When people think of Search engine optimization they tend to think about keywords – found at the core of all online marketing they are the bulk of what Google uses to differentiate between the many millions of websites found online today. It is those websites that include the right keywords in the right places that enjoy the most success.
The majority of SEO’s treat keyword research and implementation as a serious priority in their marketing methods yet very few actually go about it in the most effective way. There are far too many webmasters who see 10 minutes spent with Google’s Keyword Tool and Google Trends as a sufficient amount of research for their keywords. Although these pieces of software are very helpful at gaining of idea of the sort of words you should be using they are in no way in depth enough to be considered a keyword solution. Real keyword research takes a significant investment in time but the results are well worth the effort. To show you just how in depth keyword research can be I have listed out a series of tips below– hopefully they’ll open your eyes to what real keyword research should look like.
Take a look at your competitors
Although the keyword tools may give you some good ideas it is by looking at results in the real world that will help you the most. Take a look at the words used by your most successful competitors – you should take note of their most common words and plan to use these as your own seed terms. Until you are out ranking/out selling them you will need to adapt to any re-writes they perform. They may be updating their keywords on a monthly basis. (Please note that your most successful competitors in this context may not necessarily be your industry rivals but instead those websites that are ranking for the same keywords that you are/will be.
Use more tools than just Google’s
A common SEO mistake is to think that Google has all the answers when it comes to research. Just because Google dominates the search engine world it does not necessarily follow that it offers the best tools when it comes to keywords. It is in your best interests to use a wide variety of keyword tools to help combat the weaknesses that each one inevitably has. Collecting data from a wide range of sources makes it much more reliable you should remember that from school.
Learn your lingo
In the long process of research you will come across hundreds of potential keywords and phrases for your site. You should refer to all of these as prospects. These will all need to be read through to confirm whether they are appropriate for your site and/or proven effective for other websites. The list that you are left with should be referred to as your candidates – they are the words that have passed your interview per se. The ones from this group that you place on your site and optimize for should be granted status as your keyword targets. This terminology should help you if you are to converse with an SEO expert.
Be realistic about the keywords you choose
Choosing to use the most popular keywords for your site is not a wise decision. The competition you will be up against for these terms will more often than not be able to knock you out of the park – that is to say that their sites will hold much more authority and respect in the eyes of Google. You are much better off choosing relatively popular terms that you can specialize in and enjoy a place in page 1 of the SERP’s. A small business trying to rank for the term ‘shoes’ has absolutely no chance – more specialist terms should be utilized.
There are many things you can to do improve the effectiveness of your keyword research so don’t just accept the above as gospel. You should see keyword research as that tedious, boring and annoying part of SEO that you need to spend hours onto find success. Once you put some real time and effort into your research you’ll notice significant improvements in your PageRank.
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