How to Do Keyword Research
When you are writing content for the web, keywords are king. Targeting your content for a specific keyword is what signals to the search engines what your content is about and when to display your content in the search engine results page (SERP). If you don’t know how to do keyword research, you may have great content, but users are unlikely to ever find that content organically through the search engines.
Not every post needs to be an SEO post wrapped around a specific keyword however. Although it’s not clear if adding regular content directly impacts your site’s pagerank, it’s always a good idea to consistently add quality content to your website because, ultimately it’s people, not search engines that will be reading your posts and buying your products. Having a steady stream of good content gives people a reason to come back and pay attention to what you have to say.
That being said, writing targeted SEO posts is one of the best things you can do to get new traffic to your site.
Learning how to do keyword research is about anticipating what your target market needs, coming up with a solution to that need, and then framing that solution in a way that will signal to Google and your prospects that you have the answers they are looking for.
1) What do you know? – Think about what you know now. What answers do you have that people might need? Was there something that you were recently scouring the internet for the answer to? Did you find it? If so, then think about the search terms you were entering into Google. Other people will be doing the same thing. That might be a potential keyword right there.
2) What do you want to write about? – If there is a specific topic that you already know you want to write on, then it is simply a matter of finding the right keyword to frame that content around so that people can find your article.
3) What does your target market think about and care about? – Try to think of what your target market might be searching for. What questions do they have? What are they interested in? Is there any news in your industry that people are talking about? All of these things are possible keywords that you could write a post about and potentially pick up some of that search traffic.
4) Longtail Keywords are better – A longtail keyword is a keyword phrase that is 3 words or longer (ex: instead of “internet marketing“, try “internet marketing tips for moms”). Obviously that is just an example with no research done at all but you get the point. The longer and more specific the keyword phrase, the less competition there will be, the more targeted the traffic will be, and the easier it will be to rank for in Google.
An excellent free keyword research tool that can help you tremendously in learning how to do keyword research is the Google Keyword Tool. The following are the steps you should follow when researching new keywords with the Google Keyword Tool.
1) Type the keyword you want Google to research for you in the Word or Phrase box.
2) Next, check the exact phrase box. This will yield you statistics on how many people enter that exact search term on a monthly basis.
3) Once you have submitted a keyword you will get a list of results. The Google Keyword Tool tells you the monthly global and local searches for the term you have specified as well as many suggested similar keywords. What you are looking for is a keyword that has decent monthly searches. Around 1,000-2,500 global monthly searches is good. Higher is better but if it is too high, usually the competition is equally high.
4) Pay attention to the suggestions. The keyword you entered may end up being a bad one but you can often find a winner in the keyword ideas section.
5) Competition. You are looking for keywords with high searches and low competition. The competition section of the results however are not necessarily relevant. Those statistics are measuring the competition in adword campaigns. To find the competition for a keyword you are interested in, go to Google and type the keyword into the search bar within quotes.
It is important to search the keyword in quotes because that brings back all the results that match your keyword exactly, giving you a better measurement of real competition. Here, it’s the lower the better. You are looking for somewhere around 300,000 or less search results.
So that is a quick overview of “how to do keyword research”. Once you have found a keyword that is relevant to your target market, is likely to be searched, has low competition, and a decent number of monthly searches, you are ready to write your post! We’ll get into the details of how to actually wrap your content around keywords in the next post.