Keyword Research – Building the Best List

The concept of keywords sounds very simple. When a person types in a word or series of words – such as ‘Power Widgets’ – into the search box on Google, the search engine will find every web page which has these two words on it, even if they are not next to each other on the website – even if they are on different pages of the website.What is not so simple about keywords is figuring out which are the right words – the ones your customers will use to look for your product or service. Those are the keywords that need to be on your website for Google to find.There is a false belief that there are some ‘magic’ words which, when put onto any webpage, will cause that page to be number one on the search results page on Google. It just isn’t true.Some people recommend putting words such as “SEX” or “Jessica Simpson” on a web page to increase the number of visitors. There is little debate that this isn’t a very good approach. For one thing, you’re not likely to rank very high on these types of keywords; and even if it did succeed in driving traffic to your site, is it truly increasing the number of real customers that are visiting your website?Have a look at an article on paid search benefits from for more info on this.

The true art of keywords has two components:

Figuring out what words potential customers use as a search term when looking for your product or service.
Insuring that those words are not just scattered on your website, but placed correctly so that your site, and not your competitor’s, will be on the top of the search results page.The first step is to capture as many possible keywords as you can. The goal is to create a huge list that you’ll narrow and refine later.Start your keyword research by looking over your website and finding the words that are specific to your company, product or service. Create a list of words based on this. You might think of this as your priority words list. If a person knows about your website they will normally type in this information first.Next, make a list of words which are about the product or service, but are not company specifically and think of these as your secondary word list. Some of these words might overlap with the priority list but that is alright.Then make a third list of words which you might call your outside list. This is a list made up of words (including possible typos) which people might type when looking for a product or service. I would also include competitor’s products and any other non-obvious words that your research reveals as likely search terms.If this keyword list is for a website that has been up and running for a while, take a look at both the website server statistics and any available analytics package such as Google Analytics. Compare your lists of words with what is in these other reports. Add any words you hadn’t already thought of.Now it’s time to expand beyond your website and collect words from other sources. These sources include brainstorming sessions with your sales team and any other group that comes in contact with customers or prospects, keywords from your competitors’ websites, and, finally, 3rd party keyword applications.

There are plenty of choices for keyword-building software but one of the best applications also happens to be free. It’s the Keyword Tool inside Google Adwords. You don’t need an AdWords account to use it. Just go to the AdWords login page and click on Keyword Tool.Follow these steps and you’ll end up with hundreds – if not thousands – of potential keywords. You’ll be able to eliminate many of these as inappropriate on sight. Others require a bit more research.In addition to understanding what words your customers will likely use to find your type of product or service, to select the best keywords you’ll also want to pay attention to the following: How many people actually search using these terms? You can get this information from the Google Keyword tool. It’s the number called Average Search Volume and it tells you how many times that search term is used on Google on average in a month.How tough is the competition for these terms? You can determine this by searching on Google for that term and noting how many pages Google finds with those keywords. (The fewer the better). You’ll also want to pay attention to the pages that rank highest for the terms.