Important Steps for Effective Keyword Research

An essential part of any online marketing strategy will include effective SEO methods designed to draw more customers to your website. With the ever changing search engine algorithms, SEO techniques have certainly changed over the years; however, one important part of SEO that is still just as important as ever is choosing the right keywords. The use of good keywords will help more customers find what you have to offer, which, of course, will result in higher profits. The question many people have is – how do you know which keywords will be the most effective? The simple answer is, by utilizing the right keyword research.

Start by coming up with about 5 to 10 general topic categories that most closely describe your business, its services or products. Later, you’ll fill in these categories with more defined search terms relevant to keywords you want to rank for in the search engines.

The next step is to start digging deeper into your selected categories. Spend some time brainstorming each category and writing down keywords and keyword phrases you think your customers might be searching. At this point, don’t worry too much about whether your list is getting too long, later in the process, we’ll narrow down the keywords even more. Repeat this brainstorming process for every one of your selected topic categories.

Next, search for related keywords. A simple way to find related keywords you might not have thought about in the previous step is to search one of your keyword terms. Type your keyword into your Google search bar and scroll to the bottom of the search results. You’ll find several suggestions for keyword phrases related to your original search term. Add these to your list. You might even want to consider typing some of those related search terms back into your browser to expand your list even more.

Make sure your topic lists include both short keywords/keyword phrases, consisting of one or two words, as well as long-tail keywords, keyword phrases containing 3 or more words. This mix will typically give you the best SEO results.

The next step in determining your keyword strategy is to research how your competition is ranking for your selected keywords. Your competition will likely have keywords you aren’t interested in ranking for; however, they more than likely have some keywords that you will want to target as well. Try and use both easy to rank keywords as well as keywords your competition is already ranking for.

You should now have a fairly good selection of keywords and keyword phrases for each of your general topics. There are several apps and software programs that can show you what terms your potential customers are using in their searches. A couple of resources that can help you with this analysis, include the Google AdWords Keyword Planner and Google Trends. Take a look at what your potential customers are searching and plan your keyword usage accordingly.