Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Tips For Doing Keyword Research

A while back I wrote an blog post on Choosing the Right Keyword using Google Keywords Tool. That much hasn't changed since then, because there isn't that much to change. Keywords will also be a necessary part of any Optimisation process so it's something we just have to get used to. I have learnt a few extra tips for keyword research and I figured I'll share it in this post so here goes...

Be Realistic
Keyword research is a sort of science but you have to be realistic in setting your goals for Keyword research. Yes, there are goals to be achieved for keyword research. An example of a goal would be to be on the first page for say 'SEO Nigeria'. Realistically, there aren't that many people searching for that term (that will bring me to the next tip in a minute) but it's a start. Heck, I could say I want to be No. 1 for 'SEO Blog'  and leave it at that, but that's wishful thinking... considering the fact that there are sites way older and stronger than mine; so I'll just stick to something more realistic and specific like 'SEO Blog Nigeria'... In other words, set realistic and small goals then build up on that.

Know What People Are Searching For
There's no point being No 1 for a word no one is searching for, you will never be found, except maybe by yourself! So do some research into what people are searching for before you decide on a word or phrase. Now if you want to go international with this, people use different words for different things so research, research and more research! A good place to know what people are searching is the Google Suggestion box which as the name implies gives suggestions to searches. This could give you an idea of what people search for, although sometimes it comes up with the weirdest things so use with caution...

Know Your Search Volume
After you know what people are searching for, you really should check the search volume for that keyword. The easier way to do this is to use the Google KWT which I talked about earlier. Once you have an idea of how many people are actually searching for a keyword you'd know whether the word is worth it or not. There's no point wasting time and effort into ranking for a keyword no one would use.

Consider Geographic Keywords
Including localities and countries into your keywords can and will go a long way. They make keywords more specific to a region. Yes, it restricts the volume (and sometimes type) of visitors that land on your website, but sometimes it's better to be no. 1 for a specific or 'niche' keyword than being no. 30 for a non-specific keyword, or which position would you prefer? I touched on this in my post on website geotargeting and geolocation.

Be prepared to Experiment!
Believe it or not but Google isn't always right! Sometimes the Google Keyword tool would say there's a high volume of traffic to be gained from such a keyword but when you're actually no. 1 you find out the traffic isn't all that great! So, it's about trial and error, plus extra research. Be prepared to do keyword research at least once every 3-6 months you never know what might change.

Know Your Competitors
And if all else fails, know your competitors and find out what they're doing and copy it! Like they said, there's nothing new under the sun, so there's always someone else who's done what you're trying to do on the Internet. If you haven't found it, it possibly means you haven't searched hard enough. And if you're searched that hard and still haven't found a competitor for your market, pick your closest competitor and work with that, you'll be surprised at what you'd pick up...

These are some of the tips I've found to be quite useful for my keyword research. It isn't always perfect but it goes a long way... What have you done to get your keyword research down to a pat? Anything you would like to share? Thoughts and comments are highly appreciated as usual.

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