Keyword research is the base for any good SEO campaign and a large amount of your success will be truly dependent on how well you did your keyword research. Of course, this will be built into your overall SEO Strategy, but it should be the very *FIRST* item on your SEO to-do list.
When you start you really want to think about your industry and use a top down approach to the seo keyword research and development. What I mean by that is, start by understanding the audience that you are marketing to. This is a very basic marketing principal and quite frankly the most important thing to understand within Internet Marketing. Once you understand the audience that you a speaking to, you will have established what types of keywords and key-phrases they are searching for on a daily basis.
Now that you have established the audience that you will be marketing to, it is time to starting laying this out and putting it into your overall SEO Strategy. Since this is the base for your entire SEO Strategy and/or campaign, having these keywords and phrases handy will help you later with items like Link Architecture. Something I like to do is get the keywords layed out on either a whiteboard or something of that nature.
Moving forward, you want to do some competitve analysis with the competitors and other industry leaders for the industry, community, etc. This will help you when you start getting into the real detailed data mining and using Excel or an application to maintain this data. On a side note, you not only want to make sure you note down the keywords, but, keep score of what company it is for later use, it can help you in your Link Building efforts. Finally, doing this analysis can also lead you to new and creative discoveries for keyword research.
Figure 1.1 – Keyword Research Lifecycle:
If you are keeping score at home, we have now plowed through the start of gathering the main 10-15 keywords to target for your site. We’ve done this by understanding our audience, the main industry terms and a doing a bit of competitive analysis. The next step is finding a keyword research tool that you like and enjoy working with.
Keyword research tools all have different features and benefits. Some are free, some are expensive and some are bundled. I personally love doing some data mining and using different sources. Everyone has their own needs and wants though, so I would suggest finding methods that make your life easier or that you enjoy. That being said, here is what I have been using lately:
Free Wordtracker Tool: I sometimes visit this page just to do some quick sanity tests on keywords that I am interested in. When reviewing pages, i sometimes pull this up to look at the product/services that are on the page.
SEO Book Keyword Tool: So far, this has been the best tool that I have used lately. Aaron Wall has done an excellent job with this. Gathers a daily estimate for keywords and/or phrases based on a search term. I love that it has an aggregated listing of all the data I need. Finally, I love that I can export to CSV and import into excel! (P.S. Great job Aaron! As always!)
Y! Search Marketing and Google Adwords: I always feel that PPC tied into your SEO campaigns. It gives you the opportunity to test/measure/adjust and so on. With that, I can get a little bit of data to use in the keyword research process.
To be honest, lately, I have been solely reliant on SEO Book’s tool. Just perfect for all of my needs at the moment.
Next thing you need to do is do is run a query on your top 5-10 keywords that you have identified. Prior to doing all these searches though, you need somewhere to store all this information, as mentioned earlier, using Excel is a great way to do this. Truthfully, you need to find what works for you (and possibly, your organization).
Based on your main keyword search you should be able to gather a pretty healthy (read as: LONG) list of your main and long tail keywords, seperated out somehow. If you are using a keyword research tool that exports this data for you, it should be a piece of cake! At this point, you will just need to “massage the data” to your liking.
Now that you have this nice healthy long list of keywords, you have an insight into some importance of each keyword or phrase. You can organize this to your liking and will definitely assist you moving forward while doing things like Copywriting and Link Building.
You can use this data as a basis for your overall SEO Strategy and campaign and build in overall statistics as well. (which could make for a very LARGE Excel sheet!) You can then use these stats to build charts, graphs, etc. of which can be used in presentations for upper management, executives, and/or consulting clients.
SEO Keyword Research is a necessity! Contact me about my SEO Consulting Services and get started with your SEO Strategy today!