Keyword Research is Keyword Research – Right?

I’m afraid not – there are big differences between doing your keyword research for PPC & doing it for organic optimisation.  For PPC you are looking to cover the entire’ keyword universe’ for organic you need to concentrate your efforts on the top 20 or so keywords (by all means you’ll attract some good long tail too but focus on the big ones).

That being said – for an e-commerce site your organic keywords may extend to several thousand different product lines. But these will not normally be your big target keywords.

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What’s the process?

1.       Just think about how you search and come up with a selection of keywords that you would use to access your own site.

2.       Ask your friends colleagues, random acquaintances or people you met in the pub on Friday night – how they would search for your product or service

3.       You’ll now have a nice list – probably with some very random long phrases

4.       Take your list and put it into the Google AdWords keyword tool (this works much better if you have a Google AdWords account – if you don’t just pretend to sign up for one and you’ll have full access – no need to enter billing info)

5.       This will spit out a really long list of keywords – view the search volume in the region you are operating in & select the keyword search volume as [exact match]

keyword research
6.       You’ll probably now start to see a very strange long list of keywords – some with no seeming relationship to your original list of keywords! When reviewing these bear in mind that you are unlikely to be trying to target a big single word phrase.  For example if your product was a website monitoring service then you may get keywords like ‘website’ or ‘monitoring’ by themselves, these are going to be too broad (and have little commercial intent) to bother targeting

7.       You can use the filter option on the left hand side to include or exclude a set of keywords (really useful for geographical keywords research – for example include only search terms with the keyword ‘Birmingham’ in them). For the above example you may want to remove ‘social media’ as a phrase because that is not part of their service.

8.       Use other tools as well – such as the Bing keyword tool, Wordstream and anything else you can find.  Have a look at competitor’s website too and see what terminology they use – but don’t get hung up on copying your competitors! You may also have web analytics data you can interrogate – or even better in site search keyword data (what people were looking for once they got to your website)

9.       If you already have a website you can use the Google AdWords keyword tool to give you ideas based on your existing content – but bear in mind that the way you write about your service may not be the way people search for it!

10.   Take your cut down keyword list and start grouping them together into logical groups – these will be come your page keyword targets later on

11.   Get searching!  Take your keywords and type them into Google – what sort of results come up? Are they relevant, do they seem commercial (for example are there lots of people advertising there, lots of relevant organic results?) – trim your list of the useless stuff

12.   You can now start to refine this keyword list down to your top keywords – based on search volume & commercial intent

13.   NEVER be afraid to revisit your keyword research data – and base your choices on conversion data not ranks or traffic. After all getting traffic isn’t the difficult bit – it’s getting relevant converting traffic to your website

Implementing your Keyword Research

So now, in an ideal world, you have a selection of about 20+ keywords that are really relevant, highly commercial and you want to implement them.

When implementing keyword research you need to focus your keywords to different pages – there is no point in trying to get your home page to rank for all the keywords, it’s not going to work!

Focus your keywords (and slight variations of them) to different pages in your site.  Include the keywords in your page titles, META data, <strong> tag in the page content, include the words in content (but don’t stuff) and include the keywords in internal links from other pages in the site.  Vary the keywords – and remember Google isn’t stupid so think about your users first and Google will help work out the keyword intent.

Author bio: Ben is a marketing consultant working for a variety of B2B & B2C clients.  He writes across a variety of different topics and is a frequent speaker at digital marketing events. This article was written for Monitor.Us who provide top notch free website monitoring services.

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