Unbeatable keyword research is important. If you have a blog or website and want to get ranked in the search engines, then you probably already know that proper keyword research is one of the most important things you can do. In fact, without it, you will find that you are relegated to the bottom of the search engine results and while you may have the best product or service in your niche, no one will be able to find you!
Here are 5 keyword research tips that will help get your site to the top of the Search Engine results:
1. Breaking Down Your Niche
Unless your chosen niche is a very small subniche of something else already, you’re going to want to take a look at a broad range of keywords in your overall niche to figure out where your site can best fit.
While you can eventually compete for broad terms like “weight loss”, “search engine optimization”, “dating”, “health insurance” etc… these larger keyword phrases are extremely competitive and it could take quite some time to make traction in the search engines. Therefore, it’s usually best to find some sub-niches within these areas where you can start to rank and get traffic in less time.
What you want to do is go to the google keywords tool and type in your broad keyword phrase. From the list of keywords that comes up, you will want to pick some sub niches that look interesting to you and match with what your site is about.
For example, when I searched on the main term “weight loss”, I came up with some interesting terms such as:
Healthy weight loss
Weight loss programs
Exercise for weight loss
Weight loss for men
Effective weight loss
Weight loss guide
Weight loss information
Now what you want to do is take each of the terms that seem interesting to you from this list and then type those into the keywords tool, to get even more keyword phrases. Make note of all the sub niches that have a good amount of keyword phrases in them and consider making those the focus of your website.
When doing so, pay attention to the amount of searches each phrase gets – it doesn’t make much sense to go after keywords that get only 10 searches a month! My advice is to set the “match type” (at the top right) to “exact” and weed out anything that gets less than 1900 searches a month.
2. Going Wide
Sometimes you have to think out of the box and investigate keyword phrases that don’t have your main keyword term within them. Think about your niche and try to come up with some related topics that people might be interested in.
Sometimes if you look at the very bottom of the results that you get with the google keyword tool, you can get some ideas from there. For example, in the weight loss niche, you might also consider researching keywords that have the root phrase exercise, plus size, fat loss etc…
Going wide with your keyword research can add value to your website as you will be able to address all the different issues that your visitors might want to know about.
3. Long Tail, Short Tail or Medium Tail?
If you’ve been around internet marketing for any length of time, then you’ve probably heard the term “long tail keywords”. These are simply keyword phrases that have more “words” in them. Internet marketers like them because they are very targeted and usually “buying” keywords meaning that the person searching for that phrase is looking to buy that item.
For example the long tail phrase “green tea weight loss supplements” would be great to target if you have a page that sells green tea weight loss supplements. The person typing that phrase into Google is in all likelihood looking to buy such a product and you can typically expect a high conversion rate.
The great thing about long tail keyword phrases is that they typically have little competition so you can easily rank for that keyword phrase. The bad thing about long tail keyword phrases is that they don’t usually get a lot of traffic. So, you need to include long tail, short tail and everything in between in your keyword research strategy. Personally I would not go for any keyword phrase that gets less then 1900 exact searches a month.
The long tail phrases will allow you to start getting traffic right away but unless you have a ton of them you won’t ever be able to get a significant amount of traffic just from the long tail. This is fine if you plan to have a bunch of small niche blogs that dribble in traffic, but if you plan to build an authority type site, then you will want to include the more competitive keywords too. The long tail keywords can help you build your site while you are waiting to rank for the more competitive terms.
4. Using Your Own Stats
If you are already getting some traffic to your blog, the best way to find out what people are looking for is to look right in your stats and see what keywords your site is being found for. Using this method, I’ve found quite a few keywords that were not uncovered by any keyword tool!
Looking at your stats can give you insight as to what your visitors want as well as what the search engines think your site is about and can spawn a whole new list of keyword ideas.
5. Sizing Up The Competition
Once you have your keyword list, you need to figure out if the keywords are worth putting effort into. This means checking out the other sites that rank for that keyword and trying to see if you can “beat” them.
Now there are a lot of ways to “check out” the competition. I know some people look in google for the keyword phrase in quotes and if there are less than 10,000 competing sites, they deem it worthy of adding to their list. Another thing you can do is type allintitle:”keyword phrase” into the Google search bar to see who is targeting the keyword phrase in the title.
While these will both give you an idea of the amount of pages that use that keyword and who is using onsite SEO for that phrase, I think that the best way to determine if you can rank in the top 3 spots is to just search for the keyword in Google (without quotes) and see who the top 10 ranking pages are now.
What you want to look for is the PR of the page, the age of the domain, the number of links to the page and the strength (or PR) of those links. Then you need to make some sort of determination as to whether or not you can do similar off-page SEO in order to rank your page for that term.
Finding the right keywords to target on your blog or website is the first crucial step in getting targeted organic traffic from the search engines. If you do this step correctly, you will start to see a steady stream of targeted traffic that just keeps growing and growing!
Guest author Lee Dobbins is a full time internet marketer that specializes in website development and promotion. Visit WebsitePromotionBlueprint.com for more on how to get targeted traffic to your blog and don’t forget to sign up for her FREE 10 Step Link Building Process Ebook and Spreadsheet that will help you organize your link building efforts and start a flood of traffic to your website. You can also write guest articles and share your SEO tips.