Monday, April 28, 2014

How to do keyword research


keyword research
Keyword research is considered the most crucial element to search engine marketing.
Utilizing the appropriate keywords and phrases to connect with your target audience can greatly impact your search engine rankings.

According to Search Engine College, "Keyword research is simply the process you use to come up with appropriate keywords and phrases that you wish to target in search engines. In other words, the keywords or phrases that you believe your potential site visitors would type in to search engines to find products and services similar to yours."

Here are the steps for keyword research as recommended by Search Engine College.

Before You Start

Think about your search engine campaign requirements. Are you looking to connect with a certain demographic market? If so, where do they live? Are you trying to reach men or women? How old are the people in your target market?

As an example, Search Engine College uses a fictional florist located in Miami, Florida. Possible target markets include:
  • women in their early to late 20s
  • people living in Miami and surrounding suburbs
  • brides-to-be living in Miami and surrounding suburbs
  • dating males
  • couples (especially around Valentine's Day)
The next step is to create a "seed list" of keywords. As you yourself probably use a search engine every day, put yourself in your target audience's shoes and think about what you would type into a search engine to find the relevant goods and services.

Gather Your Seed List

As you think of appropriate search terms, write them down. Search Engine College suggests the following search terms for the florist example:
  • flowers
  • roses
  • bouquets
  • Valentine's Day
  • wedding flowers
  • florists
  • gifts
Since those seed terms are very generic, they need to be qualified.

Qualify Your Terms

Refining the search terms can help you connect better with your target market. For instance, the Miami florist probably wouldn't want to connect with people interested in growing roses or with people who live in a different state.

So, Search Engine College recommends adding the following terms to the original list:
  • [send] flowers [Florida]
  • [send] roses [Miami]
  • [wedding] bouquets [Miami]
  • Valentine's Day [gifts Florida]
  • [Florida] wedding flowers
  • florists [Miami]
  • [send] gifts [Miami]
That really narrows down the searches. After all, the goal is to connect with your target audience. You have something to offer them. By connecting with the target audience, hopefully they won't click away from your website.

One thing to note -- it's important to make reference to your target search terms in your website's body copy as well.

To expand upon your keyword list, ask people that you know what terms they would use to find your website. Visit your competitors' websites too -- you'll get some additional ideas there.

Keyword Research Tools

Each web page can be optimized for two to three keywords at the most. For a 10-page website, you would need approximately 30 target keywords. For good measure, your keyword seed list (in this instance) should have at least 60 phrases to choose from.

I like to use Raven Tools when conducting keyword research, as it provides a collection of tools. Google AdWords also offers its Keyword Planner tool.

These tools can provide you with information on how much competition there is for the keywords. You want to choose keywords that have enough traffic, but also aren't too competitive so your site has a fighting chance.


Remember your target audience for your website. It's no use to target very generic keywords. By targeting the keywords that tie most closely to your website, visitors will be pleased with what they find -- and hopefully convert to paying customers.

Allocate Your Keywords

The final step is to take your final list of words and decide which pages on your website they should be assigned to. By looking at the body text, hopefully this should be straightforward.

For a collection of more public relations tips, insights and reflections, buy the book "19 Tips for Successful Public Relations: Insights on Media Relations and Reputation Management" from!
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