Keyword research is something that many businesses that move online fail to do properly. They treat it more of a ‘hit and miss’ exercise instead of a concentrated piece of research designed to increase search engine traffic. While some keywords may be obvious to you depending on your business, other wordings or figuring out what laymen may search is difficult. There are a number of ways to go about your keyword research without spending too much time on it, and it is really important to do this before you start any other online marketing work on your website. In this post I will cover:

  • Using Google’s keyword research tool
  • Alternative keyword research tools
  • Checking out your competitors
  • Mixing up your keywords for best results

 Google Adwords and the Keyword Research Tool

keyword research sample

A sample search for the keywords ‘buy shoes online’ gives these results – both for wordwide and your local search volume.

Google Adwords has probably the best keyword research tool that is  available online. This is mainly because Google is the major search engine with over 90% of the search market, so their volumes are the most relevant. You can access this tool simply by creating a Google account and starting an Adwords account, which you probably have if you are already advertising through Google. It also gives you an idea of how hard it will be to compete for certain keywords. The above example ‘buy shoes online’ is obviously a highly competitive keyword and getting ranked for it will be extremely difficult. However, if you dig through competitive keywords you will find easier to rank for ‘niche’ keywords for specific products and services.

Alternative Keyword Research Tools

there are a lot of keyword research tools at your disposal out there apart from Google’s. Even using Google search itself will give you a lot of great ideas. However, for more detailed keyword searches you might want to try some of the following as well:

  •  SEM Rush – This is perfect for getting a deeper understanding of your competitors keywords which will show you what is best to compete for.
  • SpyFu – This is similar to SEM rush but will also give you the top ten results and a few other handy tools.
  • WooRank – this can be used for both analysing your own website and for spying on competitors websites.

Try a few of these (there are lots of keyword tools out there) at least o give you a better idea about your keywords. These should be used in conjunction with the Google keyword research tool.

Checking Out Your Competitors

If you are still stuck for the right keywords to use then you need to look at who you want to compete with online. These are people providing the same, or similar, products and services as you. If they are showing up ahead of you in the search rankings then you need to use some of the above sites to find out why. For larger or longer established sites, you probably won’t be able to compete with them directly for their top keywords (at least not straight away) so you need to find keywords that they may not be using or are not ranking well for.

Mixing Up Your Keywords

One final tip is to mix up your keywords and the URLs they link to. This is to provide a variety of related keywords for Google and will stop your incoming links looking non-organic.  You can still use the same keywords numerous times, but if you are building organic links then try a few different keywords to target for. When you are starting out don’t try for single words or hard to rank for keywords, instead try ‘long tail’ keywords – i.e keywords that have 4 or more words in them like a question or even a sentence.

Good luck with your keyword research and  be sure to check out all of out other fantastic online business advice.