keywordsBefore I get started, open Google Keyword Tool (and ignore Malcolm Coles’ article on Why you shouldn’t use Google’s keyword tool for SEO – I’ve written about that here).

Keywords are how search engines understand your web page and how your customers and visitors find your website. Location, Services and Ideas; picking the right keywords can determine how your web page ranks in search. Search Engines need some guidance in understanding what your page is about. Whilst your readers will understand you, hopefully, keywords are the link between a whole mass of content and a one-word-description.

Researching keywords takes time and effort and your skill at doing this will improve the more you do it.

FYI: The data presented through the Keyword Tool is from Google Adwords hence don’t take this as 100% accurate for your keywords. This will give you a clearer indication as to what users are searching for, but the Adwords data is general and not as detailed as it could be so use wisely to understand popular search terms.

Tip #1: Be Organised

Make an Excel spreadsheet with your keyword data on for 2 reasons.

  1. Keeps a list of the keywords you want to rank for for future reference
  2. Analyse the rankings you are receiving during your SEO campaign.

Tip #2: Make a list

Get a blank piece of paper and write down all the products and services you offer in all their detail. Long terms, short terms, location terms; the more the better. Then categorise them so if you might have “recruitment, recruitment consultancy, recruitment agency” so this would be a “recruitment” category. Do this for all you keywords.Tip #3: Google Keyword Tool

The Google Keyword Tool gives fantastic insights into the search history of your keywords. I’ve broken this down into 4 sections:

  1. The Search Bar: First, enter your keyword ideas. There are a range of other options below but stick with this for now
  2. After a search, you should find some data. You will notice that “a sample keyword” found no data but “seomoz” did. The competition tab tells you how popular this search term is. “seomoz” is not but something like “ACER Laptops” will be. (I explain this here)
  3. The Global Monthly Searches are those from around the world so for “seomoz” 90,500 users looked for this, hence this keyword is used and potentially useful
  4. Local Monthly Searches are from the specific location you want (in this case the United Kingdom). If you are working on international SEO then bear this in mind! Look at the difference: 90,500 vs 18,100. I would advise you consider the Local data more closely.

Tip #4: Review

Some of your keywords will be highly competitive, some will have no data but make an organised list (use conditional formatting if you have Excel 2010).

keyword research

This will allow you to find the best keywords to target.

So whilst this Keyword tool is far from perfect…

Tip #5: Utilise

Using the strongest keywords, target landing pages and the content on your website so it hits these keywords. Rewrite sentences and make them make sense whilst also including your keywords. Sometimes, brutal sentences like “We are a Newcastle SEO Consultancy” are the best for your readers and search engines.

So overall, be organised, focused and make sure that if you want to connect with your customers and readers, make sure you connect with what they are searching for!

Good luck!


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