What is Keyword Research and how is it done?
In this post I’ll be talking about Keyword research. It’s an extremely important part of any SEO strategy because it’s the one that’ll determine if your site/blog will get organic traffic or not. And if you want to make money with online marketing, it’s all about the traffic.
I’ll be covering three main points in this post:
- I’ll first try to define keyword research
- Second I’ll explain why it’s so important by using an example
- Third I’ll explain how I do Keyword Research using free tools
What is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is basically just the task of trying to determine what keywords people will use when they do a search on search engines like Google.
It boils down to the whole psychology of searching online.You need to understand your audience or the market that you want to target in order to be successful in keyword research.
So if you want to start a blog for example, it’s fine and in my opinion even ideal to write about something that you’re passionate about. This way you’ll be able to come out with really good content and you won’t get burned out writing about the topic.
But unless you’re really lucky, chances are not many people will be able to read your blog. Only the ones you directly inform will be able to visit. You’re looking at maybe 10-20 daily views here. Now if this is enough for you then good job.
However if you plan to eventually earn money from your blog you’ll want organic traffic (think google, bing and yahoo searches). You need traffic, loads more traffic.
To do this you need to make sure that you’re targeting the keywords that people who might be interested in your blog are typing on earch engines like Google.
Of course Keyword research isn’t the only method of driving traffic to your site, but it’s one of the easiest and cheapest to do. If you successfully optimize a blog post or a page for a properly researched keyword, you might even rank on the first page of Google without doing any linking or promotion. That’s instant traffic.
You need to really work hard to find keywords like this though but my point is that it’s possible.
Why is Keyword Research Important?
I’d like to illustrate the importance of Keyword Research with this example:
Let’s say I want to buy some boxing gloves. And for the sake of this example, lets say I live in the US and all the really nice online stores will ship directly to my house. I’ll probably type in “online boxing shop” or “buy boxing gloves online” or “buy boxing gloves”.
Notice how I use phrases that tell the search engine that I’m interested in buying boxing gloves.
A good keyword researcher should be able to pick out the keywords that have the highest chance of converting for him. So if you own a boxing shop online, you want to make sure that when people like me want to buy boxing gear online, I find you.
If you did your keyword research properly and you targeted keywords like the ones I used in the example above, chances are your site’s traffic will be composed of people who are interested in buying boxing gear.
Now isn’t that awesome?
If you properly target keywords relevant to your store, people will find you.
But that’s not all.
The people who find you are the type of people who are looking to buy whatever it is that you are selling. It’s not just random traffic but high conversion traffic.
By picking the right keywords, not only do you drive traffic to your site, you also filter out all the useless people who only want to look at boxing gear or read up on boxing gloves with no intention of buying.
I know this is a fairly long example hopefully it got my point through.
Keyword research will allow you to target a particular audience and drive that audience to your site. So whether you are doing affiliate marketing, creating niche sites, running an e-commerce business or even just writing a personal blog, proper keyword research will bring your target market/audience to your site.
Of course keyword research isn’t the only thing you need to do to rank in Google and drive traffic to your site, but it’s the very important first step that you absolutely cannot mess up.
So take your time in researching your keywords because you don’t want to realize weeks or months into building a blog or niche site that you picked the wrong keyword to target.
Here’s how I do Keyword Research using free tools
There are amazing tools out there for keyword research but not everyone can afford them especially if you’re just starting out.
Thankfully there are a lot of really cool keyword tools that are available for free. It might take longer to do proper keyword research with them but at least you won’t have to shell out $100 bucks for each one.
First up is Google’s Keyword Research Tool
Just search “google keyword tool” on Google and it’ll be the first to come up.
It’s a really powerful free tool that’ll allow you to pull out tons of related keywords. It’ll also show you an estimate of how many searches each keyword gets per month, how highly competed for it is and the Cost per Click of the keywords.
If you don’t understand what the columns are showing, just mouse over to the encircled “?” and a pop-up explaining what it is will come out.
I normally use this first to determine what keywords to go after. The main things that I look at are monthly searches, competition and then CPC.
The perfect keyword will have high monthly searches and low competition (top 10 on Google not the one on the adwords tool).
A CPC of over a dollar or two is usually ok (if you plan to monetize through adsense).
How do you check competition on google?
This might take a while for you to perfect, but you basically need to look at what’s ranking in the top 10 for a google search of the keyword you picked. Are they authority sites? Are they article directories? Are they Amazon or ebay pages? Is there a yahoo answers page in there? How about a forum page?
You need to determine how strong these sites in the top 10 are. Look at what type of sites they are and the number of backlinks they have.
If you can find a couple of sites on the first page of Google that you know you can beat, then you can go ahead and target that keyword.
The next thing you need to do once you pick a keyword is go over to Google trends.
Google trends is another free tool made by Google that tracks the search history of a keyword.
Once you’ve picked a keyword that has potential, head to Google trends (again just Google it to find the tool) and then type the keyword in.
You’ll get a graph showing you how much it’s been searched over the years.
You need to check a keywords search history in order to determine if it’s being consistently searched for or if it’s dying down already.
Let’s say you want to target a keyword related to Christmas, chances are it’ll only be highly searched during the Christmas season. For the rest of the year you won’t be getting any hits.
If you’re planning to monetize your blog or site, you need keywords that get consistent monthly searches in the past because it’s a good indication that they’ll be as consistent in the future.
You normally don’t want to get stuck with a “trend” or “seasonal” keyword (unless of course you’re trying to target these) which might drive traffic to you for a month or two but will become useless afterwards.
Third tool is Traffic Travis
There’s a pro version for this but even just the free version is enough.
Once you’ve determined that a keyword has good potential and it’s fairly consistent based on the Google trends result, you need to check how hard it is to beat the competition. These are the top 10 sites on Google for the search term.
Traffic Travis will allow you to check relevant data that is important when determining if you should try to go after a keyword or not (competition research and backlinks).
There are tons of guides online on how to use traffic Travis so I won’t be going into the details. Just do a search for them or watch the videos that pop up when you first use it.
That’s it for this post.
This isn’t the end all guide to keyword research and it’s actually a fairly light one. There are so many more things to talk about but the explanation I gave above and the research methods I talked about should be enough to work with for beginners.
You’ll be able to learn more things as you go along.
Don’t try to learn everything at once. Try it out first and learn as you go.
I hope this post was informative. If there’s anything you’d like to ask about keyword research or the tools I mentioned, just leave a comment and I’ll be happy to answer them.
Latest posts by Malds (see all)
- Home Based Jobs in the Philippines – How to find them - May 12, 2013
- Online Jobs in the Philippines – What are they and where exactly can you find them? - May 9, 2013
- Nuffnang Sponsored Posts or Advertorials - May 2, 2013