Keyword Research Tips and Tools

Keywords are the foundation of a well-optimized website. Contrary to the concept “build it and they will come” is not a good philosophy for a successful search optimization strategy. If people have never heard of your brand, product, or service, how are they going to find you online?

Your objective must be to be on the first page of search results for those keywords that relate to your products /services/information your company provides. People search because they have a problem and they are looking for a solution, e.g. people searching for “best mortgage rates” want to finance the purchase of a home at the lowest interest rate, a search for “Mexican restaurants in Minneapolis” indicates they’re in the beautiful city of Minneapolis and they are hungry for Mexican food! If you provide one of these products/services/information you want a keyword strategy that places your website at or near the top of the search results.

So how do you identify the keywords that will help optimize your site, deliver the best qualified traffic, and ultimately provides conversions?

Here are some ideas on where to start:

  • Brainstorm with fellow co-workers or business stakeholders on what they consider important keywords for the site
  • If you have a call center/ help desk/service center, talk to those individuals to find out the terminology customers use to refer to your products/services
  • Check competitor sites for the keywords they’re targeting
  • Look at the site’s analytics data for keywords that currently drive traffic
  • If you are running pay-per-click campaigns, look for those high performing keywords

Compile this list of keywords into what we call a “seed” list from which you can now build your keyword strategy. Use keyword research tools to build upon the terms in the seed list.

Popular Keyword Tools:

There are several other keyword research tools – some free and others are fee-based. Find a set of tools that meet your needs and budget. And remember, keyword research tools are just that – tools.  The traffic numbers associated with each keyword are not accurate, and will differ between each tool; but they provide you the ability to compare one keyword against another. For example, do people search more often for the singular version of the keyword or the plural version? When searching for a location specific phrase, do they abbreviate the state or type it out? Keyword research provides this information.

The ultimate goal of keyword research is to find the keywords that will drive quality traffic to your website – at the most appropriate time in their decision making process – resulting in a conversion on your website.

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