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Search Engine Optimization Getting Started (2010)
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The keyword research process


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Search Engine Optimization Getting Started (2010)

with Jill Whalen

Video: The keyword research process

Keyword research is the cornerstone to your SEO program. So, let's walk through the basic steps you'll perform when doing your keyword research. There are seven steps to finding the right keyword phrases. First, you want to brainstorm, then you're going to categorize. Next, you'll do the research. Then you're going to compile them, winnow them, determine the competitiveness, and choose the ones you want to use. Step one of your keyword research strategy is to brainstorm your keyword phrases.
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  1. 1m 33s
    1. Welcome
      1m 4s
    2. Using the exercise files
      29s
  2. 6m 20s
    1. Understanding how search engines work
      3m 50s
    2. What is SEO?
      2m 30s
  3. 25m 3s
    1. Introducing keyword phrases
      1m 21s
    2. The keyword research process
      4m 42s
    3. Performing keyword research
      4m 43s
    4. Winnowing out ineffective keyword phrases
      1m 58s
    5. Performing additional keyword research
      2m 44s
    6. Determining competitiveness of keyword phrases
      5m 42s
    7. Finding keyword gems
      3m 53s
  4. 12m 49s
    1. What site architecture means to SEO
      2m 1s
    2. Brainstorming main categories and subcategories for the web site
      4m 4s
    3. Creating a keyword phrase-to-page map
      3m 33s
    4. Using keywords in domain names and URLs
      3m 11s
  5. 18m 10s
    1. SEO in HTML tags
      1m 57s
    2. Title tags
      1m 56s
    3. Meta descriptions
      1m 33s
    4. Header tags
      1m 12s
    5. Anchor text
      1m 43s
    6. Alt tags
      1m 36s
    7. Writing effective title tags
      4m 42s
    8. Writing meta-description tags
      3m 31s
  6. 11m 44s
    1. What good content is and why it's needed
      1m 27s
    2. The different types of content pages
      3m 47s
    3. Using keywords in existing content
      1m 53s
    4. Writing new content for users and search engines
      4m 37s
  7. 16m 37s
    1. Understanding link popularity and why it's important
      2m 43s
    2. Introducing Google's PageRank
      2m 38s
    3. Knowing the best way to get links
      3m 12s
    4. Content creation and promotion as "link bait"
      3m 34s
    5. Real-world link bait ideas
      4m 30s
  8. 12m 7s
    1. Introducing social media marketing
      4m 3s
    2. Getting started with social media marketing
      2m 25s
    3. Participating in social media communities
      5m 39s
  9. 26m 31s
    1. Why rankings are a poor measure of success
      3m 13s
    2. Determining conversions and setting up goals in Google Analytics
      5m 37s
    3. Measuring search engine traffic
      11m 5s
    4. Measuring success beyond the search engines
      6m 36s
  10. 9m 19s
    1. Reviewing top techniques for SEO success
      1m 58s
    2. Additional resources
      4m 19s
    3. The future of SEO
      3m 2s

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Search Engine Optimization Getting Started (2010)
2h 20m Beginner Mar 31, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In SEO: Search Engine Optimization Getting Started, author Jill Whalen explains the importance of site rankings and why search engine optimization is necessary for increasing web site traffic. The course covers choosing the best keywords, performing keyword research, augmenting keywords with search-friendly site architecture, creating social media networking strategies, and measuring the success of an SEO campaign.

Topics include:
  • Understanding how search engines work
  • Researching and selecting keywords
  • Adding keywords to web pages, URLs, and HTML markup
  • Writing web page content based on selected keywords
  • Link building
  • Social media marketing without spamming
  • Setting up Google Analytics to track conversions
  • Measuring search engine traffic
Subjects:
Web SEO Marketing
Author:
Jill Whalen

The keyword research process

Keyword research is the cornerstone to your SEO program. So, let's walk through the basic steps you'll perform when doing your keyword research. There are seven steps to finding the right keyword phrases. First, you want to brainstorm, then you're going to categorize. Next, you'll do the research. Then you're going to compile them, winnow them, determine the competitiveness, and choose the ones you want to use. Step one of your keyword research strategy is to brainstorm your keyword phrases.

To get you started with brainstorming, you should think about who your target market actually is. Where do they live? Does your web site target only a specific geographical area or the entire nation or even the whole world? What about their demographics? Are they mostly male or female? How old are they? What's their income? All of this will make a difference in the keyword phrases you'll target, because there may be different keyword phrases for each segment. For instance, if you were a dentist in Boston, you're likely to only be targeting the Boston area.

Your keyword phrases will have the word Boston and perhaps some other towns in close proximity within the keywords. For those of you who think your target market is everyone, while this may be somewhat true, try to narrow it down to who your best customer might be and define your target market that way. To continue with the brainstorming of keywords, listen to how other people talk about your products or services. What keywords would they use? Don't be shy about asking your customers, or your salespeople, or even your friends and your relatives.

