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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

How to Conduct Effective Keyword Research

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

One of the most important steps a small business owner should take when starting a search engine optimization (SEO) campaign is to make sure you are targeting the right keywords with your content, blogs and press releases.

The best way to do this (that’s also at no cost) is using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. This tool was build to help advertisers doing Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC) through Google AdWords filter and pick more effective terms to place in PPC campaigns; and since PPC and SEO are often highly correlated, it is also a valuable tool for researching SEO keywords.

Google’s keyword tool let’s anyone with or without an AdWords account expand and filter relevant keywords quickly.

To start, type in 5-10 keywords and phrases that describe the product or service that you want to rank for:

If you are a local business, try adding the following modifiers before and after certain keywords:
     Zip code
     State spelled out
     State abbreviation
     City, State
     “in” city

Once you have a solid list, type in the capcha and search.

At the top of the results you will find detail on each of the keywords that you typed in; below that Google will expand your list and provide up to 100 keyword ideas related to the terms entered. If you are just learning SEO some of these results may be surprising to you.

Next, click the “Local Monthly Searches” header to sort both lists by the average amount of times the term has been searched in your country or language.

Then scan the list for keywords keywords that:
     are highly relevant to your business
     contain a low to medium competition ranking
     have a sizable number of local monthly searches

The competition ranking is speaking to the competitiveness of the term as it relates to PPC advertising, but it can be generally related to SEO as well.

If you would like to save your favorite keywords, check them off and click the download drop down menu followed by the selected option.  This will let you save your checked keyword list in a variety of formats.

Keyword research works best if you do several of these types of searches, constantly washing the keyword list that you build on subsequent expansions.

Once done you can then either use the final list of 5-10 keywords as the ones you are going to target, or use an SEO-specific tool to check the SEO competition for related terms. SEOMoz (paid) and the SEO SERP plugin for Google Chrome are great options for this.

To learn more about how to build an SEO foundation, check out Grovo’s expert series with Zach Ciperski, VP, Coffee For Less, Director of SEO, Elite SEM.

In this video series Zach covers a variety of topics, including:
     A history of SEO
     Choosing the right keywords
     Onsite SEO optimizations
     Creating SEO friendly content
     Basic link building
     Social media SEO
     Video SEO
     User experience and SEO
     Mobile SEO

Special Thanks to Nick Narodny, Co-founder, SVP of Business Training for Grovo for sharing his expertise with the readers of the Marketing Blog!

See you at the top,
Mike Fleischner


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