Why Setting a Solid Foundation with Keyword Research is important?

~By: Roxanne Peterson

SEO companies constantly stress the importance of thorough keyword research. Building your online brand with a clear sense of your target audience is one thing, but trying to predict how your audience will try and find you is a completely different kettle of fish. The keywords you choose will set the foundations for your entire SEO campaign and represent your strengths and specialisms as a company.

First of all, simply employing an SEO consultant in the first place will greatly aid your keyword research. Their job is to discover your niche to sell your products or services – and sell them hard. As the owner of a business, you can often become so involved in your own organization that you find it impossible to think like a consumer. Using a combination of research methods, search engine optimization software and personal experience, your SEO specialist can inspire new approaches to keywords and suggest better search phrases.

Cementing a solid basis to your campaign by thoroughly researching relevant search terms is crucial for the on-going success of your website. Identify your primary keywords, i.e. those of most priority for your business, and look to also optimize your secondary phrases, i.e. alternatives that don’t generate quite as many searches but could still instigate business.

The second step you need to take along the road to determining your best keywords is to get talking. Chat to colleagues, brainstorm ideas with your marketing team (if you have one) and even speak to clients to try and understand how they found your company in the first place. You’re not only conducting this research to benefit your SEO, you also need to consider the user experience and human perspective. At first it’s best to come up with a definitive list of generic, broad match keywords that best represent what you offer. Then, as you gain confidence about your choices, consider targeting search terms that represent every aspect of your business, from the products you sell to the USPs you offer.

You could also check out your competitors’ keywords as part of your research process. While you don’t want to copy their tactics like for like, if you know that another business is thriving thanks to clever SEO marketing then taking a sneak peek at their optimized keywords will benefit your decision.

The SEO Best Practice Guide, as published by the search engine optimization research authority eConsultancy.com, recommends distinguishing between your head search terms and long tail keywords and targeting particular users with a good mix of the two. For example, optimizing your site for generic (and therefore more popular) keywords is great to raise awareness of your site alongside the big market players, but those searching for the particular product or service are more aware of the choices on offer. Long tail phrases are, by definition, more precise, and those searching with them are normally more inclined to purchase or inquire. Using this type of term indicates a true intent or purpose to the search (often referred to as a commercial search). As an extra benefit, long tail search terms can be cheaper to optimize as the level of competition is often lower.

As is often the case with search engine optimization, bear in mind that many more specific keywords may not convert too well when it comes to the organic search listings – again, it’s important to analyse all the information available to you to truly determine where those extra sales are going to come from.

Once you’ve got a clear idea of the search terms you want to cover, take advantage of the variety of SEO tools that are freely available on the web. Such search engine optimization software will demonstrate how many monthly searches are generated for your keywords, the competition you’re facing from similar sites and even which terms are more likely to result in higher sales conversion ratios. Great SEO tools include the immensely popular Wordtracker, iSpionage, SpyFu and our personal favourite, SEMRush. Another handy piece of kit commonly used by search engine optimization professionals is Google’s very own Adwords tool.

As a conclusion, take all industry advice on board when it comes to keyword selection, as simply going with your gut feeling won’t result in the best ROI. If you’re liaising with an SEO consultant on a regular basis, use their specialist advice to your advantage and take this opportunity to really put across the goal of your business’ search engine optimisation campaign.

About the Author:

The above article is edited by Roxanne Peterson, who is associated with many UK Seo and Web Designing related companies like SEO Positive in UK which is showcased in the article. She excels in writing articles related to web designing, SEO, pay per click services, social media etc.

The Power of the Keyword-In-The-Domain-Name

Here’s another most often-preached principle by the gurus that I personally have the benefit of proving to myself to be true – the power of the keyword in the domain name. Like I’ve said in a previous post, I’ve just recently taken keyword research seriously. Pessimist as I am, I often find myself wondering if the preachings of the web gurus, one of which being the effectiveness of keywords in the domain name, are true. I guess there are several ways to find out, but there’s only one way to go about it where the result of which I will believe a hundred percent. And that is to try and see it for myself.

I got to my computer and did the usual procedures someone who has just learned about keyword research would do. It might have been very easy to just pick any keyphrase that doesn’t have any commercial value because it would have the least competition, if not none at all. But I said to myself, it would be a much better proof, should it succeed, to try a keyphrase that not only will appear within the first page of a google search but also earn as well, say, in adsense.

Long story short, I came up with a keyphrase that I fancy to have some commercial/adsense value. It’s got the markings of a good keyphrase as defined by the seo masters. It has a considerable search count value (well, at least it’s got more than a thousand); has low competition; has low search returns when searched with quotes around the keyphrase. And most importantly, the domain name is still available without me having to resort to the use of hyphens.

One seo master boasted of his site appearing in the first page of google on the third day after he launched his site in his server. This really got me worried because I can’t even find my site using “site:mykeyphrase.tld” on google for 5 days. Google got it indexed on the 6th day and only the main page (I had initially uploaded 3 pages in all), although “cache:mykeyphrase.tld” says it was cached on the second day after launch. I remember how elated I was to see that the site was finally indexed. The next day however was a downer in that it appears that google forgot about it and says it has not indexed the site. I searched frantically for some advise about the matter online. Some discussions say this situation is normal and is no reason to worry about. Google is not only not human, but is also not perfect. Some say this situation reeks of the smell of a site being banned for some reason or another.

