Effective keyword research means more than brainstorming a few ideas and getting them down on your website. It means finding out exactly what your customers are going to type into the search engines in order to find you.
It also means taking a look at the competition and wondering if you should even bother competing for the keywords that they have optimized for. It is about finding the cheapest, simplest and most efficient way of getting people onto your website via a search engine.
You need to know your target audience very well and get into their minds. You need to know that they are going to search for before they even search for it. You must know other details about them so that you can appeal to them indirectly.
2 – Keyword analysis to check the validity of your research
You may come up with some great keywords based upon your research, but if nobody ever types them into the search engines, then what is the point of having them? They may be ideal, and they may be the first thing that your customers think of when they think of your products. But, they may not be the words that they type into a search engine. They may be using another tool to find your products or services. They may be using another tool that completely circumvents the search engines.
3 – Creating a list of less targeted secondary keywords
This step is the most commonly missed step. You need to do this for two reasons. The first reason is because your website is likely to be big and you cannot keep repeating the same keywords through your website because it will cause some distorted results on the search engine results page. You will need some keywords to plump up your selections. The second reason is because you cannot assume that all your primary keywords are going to be ideal, and some of your secondary keywords cannot attract unexpected traffic if the keywords are not there in the first place.
4 – Trial and error testing using PPC
Testing your keywords within your own website is going to take you months, and may result in you doing a lot of pointless off-page SEO. So why not test out your keywords on PPC networks first. The Google AdWords is the most obvious option because your adverts will be appearing besides the search engine results themselves, which is where your website is soon going to be.
PPC trial and error testing is cheap, quick, and very easy to measure and analyze.
5 – The application of your keywords and monitoring
This is the part where many people think that all their hard work pays off, but step number five is just the end of the beginning. Step number five is just where you take the training wheels off your bike. You are still a long way from mountain biking and motorcycle riding. The five steps to keyword research are what you do to prepare your website for a life at the top of Google’s search results.
At step number five, you insert your keywords into your website. Do this via the Meta tags, the content, headers, page URLs, titles, and anchor text (you get the idea). Put your primary keywords on your most important pages and in the most important positions. The secondary keywords may be used to plug the gaps. These gaps exist because you probably have a lot of web pages and you do not want to use the same keywords for each. You should also consider dropping a few keywords in places such as the ALT text of your images.
The mix of primary and secondary keywords should be spread around your website like warm honey on crusty bread. Once that has been done, you need to get on top of your web analytics. Google Analytics is free and should be suitable for your needs. You need to check to see how well each web page performs with its given keywords. Keyword research does not end once the keywords are in place. You will need to check to see if your keywords are working for you. You also need to have a clear view of what is working and what is not.
One webpage may have 190 hits per month and one may have 23 hits per month, but that does not mean that one page is better than the other. The page with 23 hits may be attracting spend-hungry buyers, whereas the 190 page hitter may be attracting people who are just looking. So remember that your analytics need to be kept in context.