Feb 11, 2011

Keyword Research For Search Engine Optimization & Rankings

Keyword research is one of the most important components of just about any venture. I could create a website for the keyword phrase: "Brian Armstrong is The Coolest Guy On The Entire Planet". If I used that keyword phrase as the title of the page or site and included that keyword phrase about 2-3 times on the site and even made a few back-links for my site using that keyword phrase, I could pretty easily get to the number 1 spot on the big 3 search engines: Google, Yahoo, and MSN (Live).

Well, the problem is that nobody (besides me) would probably ever search for that ridiculous keyword phrase. So, if I wanted to get traffic to any website from the search engines, I would need to know what keyword phrases people were typing into their search engines and base the content and structure of my site around those keyword phrases.

Good keyword research also helps you formulate your plan for what type of niche you're going to go after or what type of product you're going to sell. If you planned on selling blue wagons and did the keyword research only to find that NOBODY searches for "blue wagons", you may need to reconsider... However, if you found that tons of people searched for "red wagons", you'd have a winner.

Here are the three tools that I use and how I use them:

1. freekeywords.wordtracker.com - This tool allows you to input a keyword phrase and wordtracker will generate a daily estimate of how many times that keyword phrase gets searched for. This is a pretty good way to get an idea of the popularity of keyword phrases. I'll usually multiply this number by 30 to get my monthly estimate. I will typically use keyword phrases that have at least 500 or more searches per month. The more searches, the better. I would still need to check my competition though which brings me to my next tool...

2. Google.com - Yes, good old Google.com. I take the keyword phrase that I find using the free wordtracker tool and run a search in Google using a filter. Let's assume your keyword is "red wagon", you'd type the following into Google's search box:

allinanchor:"red wagon"

What this will give you is list of pages that use the keyword phrase "red wagon" as anchor text to link from one site to another site. You'll be focusing on the actual number of pages that Google brings back in its index. Usually in a light blue bar, there will be a "Results 1-10 of about XXXXXX" and will have a number there corresponding to the number of results. For very popular keywords, that number is very high, usually in the millions. For some keywords, the allinanchor results will be less than 1,000. Sometimes even as low as 100 or less. If you get a "good keyword phrase" that has no allinanchor, double-check your spelling and if it's still zero and has 500 searches or more, you've struck gold!

A "good" keyword phrase is one that has more than 500 searches per day and less than about 10,000 allinanchor results. The more searches the keyword phrase has and the fewer allinanchor (competition), the better.

3. Google AdWords Keyword Tool - Go to Google and search for "keyword tool" and it will come right up. This is the tool that can be used simply to double-check what you come up with using the first two tools. You can research keyword phrases you've found in wordtracker and although Google doesn't give you a specific number of searches, you'll at very least get an idea based on a bar-graph beside the keyword phrase of the search volume of that keyword.

You can use this tool to see a keyword phrase's relative search amount to other keywords. You can also sort the results by the most recent month's volume to see if there are trends for specific keyword phrases as well.

Keyword research for search engine optimization isn't necessarily an exact science, but using these tools for your keyword research will save you some money and will help you find keywords that you can use to get good rankings in the search engines. Because this is such an important component to any successful internet campaign, get good at determining which keywords you can go after and compete.

One last thought... if you begin with keywords that fit the profile I mentioned above (500 monthly searches and less than 10,000 allinanchor), you'll begin to see results relatively quickly with the right kind of search engine optimization strategies. These search engine rankings will build up your site's credibility and open up a lot of opportunities for you to pursue keywords that are much more competitive.

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  1. Great infograph! I just noticed how they promote using PPC which for me, is a nuisance. It helps but it also takes your ROI down. I think they should focus on gaining more natural backlinks and this will improve their rankings in just months.

    SEO Reseller

  2. Thank you very much for sharing your resources.
    long island seo

  3. I usually use the Adwords tool by Google and Google search to find competitive keywords.

  4. I usually use the Adwords tool by Google and Google search to find competitive keywords.

  5. The external AdWords tool have been very reliable when I do my keyword research. There are a lot more free tool but this one won't be budge from being the best.


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