What is Keyword Research and How to Make the Best of It
You search for something online. Say you’re looking for a great lasagna recipe. You type that into Google and hit enter. A nanosecond later a million hits come back. You can now peruse through the search results and find exactly what you’re looking for. You likely went to something on the first page, even if you continued through other pages, looking through the search results. Ever wonder how Google magically chose those websites to appear on the first page of the results? It’s not as arbitrary as you might think. Part of the reason is the keywords selected by the writer of the article. Today we’re going to delve a little more into the keyword research and ways to make it easy.
You’ve got an idea for a great article. You’ve sat down at your computer and you’re ready to write. What do you need to do first? Select Keywords.
Regardless of whether you do any keyword research or not, it is important to remember that your first loyalty is to your readers. You could have the most wonderfully optimized article for the search engines with keywords that make the SEO gods smile with pride, but if your article doesn’t engage your readers, any short term gain is likely to be a long-term bust.
Your ideal keywords will be ones that get some traffic (hopefully, at least 50 or so searches a month) but also have low competition, meaning that not a lot of other companies are trying to rank in Google for the same keywords.
How am I supposed to get major traffic if only 50 people are searching for my keyword each month?
The idea of selecting these “smaller” traffic keywords is for the process to be cumulative. If you can rank on page 1 for an article that drivers 10 users to your site each month and do that for 10 articles, isn’t that better than ranking on page 10 for a keyword that gets 1,000,000 searches a month? How likely are you to be able to attract any readers? Right…slim to none. Plus, once your readers get a taste of your awesome blog post, they’re likely to poke around at what else you have to offer.
How Can I Find the Right Keywords?
Try long-tail keywords. Rather than searching for a generic term like “lasagna recipes” (you can tell I wrote this blog before dinner), try writing for something a reader might search for like, “how to make lasagna in under an hour” or something like that.
Write down all the words you would search for when thinking about a topic.
Look for what’s trending in Google. Google has an application that allows you to trace people’s popular Google searches.
Let your analytics (Google Analytics) be your guide. Dive into your statistics to see what keywords are bringing readers to your site. You can piggyback from those in coming up with new blog posts.
Check out the competition. What are others in your niche writing about? If you notice a lot of your competition writing about the same thing, you might be on to something.
Type some of the keywords you are considering directly into your search engine. A lot of times you’ll see a drop-down of other things people are searching for related to your keyword. You can use these as ideas for your posts as well.
Once you have your potential keywords chosen, now you’ll want to know if you have the right keywords. There are a number of tools out there that can help both free and paid. We’ll take a look at one of each.
Google Keyword Planner
This is a free tool built originally for the Adwords platform, but has since been expanded to be more of a generic tool. The platform allows you to:
- Research statistics on a keyword
- Keep track of your keywords using lists
- Estimate how your keyword might compete in search rankings.
If you use Adwords for any of your marketing campaigns, you can also determine what bids will be competitive and use this to help determine your budget.
- It’s free!
- You can view trends for your keywords searched both locally and globally.
- You can receive keyword suggestions based on the data you enter
- If you don’t already have one, you’ll need to sign up for an Adwords account before you can use the service. Don’t worry you don’t have to sign up for any campaigns.
- Search volume may not be exact. The search volumes are really just an estimate.
Overall I think the Keyword Planner is a great tool if you’re not looking to spend any money, yet want to gain some insight on keywords that might be perfect for your next blog post.
Another tool that I’ve used for my keyword searches is Jaaxy. Jaaxy has many more features than Google’s Keyword Planner, but it’s a paid site. Is it worth the cost?
What is Jaaxy?
Jaaxy is a keyword research tool that allows you to input keywords that you’d like to use and evaluate them based on a number of points, including?
- Average number of searches for that keyword on a monthly basis.
- How much traffic your website could anticipate receiving if you are on the first page of Google for those keywords.
- The number of other companies that are competing for those exact same keywords.
- An SEO score highlighting the likelihood the keywords you select will rank on the first page of Google.
- If you were looking to create a landing page for that keyword, you could even determine whether there are similar domain names available.
- Do you participate in affiliate marketing? Jaaxy provides you with insight on what affiliate marketing programs are available that are related to the keywords you have entered.
- You’ll know exactly what keywords are viable for your blog post. You’ll know exactly if you’ll be able to rank and how competitive those keywords are.
- You can view your site ranking history. Input the keywords for blog posts you’ve already used and find out where you rank in Google.
- You receive an unlimited number of searches each month.
- It is a paid for service. While I don’t think this is a bad thing, since you get what you pay for, there are free tools out there.
- It can be addicting. There is so much information available through the platform.
If you are interested in giving it a try, they offer 30 free searches to allow you to test things out and determine whether it’s right for you. You can access the 30 free searches below.
Keyword research and selecting the right keywords can be a powerful tool in getting your article ranked in Google and in turn driving more traffic to your site. Using a keyword research tool can greatly reduce the stress of knowing whether your article might rank and allow you to keep focus on producing awesome content.
Already use Keyword Planner or Jaaxy? I’d love to know how either one works for you.
Thanks for stopping by! Please leave me a comment and let me know what other content you’d like to see. You can also follow me on Twitter @mommahelping.
Get Your Free Resource Guide!
Get your resource showing some of the best tools available to keep your blog running.