Get Keyword Research Right, First Time!
There are so many things you can do to aid an SEO campaign, take a look at the forums and you will find hundreds or thousands, in fact, probably tens of thousands of threads, with webmasters of varying levels of experience discussing the pro’s and con’s of various techniques. However one thing that all (experienced) seo consultants do seem to agree on, is that keyword research is THE most important thing to start any campaign with. Why and how? Let me explain…
This is easy, if you don’t select the right keywords from the outset, everything you do afterwards could be wasted. If you are doing the search engine optimisation yourself, this could equate to many hundreds of hours over the years, or even worse, you are paying someone else to do it for you, and are therefore paying them by the hour for each and every wasted hour.
Imagine you have a website selling pet supplies, but specialising in dogs, there is absolutely no point in being found for terms like “cat collars” or “parrot food”. Yeah yeah, I know there may be the odd person who has a dog, cat and parrot, but optimising for those few people really is not effective use of your time and money.
How to get keyword research right
To make this example clear, I’m going to stick with my example of the doggie pet supplies shop. So firstly you brainstorm, you write down every main keyword that you think is relevant, so you may end up with a list such as:
(please note the following tool is no longer available, but there are numerous other free tools now available, or just use the data from your Google Search Console.)
Once you have this core list, you need to start using some tools, I use Googles own keyword tool, as it can be tailored for each specific country, because I work in the UK, I set it to UK only results, plus it’s free! So first open this link in a new window https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal set it to UK in the advanced options (assuming you are also in the UK) and enter your first keyword “dog food”
Next, in the options on the left of the screen, change broad to exact, you will notice the numbers fall dramatically in most cases. Also please consider that the results are the number of people who searched for those terms on the whole Google network, so not just Google.co.uk, but other engines powered by google. Anyway, we are not interested in the global figures, so ignore those, then click on the header for local searches, you now have the most popular related searches for the UK, in order. So in this case you have 49,500 monthly UK searches for “dog food”
Now, what we are looking for, are the terms which have a high number of local searches, low competition and an increasing search trend, the chances are that the ones which fit this criteria, have high competition, that’s because every SEO consultant (worth their salt) know about and uses this or other similar tools.
So what am I looking for?
Assuming (I know, it’s the mother of all…. but bear with me a moment) you have not already paid someone to do keyword research and SEO on your website, so are starting from scratch, you need to start working on 2 lists now:
List 1 – this should be your long term goals, so will consist of the highly competitive keywords, which you would like to ultimately appear for.
List 2 – will be long tail keywords, these are the ones with less impressions, or searches each month, so therefore should have less competition (but do check) which can be targeted in the shorter term.
There we go, basic keyword research which is available to anyone. Now the hard work begins, so keep hold of them as they will form the basis for everything you do from here on in.