You can even go visit blogs and forums online that might relate to your industry and learn the words they are using. You may be surprised that it's not the technical terms that you might use internally to describe what you offer. You'll also want to visit your competitor's web sites and see what sorts of phrases they use to describe themselves, but don't put too much stock in how they've optimized, as they may not actually know what they're doing nor have researched their keywords. Put all this brainstormed information into a list.

Don't worry about whether it's good or bad at this point. Now take your brainstormed list and categorize it by themes. If you sell lots of different items, the individual products or services themselves might each be a specific category. Sometimes you can't accurately do this step until you've done the next step, your keyword research first. It's sort of a chicken and egg thing, where you may need to know more about the actual keyword phrases people are using before you can categorize them. If so, it's okay to reverse this step with the next one.

Now you're ready to hit the keyword research tools. You can start with a seed phrase from one of your main categories, or if you've already got a website up and running, you can just plug your website's URL into the Google Keyword Research Tool and let it do the work for you. The next step is to compile your research. All keyword research tools allow you to export the phrases into spreadsheets. Once you download the spreadsheets, you may need to re-categorize things a bit or do your initial categorization if you weren't able to do that before you started the research.

While your spreadsheets are open, you'll want to also remove the keyword phrases that are obviously not good for your website. These include ones that are not relevant at all to what you offer, as well as some phrases that have extremely low search counts, meaning they just aren't searched upon all that much by your target audience. For this winnowing phase, you'll need to make sure you're very familiar with the nature of the business. If you're doing this keyword research for a client, make sure to have them involved in this process as they will know their business better that you will.

At this time, you should now have a pretty decent list of relevant keyword phrases, but you'll also want to know how competitive or not they are. When I talk about competitiveness, I'm talking about how many other websites are targeting those same keyword phrases. Each phrase can be broken down into a specific level of competitiveness, from highly competitive to fairly competitive, to non-competitive. Once you've determined the level of competitiveness, you're ready to choose which keyword phrases you'll actually use in your SEO program.

Basically, you'll be choosing them by looking at the number of searches they receive, the relevancy to what you offer on your website, and the competitiveness level. That's the keyword research process in a nutshell. Now that you've learned about the process, let's see it in action.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Search Engine Optimization Getting Started (2010).


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Q: In the “Determining competitiveness of keyword phrases” tutorial in the SEO: Search Engine Optimization Getting Started course, the author details the use of the “allintitle” advanced search operator in Google.  While the operator works in the example given in the tutorial, Google will not allow usage of the “allintitle” operator for more than two keywords at a time.  Is there any workaround to this problem?
A: Google’s policy on the “allintitle” operator has become a major problem in trying to do some competitive keyword research. There is a workaround, although it makes searching slower. Follow these steps:
1) Click on Google's Advanced Search link, then add the desired keyword phrase to the Find web pages that have... "this exact wording or phrase." Then click the "+Date, usage rights, numeric range, and more" link.
2) In the "Where your keywords show up:" dropdown menu, change "anywhere on page" to "in the title of the page."
This should allow the use of the “allintitle” search without Google thinking the user is a robot. To do the next one more quickly, just hit the back button of the browser and change to the next keyword phrase.


Q: Allintitle searches on Google seem to yield wildly inconsistent results. How does the author handle such inconsistent data when looking for good keywords? Are these results a recent phenomenon? Can can allintitle searches still be used reliably?
A: Unfortunately, Google has recently made it difficult to do the allintitle searches. It is still useful to a certain extent, but only because there currently isn’t anything better out there to judge the competition of a site.
Q: As a result of Google changing the "select previous interface" function, the methods in used for the Keyword Tool in the tutorials no longer work. Is there a method that can be used with the new keyword search tool that will produce the same results as shown in the training course?
A: Unfortunately, Google switched to the new Keyword Tool and also removed many keywords that aren't "commercially viable" from the database, so the methods in this title will not work exactly as described. You can still change from broad match to exact, but it is, unfortunately, harder to find. Right now, there does not appear to be a more effective way to do keyword research. Unfortunately, the other vendors that provide keyword research tools for a monthly fee are no better than Google's free one. The best advice for now would be to not focus too much on the keywords and just pick those that seem to be the most relevant for your site.
Q: Google AdWords looks different on my Mac than it does in these tutorials. Can you help me find the option for "How would you like to generate keyword ideas" (either  "descriptive words or phrases" vs. "website content") that you show in the video on using the Keyword Tool?
A: The Keyword Tool has changed slightly in appearance since this course was published, but the functionality is essentially the same. Under the "Find keywords, Based on one or more of the following", you can choose to enter keywords, have them restricted to suggestions based on a certain website, or even based on a category, such as Apparel. You can use one or more of these options.
Q: Where can I learn more about internet marketing?
A: Discover more on this topic by visiting internet marketing on lynda.com.
 
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