How to carry out effective Keyword Research

In my article: The importance of Keyword Research I covered why we should carry out extensive research into keywords and the benefits that good research brings. This article will cover how we carry out our research and the steps involved.

The first step of any effective Keyword Research is to establish:

  • What services or goods you are offering?
  • What is your target market?
  • Is your product or service geographical?
  • How is your website navigation and pages layed out?

Once you have written all this information down open a spreadsheet and start writing down words and phrases that you would search for if you were looking for your products online. If you have multiple services or products use a different spreadsheet for each item. Once you have completed this phase you should have a few keywords for each product.

Now you could leave it at that and go with what you have written down but all you would have created is a list of keywords on how you would search for your products online. You are not the one searching, so you need to be able to find out what your perspective customers are looking for. For this to be really effective you will need to pick up the phone or send emails out to your current customers and ask them direct what keywords would they use to find your products or services. Again enter the keywords into your spreadsheet under the relevant product or service.

You now have a good list of keywords from which to start your online keyword research. There are a number of effective online tools to use for your research such as Wordtracker, Keyword Discovery Tool or as we use the free keyword tool from Google.

Armed with your keyword list paste them into the facility box and hit the get Keyword suggestions button. Google will now suggest other keywords for you, relevant to your entered keywords. Add relevant keywords to your list and then re-enter the whole list back into the keyword box as this will generate more words for you. Keep repeating this for everyproduct and service untill you have exhausted the suggestions relevant to your products or services. Don’t forget to add geographical locations.

You should by now have built up a comprehensive list of keywords for your website. The next step is to go back through the list and remove any keywords that you don’t feel describes your business or services exactly. What you are trying to do here is keep only the keywords that are specific to our industry and aren’t to broad in their meaning. For example: I run SEO Training Courses, but only in Norwich. So rather than just target SEO Training Courses we go for the keyword phrase “SEO Training Norwich” This will bring us far better results as everyone searching for this term will be requiring exactly what we offer. Rather than somebody in Glasgow looking for the same service typing in “SEO Training”. If we were to appear top for that search we wouldn’t be able to offer him a service unless he was willing to pay all our costs in accommodation, fuel and expenses.(In our experience, he will look elsewhere).

Ultimately you are looking for keywords that are going to convert our website visitors into paying customers. That means you are going to get a far higher return on your investment.

Once you have got your final list of keywords log back into the Keyword Tool and enter your keywords into the box. You then need to select show results for listed keywords only. Once your list has been generated by google we need to find the search volumes for the previous month. These figures are not 100% accurate but they give a good idea of how popular a keyword is. I always use the Local Search Volume as this tends to be the UK search market and a lower volume of searches so we don’t get misled from inflated search queries.

Once you have this information hit the download CSV Button and hey presto you have your final list of keywords to target.

Most people would consider this job done. I however go a step further and work out the KEI (Keyword Effectiveness Index) This formula basically shows the effectiveness of different keyword combinations so we can evaluate its worth. To do this you will need to run a search on all your selected keywords and note down the competing websites. You will see this at the top right of the search results page.

To make this even more accurate carry out an all in anchor search query. i.e. allinanchor:your keyword or keyword phrase

This will return results of competing websites for that exact phrase or keyword.

You should now have 3 columns in your spreadsheet: Keywords, Search Volumes and Competition level.

Now to work out the KEI you must use this formula: P^2/C or you can contact me and we will send you a pre configured spreadsheet so you only have to fill in the first 3 columns.

Now you are armed with a complete list of Keywords and how effective they will be for your website you can set about implementing your Search Engine Optimisation for your website.

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