Keyword Research – Building Your Site for SEO

Keyword Research – Building the Site Your Visitors Want

There are a number of different ways to build a Website and to create content.  If you’re creating a blog, such as this site, you can write about whatever you want.  People may, or may not, find what you’re writing about, but if you’re truly passionate about what you have to say, it may not matter if you have readers or not.  You just might want to say your piece and be happy that it’s out there.  Most of us, however, want to have visitors to our site, especially if we’re trying to make money online.  Getting visitors is an important part of that, and that’s where keyword research comes in.

keyword research 101Keyword research is about finding things to write about that are relevant to what your visitors want to see.  There are lots of ways that I could find topics to write about here, but I try to write about topics that are of interest to people who want to work online from home.  I use various methods to decide what it is I want to write about on any given day, but I always have to spend some time deciding what those topics are going to be, and I usually try to make those topics something that I know will be of interest to fellow affiliate marketers.

Keyword Research Overview

If you’re new, and you’re just creating a new Website, you might want to create a list of things to write about.  How can you get a list of relevant keywords?  You’ll need to do some keyword research, for that, you’ll need some sort of keyword tool.  There are a number of keyword tools out there, and some are free and some are paid.  They all do the same thing, though they do it in different ways and with varying degrees of success.  The best keyword tools will allow you to learn from the search engines what topics people are actually searching for in a given marketing niche.  Then they will be able to show you which words are more favorable for you to use, via a variety of metrics.

The ideal list of keywords, in a perfect world, would be one that consisted entirely of terms that lots of people were searching for, that were somehow related to something that you could sell to people and which were terms for which there was not a lot of competition in the marketplace.  Of course, we don’t live in a perfect world, so keywords like that are fairly rare.  The best you can hope to do is find keywords that have a fairly high number of searches and a relatively modest amount of competition.  If you do your keyword research properly, you should be able to come up with a list of terms like that.  Then you can go about building a Website that uses each term on the list as the title of a page or the subject of a post.

wa_bannerWith proper search engine optimization methods, you should be able to rank your site highly in the search engines for each of those terms, and then the traffic will come flooding to you without any additional effort on your part.

There are many keyword tools that you can use for your keyword research, but for now, I’ll talk about one of the most popular ones, and it happens to be free – the Google Keyword Planner.  The Google Keyword Planner is part of Google’s Adwords advertising platform, and if you create an account with Google, you should be able to access this useful keyword tool.  You might have to create an Adwords account; I can’t remember because I’ve had an account for more than a decade and the way you get one may have changed in the meantime.  Still, it’s free and it should only take a minute to register.

Once you log in, click on Tools at the top of the page and Keyword Planner.  There you’ll have the opportunity to add a few “seed keywords” which you can enter, one per line.  You can ignore all of the other settings, and just enter a term or two and click “Get Ideas.”  For purposes of this exercise, I’ve entered “dog training.”

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By default, Google Keyword Planner returns Ad Group ideas, rather than keyword ideas, so when you see the results, you’ll have to click the “Keyword Ideas” tab.  In this case, Google shows us that there are 60,500 monthly searches for “dog training” and that the competition is “high.”  Don’t read too much into the competition thing; this is mostly about how much competition you’ll encounter should you try to buy pay per click advertising for that term.  If you scroll down the page a bit, you’ll see a list of additional terms that people search for that are related to dog training.

These terms don’t appear to be in an particular order; Google says they’re sorted by “relevance”, which doesn’t tell us much.  If you like, you can sort the words by the number of searches, and then you’ll see them in an order that makes sense.  Except that “German Shepherd” now comes up first on the list, with 823,000 searches.  That’s a lot of searches, but “German Shepherd” is an overly broad term to use for the dog training niche.  It turns out that Google’s initial method of sorting by relevance might be worthwhile after all.

keyword_research2The Google Keyword Planner will, by default, return up to 800 keywords, sorted by relevance. You can tighten up the relevance even more by looking at “Keyword options” on the left hand side of the screen and telling it to “Only show ideas closely related to my search terms.”  This is sometimes helpful, but at other times, it will only return a handful of terms, rather than hundreds.

You can harvest the first 100 terms or so; these should be the most relevant and the most helpful to you in terms of finding things that people want to know about dog training.  Make note of each term and how many searches each term has.  You may want to put these in a spreadsheet, and Google makes it easy to download the information in a csv file for that purpose. These numbers will come in handy in a moment.

Of course, if you really want your blog to stand out, you should concentrate only on those terms that are both relevant and have little competition.  For that, you’re going to have to find out how much competition you have.  To do that, you need to go to Google and enter your first keyword and put it in quotes, like this: “dog training.”  Google will then tell you how many results it has for that term.  In this case, Google is reporting 16,100,000 results.

Don’t panic!  This number is always wrong.  What you have to do now is go to the bottom of the page, and Google will show you how many pages it has of listings for that term.  What you want to do is find the very last page, so click the highest number on the list.  I did this, and at the bottom of the last page, Google had this message for me:

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It turns out that Google only lists 511 pages for that term and not 16 million.  That makes for a lot less competition.  Make note of how many pages there are and note that next to the keyword (where you should also have noted the number of monthly searches.)  Now, repeat this for every word on your list, whether it’s a list of 10 words or 500.  Do this until you’ve done it all.

When you’re done, you should have a list of terms that are relevant to your niche.  Look over the list.  Your best keywords are going to be those that have more than 100 searches per month and fewer than 300 competitors.  Ideally, you want high searches and low competition.  Find those words that qualify, because those are the keywords that are going to bring traffic to your site.  If you don’t have enough terms (fewer than 50 or so) then you need to go back to the Keyword Planner and get more words.

Now all you have to do is create a blog post of 1000 words or so for each term of the list, optimizing the page for SEO for that page or post’s particular term.  Repeat for the next high quality term on the list.  When you’re done, you’ll have a site that’s optimized for a bunch of highly relevant keywords that have relatively little competition, and you should soon start seeing traffic from the search engines.

Keyword Research Summary

That, in a nutshell, is a quick way to do basic keyword research.  It will take some time, but the tools are free. You just need patience.

There’s an easier way to do this, though not a free one.  A great keyword tool called Jaaxy makes it easy to conduct searches like this in seconds, and it will even show you, with easy-to-read color coding, which keywords hit that “sweet spot” of having 100+ searches and few competitors.  You’ll see a green dot next to every term that qualifies, and you’ll have it in seconds.  Jaaxy is a great keyword research tool, and I highly recommend it.   Click here to try Jaaxy for free.

Of course, if you don’t know how to create a Website or find a marketing niche, then you’re putting the cart before the horse when it comes to doing keyword research.  If you’re new and don’t know where to start, I recommend an online community called Wealthy Affiliate.  This is a training site and forum that will show you, step by step, how to build your own business as an affiliate marketer.  It’s a fun site, with tens of thousands of helpful members.  I’d start there if you’re not sure what to do first.

Keyword research is vital to any affiliate marketer. Knowing how to do it properly can make your job easier and make your site more effective, which, in the end, means making more money.

 

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