Even though ContentEqualsMoney.com is not an SEO company, we work with keywords more than most. Since we do SEO copywriting services the majority of our clients leverage their site keywords into everything from their site copy to white papers. And for good reason, we all know that Google makes the world go round. And if Google wants keywords, keywords we will give it.
So how does a company pick keywords?
Unfortunately, most companies do one of two things: they pay a ridiculous amount of money to an SEO “expert” for keyword research or they try to do it alone without the proper tools.
If you think that those are your only options, this article will help. Most SEO companies are using these same tools everyday. There is no magic formula, there are only opinions. If you get 5 SEO experts into a room (real experts, not the ones that just finished a weekend seminar) and you ask them how to pick keywords you will get 5 different answers.
Just like anything else, there are elementary and advanced concepts. Unfortunately, most “SEO experts” are dolling out elementary concepts because…they can. If you could sell basic math skills at $200/hour wouldn’t you?
Here are some examples of elementary SEO concepts:
- Choose keywords with high search volume
- Choose keywords with low competition
- Choose keywords that make sense for your business
- Choose keywords that are specific enough that chances are the person is looking for what you are selling.
- Choose keywords that a regular person is going to type into a search engine
- Choose keywords that make sense for your audience
This is all basic SEO stuff. And you can find the answers to these questions at the following sites – FREE:
SEOmoz.org – A free version of this web based software will provide you access to pretty much anything you need. They have Open Site Explorer which allows you to see where your competition is getting backlinks, the anchor text they are using and their authority. The paid version of SEOmoz makes everything easier and allows you to see the difficulty index and the list of your major competitors but you can spend a few months in their free zone gaining all the knowledge you need. And once you get your feet wet I guarantee you will love SEOmoz so much that you will buy the paid version. They aren’t pushy or salesy…. the products are just that good!
https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal – This is the Google tool you are probably all well aware of. This is how you see competition and searches. Unfortunately these numbers aren’t crazy accurate and should be your 1st step in keyword research, not the only step.
Use your Google bar – When you type in something check out the options that Google provides. This is a way for you to see what Google expects you to need. This is a pretty easy way to see some other search terms. It also provides a quick insight into all the other things your term might refer to.
http://www.conversationmarketing.com/2010/04/seo-checklist-really-big.htm – Yup, this is a blog post. Not just any blog post mind you. It’s by Ian Lurie and it is a rundown of all the things you need to do for SEO. The first section is about keyword research, but it runs all the way through content strategy. Some of the sources in his list are paid, but I’m pretty sure all of them at least have a free trial. Turn off your iPhone, get a cup of coffee and cuddle up with this powerful post.
What about the advanced concepts for keyword research?
The difference between elementary and advanced SEO keyword strategy is the experience of the expert. Do I think Ian Lurie’s Playbook is worth $15k?* Absolutely! Do I think you should spend $200 on some random person who calls themselves an expert without any real experience, no.
This is where content marketing is your friend. Great SEO experts (real experts) like Ian Lurie, Rand Fishkin and others utilize content marketing everyday. This means that all you have to do is read their blogs, check out their twitter and enjoy them. Just by interacting with them you will learn their opinions and strategies on SEO. And all for free.
If I had an extra fifteen thousand bucks lying around I would definitely consult with Ian Lurie’s team for a SEO Playbook. But since I don’t, I read his blog and have learned a LOT about SEO. And that’s from someone who doesn’t run an SEO company or charges for SEO research. Just keep your ears and eyes open and you will learn more than most “experts” in no time.
Have any great resources to share? Do you agree that the difference between elementary and advanced SEO (regarding keyword strategy) is all about the opinion/experience of the expert?
*Ian Lurie’s Playbook is more than keyword research – it is literally a playbook for anything and everything your site needs for SEO. You can read about it here – http://www.portent.com/consulting/