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How to research keywords

From: SEO Fundamentals

Video: How to research keywords

Everyone will eventually develop their own approach and process to doing keyword research, and you'll ultimately need to find something that works for you, but the most important part of keyword research is to forget about you and your business, and put yourself in the shoes of your potential customers. The process typically begins with brainstorming and answering some key questions. This stage is important from an organizational perspective, because it will force you to look at different areas of your business. Start with answering, what services do you offer? Be as comprehensive as possible and list out as many keywords and phrases as you can, but make sure that you do it from the customer's perspective.

How to research keywords

Everyone will eventually develop their own approach and process to doing keyword research, and you'll ultimately need to find something that works for you, but the most important part of keyword research is to forget about you and your business, and put yourself in the shoes of your potential customers. The process typically begins with brainstorming and answering some key questions. This stage is important from an organizational perspective, because it will force you to look at different areas of your business. Start with answering, what services do you offer? Be as comprehensive as possible and list out as many keywords and phrases as you can, but make sure that you do it from the customer's perspective.

As people who work in our businesses day in and day out, we might have a very different way of explaining our products and services. Take for example, a discount travel website. You might be tempted to write down keywords like "high value air transport" and "G76 eligible discount ticket," but at the end of the day no one in the world is typing that into a search engine. While those things make sense to you, your customers are just looking for things like cheap flights. Well, brainstorming can get you started. We'll look at some tools that can find and suggest similar keywords and expand your list of possibilities considerably.

Once you've got that list of potential keywords, the next thing you'll need to do is take a look at the search volume metrics to see what kind of a demand there is for those phrases. As you do this you'll notice that a handful of keywords will get typed in thousands and thousands of times a day, but there are a whole lot more that don't get typed in nearly as often. These might be more descriptive keywords or less common variations, but the important thing to note is that these are known as long-tail Keywords. Long-tail keywords in SEO are incredibly useful. They let us go after a much larger amount of less competitive keywords that tend to be extremely relevant to our business objectives. And, while individually there's not a lot of search volume on each term, they each do have some search volume.

For example, if I were selling iPhone cases, I may start looking into the keyword iPhone cases, a term that gets typed into search engines a lot. It's extremely competitive, and it's probably going to be very difficult to rank for. But I might also take a look at a more long-tail keyword like blue iPhone 3GS cases. It's going to be extremely relevant, less competitive, and easier to rank for at the expense of raw search volume. But here's the important part. You might be able to find hundreds or thousands of these long-tail keywords that together have the potential to get you more traffic than ranking for iPhone cases would have from the start.

Finally, you'll want to add some meaning and organization around the keywords that you've collected. You can do this by identifying themes or topics to group your keywords around, a process known as keyword categorization. Back to the example with the blue iPhone case. We may want to create a group that will be just about blue iPhone cases that includes all the different models of the iPhone. Alternatively, we could categorize these not by phone model, but instead by color. There's no right or wrong way to do this, only a way that works for you and allows you to manage these groups of keywords as you optimize for them.

Remember in the end that this is an exploratory and discovery exercise. Everyone searches differently and you'll find lots and lots of data as you dig deeper and deeper. Be open-minded, put yourself in the mindset of your potential customers, and make sure to consider all of your options as you evaluate your keyword performance over time.

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This video is part of

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SEO Fundamentals

64 video lessons · 44739 viewers

David Booth
Author

 
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  1. 1m 34s
    1. Welcome
      1m 19s
    2. Using the Facilitator's Guide
      15s
  2. 11m 46s
    1. What is search engine optimization (SEO)?
      4m 6s
    2. Reading a search engine results page
      2m 17s
    3. How SEO affects your business
      2m 38s
    4. Setting SEO expectations
      2m 45s
  3. 20m 49s
    1. Why you need a keyword research plan
      2m 47s
    2. How to research keywords
      3m 23s
    3. Tools to help you analyze keywords
      4m 43s
    4. Understanding keyword attributes
      3m 46s
    5. Understanding keyword distribution
      3m 50s
    6. Ongoing keyword evaluation
      2m 20s
  4. 26m 8s
    1. Understanding content optimization
      2m 14s
    2. Optimizing for site structure
      3m 41s
    3. Recognizing different types of content
      2m 23s
    4. Optimizing textual page elements
      8m 30s
    5. Optimizing non-text components of a web page
      4m 0s
    6. Analyzing content quality
      2m 39s
    7. Exploring the benefits of user-generated content
      2m 41s
  5. 22m 12s
    1. Interpreting the code behind web pages
      3m 9s
    2. Understanding how search engines index content
      2m 37s
    3. Working with canonical URLs and redirects
      2m 59s
    4. Leveraging microformats
      2m 39s
    5. Working with server-side factors
      3m 18s
    6. Using Google Webmaster Tools
      3m 58s
    7. Using Bing Webmaster Tools
      3m 32s
  6. 30m 53s
    1. Overview of long-term content strategizing
      2m 44s
    2. Planning a successful content strategy and avoiding common mistakes
      3m 46s
    3. Defining your audience, topics, angle, and style
      4m 17s
    4. Understanding different types of content
      4m 25s
    5. Getting ideas for content
      4m 0s
    6. Working with an editorial calendar
      3m 33s
    7. Promoting your content with social media
      3m 52s
    8. Measuring content performance
      4m 16s
  7. 18m 28s
    1. Understanding the importance of links
      4m 49s
    2. Building internal links
      2m 5s
    3. Building external links
      4m 19s
    4. Finding link-building opportunities
      4m 36s
    5. Executing a link-building strategy
      2m 39s
  8. 16m 32s
    1. Measuring SEO performance
      4m 10s
    2. Analyzing keywords
      5m 13s
    3. Analyzing links
      4m 9s
    4. Analyzing the impact of social media
      3m 0s
  9. 18m 45s
    1. Understanding SEO and ecommerce
      2m 36s
    2. Working with semantic HTML
      2m 22s
    3. The technical components of ecommerce
      3m 9s
    4. Exploring ecommerce information architecture
      2m 38s
    5. Producing ecommerce content
      2m 33s
    6. Leveraging link building and social media for ecommerce
      3m 12s
    7. Adapting ecommerce websites for international audiences
      2m 15s
  10. 25m 38s
    1. Understanding local search
      3m 14s
    2. Understanding Google+ Local
      3m 0s
    3. Setting up and optimizing Google+ Local
      4m 46s
    4. Getting more citations
      3m 52s
    5. Getting more reviews for your business
      3m 43s
    6. Optimizing your website for local search
      4m 13s
    7. The future of local search
      2m 50s
  11. 15m 48s
    1. Understanding cultural aspects of international SEO
      2m 30s
    2. Optimizing technical content for international audiences
      2m 57s
    3. Optimizing translated and localized content
      2m 9s
    4. Building links for an international audience
      2m 47s
    5. Analyzing and measuring an international SEO campaign
      2m 17s
    6. Avoiding pitfalls with international SEO
      3m 8s
  12. 1m 10s
    1. Determining your next steps
      1m 10s

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