Somehow, the impatient part of me (the dominant one) surprisingly agreed not to conclude just now that the experiment is a failure. It turned out to be one good decision because the very next day, I found out that it had re-appeared in google’s index. Not only that, it is now in the first page of the google search results for the keyphrase. Conclusion? The SEO gurus are right. A keyphrase in the domain name does help a lot. My site is among the entries in the first page of google! Number 1? Nope. But the conclusion of this experiment brings me to the beginning of another experiment. And that is to prove that backlinking work will help push a site up the rankings.

And oh, let me add that it earned $2.35 in adsense on its first day. A measly earning you might say but it puts the $ sign to my little $uccess.

Basic Manual Keyword Research Methods I Learned So Far

Keyword Research without Micro Niche Finder

Recently, I took a serious look at this keyword research thing that a lot of veteran bloggers are babbling about. I did a lot of googling about keyword research and the techniques (e.g. determining exact phrase count, etc.) people are using to reach whatever goals they have for themselves and their blogs. I noticed that a lot of them use some software to simplify the process. Some still talk about the traditional way of digging for keywords. One common term I encountered is ‘green’ keywords. This has its origin in a software called Micro Niche Finder where a keyword that is supposed to be profitable has a green symbol placed beside it to signify its status. So far, I’ve learned that a green keyword has a high search count, meaning a lot of people are searching for it; has low competition or low ‘exact phrase count’, meaning only a few bloggers are writing about it or targetting this particular keyword; has high commercial intent, meaning the keywords have high commercial value in the sense that most people who are searching for results in google using this term have a tendency to buy and click the ads; has low strength of competition.

I have of course read about the importance of keywords or keyphrases before, but I never really gave it much weight as my purpose for blogging has nothing to do with earning money, at least initially. My first idea about blogging is akin to having a diary to record my experiences and thoughts and everything the never-resting mind can conceive. Sticking to this idea however, I learned later, means there is not much chance of earning something out of the work you did for the blog. One can always write about interesting things and still earn from it. And this is done supposedly in a manner where you do a research for specific key words to use in the article you write that can bring in adsense revenue. I guess, this is not a bad idea.

The power of softwares like Micro Niche Finder is that it makes keyword research a piece of cake, saving you lots of time and energy. However it does cost a lot. And being wary about shelling out such amount considering my status as a newbie blogger who has yet to appreciate the value of keywords, I thought I’d just take the hard way for a while. That is, I’ll just do my keyword research the traditional, manual and laborious way.

Based on the discussions and videos I have so far seen about Micro Niche Finder’s capabilities, the following factors are considered significant in determining the profitability of a keyword or keyphrase:

  • Search Count
  • Exact Phrase Count
  • Search Volume Trend
  • Ad Cost
  • Commercial Value
  • Strength of Competition

There are other items that are also considered relevant, but basically the above-listed ones are the major items to be reckoned with.

I’m pretty sure there are several other tools and methods I have yet to discover but at this point I have learned about some tools and methods that one can utilize in the absence of a software like Micro Niche Finder.

Search Count: This is the number of searches, usually per month, for the subject keyword or keyphrase. This can be retrieved through Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool. This of course does not include the number of searches made through other search engines, eg. Yahoo.

Exact Phrase Count: This reveals the number of indexed pages having the same exact phrase. Obviously, the lower this number, the better. This ‘exact phrase count’ can be retrieved by typing on the google search box the keyphrase enclosed in quotation marks.

Search Volume Trend: This is an indicator of the stability of a keyword or phrase. This tells us if the keyword is being searched throughout the year or is search seasonally. This data can also be retrieved using Google’s Adwords Keyword tool. This is not shown by default. You have to choose to have it displayed using the dropdown menu just above the table of results.

There is also this site, http://trend.icerocket.com/, which sort of provides this same data.

Ad Cost: This gives the estimated cost per click of a keyword or keyphrase. Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool gives this data. Again this is not displayed by default.

Commercial Value: This is given in percentage terms. This indicates the probability of a searcher buying something based on his searched phrase. This is more popularly known as Online Commercial Intent or OCI. This value can be obtained by going to a Microsoft site called: http://adlab.microsoft.com/Online-Commercial-Intention/.

I stumbled upon this video about a free Commercial Intent Tool.

Competition: In Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool, this is shown as a horizontal box to the right of each keyword/phrase. The fill color inside the box indicates low, medium/average, high advertiser competition. For purposes of earning thru adsense, the higher this value is, the better. Micro Niche Finder however seems to have a different competition index indicator. It labels it as SOC, for Strength of Competition. A low value, with a corresponding green color indicator reveals that a keyword/phrase has low competition.

I have a feeling that whatever Micro Niche Finder can find automatically, anyone can also find manually. The time difference to accomplish the same thing however would be exponentially big. As soon as I get a grip on the real value of keyword/phrase targetting, which at this point I’m beginning to have, and obtain actual evidence of its effectiveness personally, I won’t hesitate to purchase Micro Niche Finder. This James Jones must be a genius.

I’ll henceforth be continuously researching for the proper use of keywords and how to process them for profitability. It pays to listen to the gurus through their free lessons which crowd my email inbox everyday. Best of luck to me and to those who are starting to raise a leg to step on the first rung on the 100-rung keyword mastery stairway.