Getting Started with Keyword Research

Today we’re starting a new SEO Saturday series on conducting keyword research. The goal of this series is not to train about monetizing your blog using keywords, as that will be covered in depth in The Ultimate Guide to Blogging Well. On this blog, we’ll focus on how using the proper keywords can boost your blog’s rankings in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), and therefore increase organic traffic to your blog.

Even though Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns are more competitive than in years past, which makes many beginners balk at the idea, keywords are still a vital part of developing your blog. Those words and phrases are, after all, the actual search strings potential readers use when looking for information on the Internet.

You may have heard about the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. Some keyword researchers make the mistake of using only the basic functions of that site. This series will teach you not only how to maximize your usage of this amazing free tool, but how to partner your Google Adwords research with top consumer sites that many keyword researchers overlook. We’ll start with Amazon.com.

Take a deep breath, then relax.

I don’t want you to be intimidated by this process. It’s a bit overwhelming at first but trust me — it is VERY simple and very repetitive. Once you’ve done it a couple of times, you’ll soon be wondering why you’ve never done this before. Remember, it’s not only FREE, it provides you with words and phrases your readers are already using to search with. This is an excellent process to include in your readership-building strategy, and we’re going to start slowly and learn a little more each session.

Each segment of this series will teach you one task. By the end of this session, you’ll have hundreds of keyword phrases to use in your blog promotion and/or product marketing. You may want to get a fresh notebook to log these or save them in a file on your computer.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Go to the Google Adwords Keyword Tool site.
  2. The default choice is “Descriptive Words or Phrases” but we’re going to use the other choice — Website Content. Click the radio button next to those words.
  3. Next, open another tab or window in your browser and go to Amazon.com. You’ll notice in the left-hand column a list of departments. Select the one that most closely relates to your target audience. Let’s say you blog about parenting. Move your mouse over the Toys, Kids & Baby link. Now click on the choice titled “Baby.” Look in the left-hand column. This is an amazing list of topics related to parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles of babies. Let’s see what’s selling the most, then you’ll know what’s the most popular topic right now.
  4. Click (from the left column in the Baby Store) on “Customer Favorites” under “What’s Hot.”
  5. Copy the URL of the Customer Favorites page from your browser’s address bar.
  6. Go back to the Google Adwords Keyword Tool page. Paste that URL into the field that says “Enter a webpage URL to find keywords . . .” Click “Get Keyword Ideas.”
  7. Within seconds Google’s tool will return a list of actual words and phrases that brought consumers to that page you entered into the search field. Pretty cool, huh?

The good part about this list is not only that it’s organic, but that many of the phrases are the long tail type, and therefore have less competition in the search engine results pages. Pick a phrase or two to incorporate into your post’s keyword density plan and start writing that post! If you’re writing a series, select several phrases to use throughout the series and use one phrase as the phrase you hope to rank for in each post of the series.

How well does this work?

I’ve found that when I write a series, on some posts, I’ll actually rank well for the phrase I’ve chosen, even within the top 5 results on Google’s page one. However, other phrases I may wind up on page 2 or 3. It all depends upon what phrases other bloggers are using.

A good tactic to include in your keyword strategy is to “test drive” your chosen phrase(s) by actually typing it into a search engine, such as Google. If the entire first page includes current information, perhaps that phrase is too competitive. Try adding one or more words to give it a longer tail or else choose another phrase from the list. When your test phrase returns a list of results that are out of date, you’ve got an excellent chance of ranking well for that phrase.

I’ve tried phrases where I noticed the most recent entry on the entire first page of Google is dated from 2006, and by the end of the day after publishing my post, I was on page one. That doesn’t mean that will work for everyone as Google incorporates a lot of factors in their search algorithms that are “top secret.” You’ll just have to expriment and see what works the best.

If you haven’t yet read the series titled, “Six Quick & Easy SEO Tactics Anyone Can Do,” it’s a great place to start with your site’s SEO strategy.

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1 comment so far ↓

#1 Prince Zermic on 02.21.11 at 9:53 am

A well planned out linking strategy for search engine optimization begins and ends with keyword research. From there you use the power of anchor text to achieve high rankings in the SERP’s.

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