As I mentioned previously, I’m transforming my recent “Extreme SEO Makeover” seminar into blog form. Last week we made an exhaustive keyword list, and in today’s topic we’ll cover transforming that list into an actionable keyword list via keyword research.
When optimizing a website, having the right keywords is the difference between success and wasting your time. It is critical, therefore, to do sufficient research to make sure you pick the right keywords. As opposed to the broad keyword list, you’ll be picking those most important keywords for your Tier 1 keyword list.
As I mentioned in last week’s Identify your Keywords post, the Google Keyword Tool is one of several great research tools. Let’s take another look at it.
In addition to the keyword column on the left you’ll find three other columns of interest. The second column, Advertiser Competition, refers to how competitive the keyword is within the Adwords environment. (If you plan to conduct a PPC campaign this will be important info, but if not then don’t worry about it here.) Next we have Local Search Volume, which reflects the number of searches during the last complete month of Google data, and Global Monthly Search, which reflects the average search volume over the past 12 months around the world.
When using this tool for keyword research, check out the number of average searches. Make note of marked difference between it and the prior month, as this could be due to singular events or seasonality. Generally, the thing to look for is a large number of searches as you want to spend your limited SEO time on keywords that will bring the biggest bang for the buck.
Don’t get too caught up in the numbers. Remember last time I mentioned how you need to pay attention to what the boss/client wants? Well, you’d better give those keywords a free pass to the Tier 1 list no matter how many (or how few) averages monthly searches they get. That’s right, if the boss wants Screw Flanders, the boss gets Screw Flanders.
Also, use some common sense. If a client’s main product is a keyword, you should include it in the Tier 1 list. In addition, take care to double check that the keyword you’re looking at actually means what your website thinks it means. I had a great example of that recently, while working on an SEO project for a local Home Security Systems installer. One of their areas of expertise is in whole house music systems, where there’s a central audio system that feeds speakers throughout the house. Preliminary keyword research suggested that house music was a desirable keyword. However, in doing a Google search on that keyword I found that most of the results were for the music provided to nightclubs by the house DJs – definitely not what my client’s business is. Strike that keyword!
Remember last time I mentioned the second use of the Google tool? Here it is: instead of punching in a URL, click the Descriptive Words or Phrases button and paste in your preliminary Tier 1 list. (Leave the checkbox in place for using synonyms.) This will give you the same sort of results, only it may suggest additional keywords related to your list that might have slipped your mind the first time around. Check into these new keywords as well, and adjust your Tier 1 list accordingly.
Using the Google Keyword Tool and some common sense, you can whittle down your big list into a more focused Tier 1 list. What you’ll do with that list will come soon…
Extreme SEO Makeover blog series
- Seminar Feedback
- Introduction to Extreme SEO Makeover
- Identify your Keywords
- Keyword Research
- Measuring your Status
- Aligning Keywords and Pages
- Optimizing Pages
- Trust but Verify