Keyword Research Strategies
Use the Most Relevant Keywords
Yesterday we discussed the precise targeting offered by keywords. But even if a keyword is valuable, it might not be valuable to your business. For example, if you are a dentist in Chicago, it is not worth the effort to try to rank for the word dentist. Why? 99% of the people searching for that phrase do not live near Chicago, and are irrelevant prospects. What you would want to rank for, if you were a Chicago dentist, would be things like
- Chicago dentist
- Chicago dentists
- dentist in Chicago
Understanding Searcher Intent
Even within a niche like dental work, there are more specific types of dentists people search for, likeimplant dentist and cosmetic dentist. If you offer these types of services you would want to rank for keywords like
- Chicago implant dentist
- cosmetic dentist in Chicago
Free Keyword Tools
There is a wide array of free keyword tools on the market. My favorite keyword tool is the SEO Book keyword tool – it is fast and free, powered by Wordtracker, and allows you to quickly export your keyword data.
Every keyword tool has some data errors or anomalies. Don’t expect the tools to give you exact numbers, just rough ranges. If you are in doubt as to the accuracy of one keyword tool you can compare it against other keyword tools. And you can use an AdWords ad campaign to test keywords
Here are some additional cool keyword tools
- Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool
- is the most popular keyword tool
- is backed by Google’s large search share
- however, it can be flaky because…
- Google doesn’t like to share the stats with precision, as their primary aim is to show PPC marketers the keywords & have them test their value. In fact, Google will show more data if you are logged into an AdWords account (here is a free $75 coupon).
- Google often changes the interface and features
- The defaults are typically set to broad match. When you use their keyword tool ensure that you have it set to your target country market & you are using exact match to view the search volume for that exact keyword.
- Microsoft’s Ad Intelligence
- a free plug-in for Microsoft Excel
- They have a smaller market-share than Google, but tend to be far more accurate with the search volume numbers they do share. My wife went to PPC Summit a while back & while there a Microsoft representitive stated that the data Ad Intelligence shows is the exact same data that Microsoft sees internally.
- This plugin requires an adCenter account to pull data from Microsoft, but here are free coupons for setting up your account
- Yahoo! Clues
- provides demographic data with keywords
- is better at showing data on a keyword you know than helping you find additional keywords
- still a rather new tool
Gather More Keyword Ideas
- Anything people would likely search for to want to buy your services is a potential keyword.
- You can look at emails from customers or customer questions as potential keywords.
- If you have been publishing a site for a while and have analytics data you can use the analytics data to find keywords.
- You can analyze competing sites looking for keywords.
- There are literally hundreds of ways to come up with keyword ideas.
Group Similar Keywords
After you get a list of keywords start grouping related keywords together…
- You should be able to target related phrases like ‘Chicago dentist’ and ‘dentist in Chicago’ using a single page.
- Chicago cosmetic dental work is a different concept than ‘Chicago dentist’ is, so you should create a separate page targeting that term and why prospects would want to buy that service.
- You can use Microsoft Excel, Open Office, or Google Docs to start aligning keywords and related modifiers with your URLs. We have an example spreadsheet in our member’s area here