Selecting the right keywords for your website can be very time consuming. This tutorial will compile a few of the best industry resources plus give you methods of thinking that can help you fine-tune the process of targeting the right keywords for optimization.
An SEO campaign can be extremely successful if the right terms are sought out and targeted. There are several tools that can help, but you will still need to think and make educated decisions, as some tools may be biased due to Pay Per Click (PPC) data that is inaccurate for any campaign.
Utilizing several tools along with an analysis of your competitors will create an educated campaign.
In order to gain our seed list (a list of terms that will be the starting points), we will find our competitors online. The top ranked sites for terms that we want to target will serve as our guides in more ways than just keyword research, but that is for another tutorial. Find your competitors and note the Titles and Meta Keyword fields. These are areas of sites that generally contain the most important terms. If our terms are never in competitor titles, then we need to make sure they are even potential targets. To do this, we will use keyword trackers for data.
These trackers are gathering data from their sources and compiling it to a searchable index of terms and search counts for each and/or similar terms. Get your competitor data ready and add it to the mix.
Wordtracker used to have a one-day plan which was under 10 dollars, but now they limited it to a week for almost $30. Unless you’re an SEO firm you’re probably not going to need more than a week to do your research.
Wordtracker uses data from meta search engines. Unfortunately most people today do not know of, or use meta search engines. Despite the 4 million daily searches, wordtracker data comes from less than 1% of all online searches. We still find the data reported to be very good in the industry and still utilize Wordtracker as a top source.
Free Keywords from Wordtracker : When Yahoo announced it was ending Overture and the popular keyword tools, Wordtracker came around and offered a free version available on-the-fly via the Free Keyword Suggestion Tool.
Nichebot v2 is a paid tool offering additional data and tools including Word Trends, Keyword Discover, Overture and Wordtracker data all in one spot.
Nichebot Classic is a free tool for querying Wordtracker and Overture terms and data. It used to search Keyword Discovery as well, but that seems to have ended and is only available via the paid version of Nichebot2.
A keyword tracking tool that utilizes data from multiple engines including Google, Yahoo and MSN. Has the largest database that updates online monthly.
Keyword Discovery also offers a Free Search Term Suggestion Tool.
Yahoo Search Marketing (Overture)
The Keyword Selector Tool, another method of utilizing keyword research is now being phased out. I am not sure why it was not completely removed as the data only shows from January 2007 and does not seem to be updated. Use this with caution if at all.
This tool tends to be biased and is not always accurate for research purposes as it is targeted data for PPC advertisers. The Adwords tools despite offering exact match queries still reports single terms from multiple word phrases as a “found” count, so it reports from the ‘Broad Match’ perspective.
This means that Adwords tools provide false positives for keyword research and should be utilized mainly for click and bid data and compared to Wordtracker, Overture and Keyword Discovery count data. Here’s an example of PPC data biased term.
Putting it all together
The best research is thorough research and utilizing all data from all sources free or paid, can greatly increase your ability to determine the best search terms. Getting conflicting results will mean you need to look at competitor data including site titles and meta data, for instance some terms appear in Google, but not in other Keyword tools or have low search counts, it would be wise to look at on-page data on competitive sites and see if the term is even considered. If there is heavy consideration, then we accept the term as a target, if there is little to no consideration we ignore the term and place less importance on it.
If all keyword tools report great results for a term and our competitors also use it in title and meta tags, then it becomes a target for search and is placed into our top-list of terms.
This process goes on and on and determining the best terms can offer higher traffic and conversions for clients by going after a mix of general and related terms. An experienced SEO would make additional considerations in cases where regional terms are targeted, as the regional terms will pull in the conversions, but not the traffic. So finding a mix of terms that are realistic to obtain rankings for, is the goal of the research campaign.
A good combination of tools for keyword research is the best way to start a search engine optimization strategy. Using the right tools and making the right analytical decisions can make or break any campaign, so choose wisely and put the time in on campaigns that require you to educate yourself with the product and services.
Alan Rabinowitz is the CEO of SEO Image, a New York based SEO and Internet Marketing company which focuses on corporate branding and positioning in search engines.