Well-researched keywords help your site stay on top of search engine rankings. Google’s Hummingbird, which is more of an infrastructural rather than an algorithmic change, has boosted search engine artificial intelligence quotient and websites that stay on top of Hummingbird can benefit enormously.
And, here is how you should research keywords:
There are 4 stages to effective keyword research:
- Offline Sources
- Customer and Vendor Surveys
- Online Research
A. Offline Sources
You will be surprised to know that your friends, colleagues and potential customers can be your best source of keywords – in fact, you could get better and more effective keywords than any online research tool can fetch.
• Start by holding a session with co-workers. Ask them about the terms they would use to search for the company’s products or services. Encourage them to ask the same question to their friends. This will help you pile up a list of effective long tail keywords that actual buyers use. Such keywords may not rank very high on volumes, but will most likely be used by people who are in the mood for business.
• Talk to your friends and ask them what keywords they used the last time they did business with your competitor (or with your website).
• Potential customers are the most important target group. For example, if you are selling educational packages you can visit universities and organize special interactive sessions with the students after obtaining permission from the management, of course. If you are in the travel business, you can scout travel forums, form a group and then organize an offline event for holiday-ers who have used the net to find travel firms. And, so on – the possibilities of meeting up with potential clients are many.
B. Customer & Vendor Surveys (Online or Offline)
Existing customers and suppliers are another rich source of keywords. You can perhaps hold a separate event for each group – call it a brainstorming session. You will get acute insights into what each customer searches for and you also will realize the untapped potential of the keyword-based information that each vendor has.
C. Online Research
The first place to head for is the Google Keyword Planner, which is now situated inside Google Adwords. Log on to Google Adwords with your Gmail account and do the following:
a. Click on the “Search For new keywords and ad group ideas”
b. Enter your product/s or service/s in the appropriate field
c. Enter your landing page (i.e., your URL)
d. Choose your target country or states (where you expect or want business from)
e. Choose language
That’s it. Now click on “Get ideas.”
Download the list of keywords along with the search volumes and paste the data in a spreadsheet in the first tab. Title this tab as “Google ideas.”
Now go back to the Keyword Planner and choose “Get traffic estimates for a list of keywords.” Enter the list of keywords you have mined per A and B above. Choose your region and language and hit on “Get estimates.” Get the numbers/keyword and enter the data in a separate tab on the same spreadsheet. Title this tab as “In-house ideas.”
Now, it’s time to search for semantic keywords and synonyms. First, choose the keywords that you feel are most effective. Now go to a semantic keyword mining engine likeLSI Keywords and figure out how users are playing around with the phrases. Make a list of the keywords that appear on the top Google pages (the engine allows you to select the number of Google pages – and in my opinion, the top 2 or 3 pages will do. So go ahead and fill in “3” in the relevant field).
Now, it’s time to generate synonyms. Download WordNet, a lexicon developed by Princeton University. Google for it and you’ll find it easily. Now, pick up your most important keywords (one-word keywords) and generate their synonyms.
D. Competitor Analysis
Pick up a couple of your top competitors.
You can pick up their keywords by using the Google Keyword Planner tool again.
Just follow steps C (1)(a) to C(1)(e) given above. You need to make just one change – in the landing page enter your competitor’s URL and bang, you’ll get a whole list of his keywords.
If you want to dig deeper and know which keywords he’s using, head for Spyfu, which will clue you on to his PPC campaigns. If you still want to dig deeper into his PPC strategies, you will have to buy a subscription at Spyfu or buy a tool likeWebCEO or Link-Assistant.
Add your competitor’s keywords to the spreadsheet in a new tab entitled “Competition.”
Review your analytics report and find out the terms that are used to find your website. Include these terms in the spreadsheet, in a new tab.
F. Other Sources
Wikipedia creates pages based on their popularity and therefore you must use it to find alternative keywords. Here’s an example:
Searching for “travel” on Wikipedia can also clue you on to effective alternatives like –
.travel (a domain extension)
Persona non grata
These are many more alternatives, but these will suffice.
By now, you would have created a library of all your important keywords. It is now time to sort them into
a. Long tail keywords (keyword phrases)
b. Singleton keywords
Remember, long tail keywords are very valuable and therefore must be strategically placed in the content. You also must use them in the title of blog posts and if possible, in the page title (of relevant pages).
This is how you should mine keywords. Choosing the right keywords from your list depends on your business needs. Good luck.