When I first started blogging keyword research was the most difficult concept for me to grasp because I didn’t know much about WordPress SEO. Now, it almost comes naturally, but in the beginning I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure it all out. I have some tools and resources that I use for keyword research but first, let me share with you the one thing that finally brought it all together for me.
Keywords are the words that searchers type into their search engine when they’re looking for information. That search engine may be Google or Yahoo, or it might be a search engine on an article directory, an e-store like Amazon, or even on a blog or website. But the point is – your opinion doesn’t matter.
You might think that “purple widgets” is a good keyword. People should want information on purple widgets so you’re going to write a blog post about purple widgets. But “should” just doesn’t matter. If there are no people out there looking for information on purple widgets, no one is ever going to read that blog post.
When you do keyword research you want to find the words that people out there are using to find information and you want to use those words. The reason this seems difficult to understand is because, when you’re just beginning, you find it hard to believe that it’s possible to predict what words other people are going to type into their search engine. But believe it or not, there are tools and resources that will tell you just that – and more.
Google Analytics: One way to analzye your keywords is to look to see which keywords people are using when they come to your site. You’d be surprised at some of the crazy ways people find you.
Google Adwords Keyword Tool: While most bloggers question the actual search numbers the Google Adwords Keyword Tool is a good place to start. Type in any keyword and you can get a list of related keywords and phrases. You can also see exact numbers for how many monthly searches there are and how many competing pages are out there. Again, don’t use these numbers as Gospel, but they’re good enough to get you started.
Google Suggest: Start typing anything in your Google search box and a drop-down box appears with “suggestions.” These are the top search terms used that are relevant to whatever you’re typing. Amazon also has a very good “suggest” feature on their search engine which you can also use for keyword research.
SEMRush: You won’t get a complete picture unless you get a paid account but the free version is enough to allow you a glimpse of your competitor’s top keywords so you can see what he’s targeting and attack.
Google Insights for Search: Google Insights is a great way to get a visual representation to see changes in search volumes and you can select different time periods which is handy for targeting seasonal traffic.
Google Trends: Another free Google Tool, Trends allows you to search up to 5 keyrods at the same time and compare their traffic and search levels. You also have the ability to filter by geographic region and time zones.