Everyday I am hit with a ton of questions related to Internet Marketing, and every once in a while I get one I like and feel like answering in a post, and today this question from Jennifer, is the winner:
I am brand new to Internet business, how would I know which terms or keywords I should be going after?
Does anyone reading this remember the keyword suggestion tool from Overture? Bonus points too if you
remember the name of Overture before it was Overture! Even more bonus points who took them over? heh, just wondering, remember I am kicking it old skool with this post. If you are still relying on that tool, or that is the last tool you ever used, then you need some help.
To be honest, I hate when I am asked this question, but this is a great question and one that I really do not think new to Internet business owners ever get fully addressed (and thats who asked me – someone brand new). Not that I could ever begin to tell you everything you need to know about keyword research in one post mind you. I am amazed at the different number of keywords that would do really well for a site, and equally amazed at how poorly some do when I felt they would be amazing based on traffic and search data I see.
One of the first things that I make sure and do every time I am going after a new keyword is I will take a group of 20 or so people and ask them if you were on Google and looking for “insert any keyword here” how would you type it in the Google search box? 100% of the time I get at least 15 different answers of the 20 people I asked. Its crazy because I am giving them the keyword – (example) picnic baskets (or whatever) and they come up with so many different ways even thought I am already giving them a specific phrase.
What does this data tell me?
It tells me that my “main keyword” that I am going after just got some diversity. The best example I can give is this; Lets say I am selling memory foam mattresses, most people would probably type in memory foam mattress in Google, but other terms could include memory foam bed, memory foam mattresses, memory foam beds, foam beds, foam mattresses, open cell memory foam, foam bed or foam mattress (and so on). You see many different ways to look for essentially the same thing. So your first mistake is thinking you found that one “golden” keyword.
I usually will spend most of my time finding the more niche and targeted words of the industry I am in, and do my best to achieve rankings for all of them. It is not about finding that “one” saving keyword remember it is about finding all of the keywords of your industry that people may use to find you. Then you need to create the kind of content people are looking for surrounding those words to really help Google or any major search engine to know that you are a website that is adding value.
Do not create content because you think you know its what Google/Yahoo/MSN wants, create content because it is information that will help people make the decision to purchase from you. If I am selling memory foam mattresses, then maybe I will write a whole line of articles comparing memory foam to every spring mattresses that is out there. Maybe I can do my own independent tests and surveys to collect data, use sites and resources out there like consumer reports and see what people are talking about. Once I really understand what people are searching for (based on this keyword research), then I can provide that information to them via my website.
You can even start to collect your own data from your website in the form of polls, tools or forums. When you really listen to the consumer and provide information based on what they really want to know, you can’t go wrong. They, in one way will be telling you everything you need to know about the keywords you need to be going after.
Never stop doing keyword research – On all of my websites I have never stopped finding keywords to go after. I am amazed at how often I find new keywords, or how I might have let an amazing keyword slip by. One thing that will kill you on your website is if you are only going after the same word day after day, and not broadening your reach, and your website stays the same. You can tell when people never update their website, or if they are focusing to much on one phrase. Those kind of sites will never do well.
If you are doing proper research as outlined above, this will be a never ending process and your website will benefit from it. You are allowed to test and test again. You are never stuck with a keyword that is not converting well, and you never know until you go after it. You can have every keyword tool in the world telling you that “term a” gets a certain number of searches per month, but they don’t tell you how they convert, and how they convert on your site. Again, you never really know all of this until you working your site.
Last and Final Tip, Tip 4
One final note is to make sure you are using good web analytics software. If you are on a budget you will like the price tag of Have A Mint or even better, BLVD Status is 100% free with more features to them. How will analytics software help you with keyword research? Remember I said to never stop doing keyword research, and looking at your analytics and figuring out the different keywords that people are using to find you can be beneficial in a major way. You will find new ways that people are finding you and if they convert then you just added a great keyword to your list. Often times when you are blogging you will find a blog post ranks well for a certain keyword, but then goes away. If you are on top of your keywords and analytics you will make sure that never happens and already working on maintaining that ranking for your new found keyword.
Resources Worth Taking A Look Into
There are some amazing websites that offer keyword research tools, and although I really don’t like limiting people to what programs (or keyword tools) tell them to be going after, these are three great starting points. and will greatly help you along in the process (especially if you are new). Good luck, and thanks for kicking it old skool, keyword research style with me!
1. SEO Book Keyword Tool
2. Google Keyword Tool
3. WordTracker – Paid Version