few resources to beat them in most cases.
Some very successful marketers use little more than common sense for their keyword research. They brainstorm keywords that sound profitable, and perform a search for them. They check to see if there is a great deal of advertising surrounding the keyword. They check out the competition and ask themselves if they can honestly build a more useful site or page on their site.
No matter what other strategies you are using, it is still important to use some common sense. The AdWords keyword tool isn’t always accurate. PageRank is not the only factor that Google uses to rank sites. Never let research tools trump common sense. If your gut tells you that you can’t build a site better than the competition, any success that you have is likely to be short lived.
The opposite is also true. A page can have a very high PageRank and be almost useless to the user searching for a given keyword. It might rank exclusively because of its PageRank, and be almost completely off topic.
A Word of Advice
No keyword research guide would be complete without mentioning the importance of diversification. Do not allow yourself to become attached to any given keyword. The most effective strategy is to pursue a subject and become the dominant authority on that subject.
Keyword research is useful because it gives you a goal for SEO purposes and because it helps you find topics that are worth covering. That said, if you cover your topic in full you will start to draw in search engine traffic for keywords that you never intentionally targeted. This is called “long tail” traffic, and it makes up 70 percent of the searches on the web. Becoming too centered on specific keywords will cut you off from this 70 percent of visitors who could find your site.
Keyword research should be used more as a way of detecting signals from your target audience. It lets you know what users are interested in and what they want to know about. If you answer questions that nobody else is asking, you will start to attract natural links.