If you are working as a part of a big machine – i.e. you are working for an SEO firm – or if you are just working on some of your own projects, then as someone in the SEO business you know very well that your keyword research is where it is all going to begin.
Don’t let your project end before it begins because you failed to do the proper keyword research.
Where does the proper keyword research begin? Unfortunately, this isn’t the same type of story as the “What came first? The chicken or the egg?” story. No, your keyword research beings somewhere, and it isn’t with any tools.
Money Makes the World Go Round
Any keyword research plan, or any Internet venture plan for that matter, starts with the same thing: money. What is going to make you money? For all SEO service providers this means that the keyword research really begins with diving into your clients’ niches and figuring out exactly what it is and what keywords are there that makes them the green stuff.
Your keywords that you pick have to having buying intent (unless you make money solely with advertising). Now buying intent can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different Internet marketers. Affiliates, for example, like to aim with keywords that start with “Best” and end with “Companies” or something along the lines of that. Local business owners usually use some sort of City-Service or City-Product combination, and so on and so forth. What is the point of using keywords that get awesome search volume if the buying intent isn’t there? You are better off going with some lower “search volume-ed” keyword phrases that will make you money and will end up having a way higher ROI.
Search Volume VS Competition VS Buying Intent
Lets look at a popular search term: Keyword Phrase + “tips”.
So many people on the Internet are searching for quick tips these days. It is the reason for the ever popular “Top Ten” posts. No doubt, they probably should not totally be neglected as they make for excellent blog posts and can act as some indirect marketing that may eventually lead to sales. But are they the type of keywords that you want to put your main focus on – absolutely not (except for once again if you just want a bunch of traffic so you can advertise).
When you are doing your keyword research, you not only want to use a plethora of different tools, but you want to make sure that you are factoring in different ideas, the three main ones being search volume, competition, and the money making capabilities of the keyword.
For instance just because a keyword term, like “buy used computers” for example, has a high search volume and a lot of buying intent packed into it. But is it a great keyword to go after if the competition is very high? You may in fact end up spending too much money on getting that keyword to rank high before you ever see a dollar in return! Instead go with a lower search volume with a lower competition keyword that still has buying intent.
Coming Up With Keywords Fast.
These next few paragraphs are going to be directed a little more towards people that may be handling clients. Coming up with keywords across a client base on a daily basis can be a lot of work, so here are a few tips.
Tip #1 Find the Right Rank Checker
There are all sorts of ranking tools out there to find out where you or your clients stand in the SERPs. SEOmoz, RavenTools, and Link Assistant are all good places to start. My personal favorite however is the free tool that Aaron Wall over at SEOBook provides. It’s so easy and convenient. It also seems to be pretty accurate – although it sometimes counts the map listings as rankings at the time this article was written. I have access to Raven and SEOmoz as of right now, but I still use the free Rank Checker which is a Firefox extension.
Tip #2 Use an Excel to generate keyword terms.
I just started doing this basically because I have to. I need tons of different combinations of keywords each and every day, and I can’t manually do them anymore. It is just too tedious.
For this reason I started using a spreadsheet that combines keywords in different cells into a single column of cells. Now I haven’t gotten it down pat yet, but so far it seems as though this little excel spread sheet is going to be absolutely clutch – especially when you need to do some quick research on the Google AdWords tool or a tool like Aaron Walls Rank Checker.
I am not going to get into the details of all the formulas (mainly because I haven’t totally quite figured it out yet) but I will say that I use the =CONCATENATE() function – which joins two strings of text from different cells. Here is a screen shot of an example below:
This article was written by Phillip Russell. Philip has been in the SEO industry for 5 years and enjoys writing articles about projects that he has worked on.