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Keyword Research Techniques

Ask any internet marketer and they will tell you that the most important thing you need in any online marketing campaign is a solid set of keywords or key phrases. But what exactly are keywords and what makes them so critical to your online business success?

What are keywords and why are they important?

Keywords are the words that come to mind when you think about a certain topic, person or thing. For example, if you’re looking for ways to reduce your stomach fat you would type in Google: “how to reduce stomach fat”, or “get rid of stomach fat”, or “lose stomach fat”, so on. Then the search engine browses the internet for sites that contain these words. The sites with these words show up in the search results.

Keywords are important in marketing because it gives products the online visibility they need to reach potential customers. As you can see, search engines categorize the information and content over the internet under these keywords. When you identify the keywords that customers will use to find your product, you can use those keywords so you show up more often in search engine results, and get more visibility to potential customers.

Where are keywords used?

  • Text links. Text links are sentences or phrases that carry a link back to your site. Ideally, you want to use keywords and key phrases for text links because they convey a benefit that customers will enjoy when they click through. For example, “how to become an alpha male” is a better text link than “click here” because it’s much more interesting and it tells a site user exactly what it is he will gain from clicking through. Another way of looking at it is the words and the phrases you use as text links to your site tells the search engine exactly what your site is all about.

  • Articles. Articles can be found anywhere in the web. You have web content articles in websites and you have articles that are submitted to article directories to promote your site. There are PR articles, feature articles, product review articles and so on. Articles are a common tool that affiliates use for marketing because the number 1 reason for people to come online is to find information. If you want your articles to rank well in search engine results, then using the right keywords the right way is something you need to know.

  • PPC advertising. PPC advertising or pay-per-click advertising is another method that many affiliates use to make money. In this marketing method, you pay for your ad to appear when certain keywords are used. In PPC advertising, keywords have a direct impact on your profitability. If you can find keywords that bring in a lot of traffic and converts well to sales, then you are on your way to financial success.

How to generate your own keyword list?

In your marketing campaigns, the quality of your keyword research will determine a large part of your success in the online marketplace. For many marketers, keyword research is the starting point for any solid marketing plan.
There are several tools that you can use for keyword research. We’ll talk about them as we go along explaining how to conduct keyword research.

The first thing you need is a list of seed keywords. To generate your seed list, you have to think like a user or a potential customer and write down the words, phrases, or short sentences you would use when you want to search for a topic or product. The more angles you can think of, the more keywords you will generate.

Once you have your seed list, it’s time to gather related keywords. For this, there is a free tool you can use from Google. You can find it here: Google Keyword Tool

To use the Google keyword tool, simply type in a keyword or a key phrase in the text box, and it will return with a list of related keywords and data on monthly local and global traffic and competitiveness. Here’s a video on how to use the Google keyword tool:

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You can customize this tool in several ways. You can select to see results for certain countries, you can include or exclude adult ideas and certain keywords, and you can even see statistics depending on the customer’s device (laptop vs. desktop vs. other mobile devices for accessing the internet).

Another way to build your keywords list is by finding out what your competitors are ranking for and then use those as your seed keywords to grow your own list. You can find this out using the Google keyword tool by typing in the URL of the competitor website.

Aside from the Google keyword tool, another free tool that you can use is called Quintura. In Quintura, you will see a keyword cloud that will show you what other keywords people use that are closely related to your keyword. It also shows you a list of sites and documents that rank for your selected keyword. You can then use this information to populate your list with plenty of relevant keywords.

How to evaluate keywords?

Generating keywords is the start, but your keyword research doesn’t end here. You need to be able to sort through your list and determine which keywords will be profitable for you to use.

When evaluating keywords, you want to have keywords that bring in a good number of traffic (the more, the better) and are moderately competitive. Ranking for very competitive keywords takes a lot of effort, and you may not be willing to spend so much time, money and energy to make this happen. A better strategy is to find keywords that are fairly easy to rank for, but give you generous traffic and conversions just the same. This is the goal of evaluating keywords.

There are plenty of tools that can be used to evaluate keywords. The Google Keyword Tool that you use to generate your list already gives you an indication of the amount of competition you can expect for each keyword. Another way to find out exactly how many other pages you will be competing with is by doing a simple search in a search engine for that keyword.

Let me explain what I mean.

You can easily find out how popular a keyword is using Google. Go to www.google.com and type in the keyword in the search box. Once the search results appear, on the upper right side of the page, just above where the PPC ads show up, you’ll see a line that says something like “showing 10 of 50,000 results”. What this tells you is that there are approximately 50,000 pages in the Internet right now that competes in ranking for that keyword.

This type of competition analysis does not give you the whole picture though. Majority of those 50,000 or so pages that the search engines file under a certain keyword category may not be CONSCIOUSLY trying to rank for those keywords. This is very important, because whether or not a site is optimized for certain keywords makes a difference in how competitive that niche actually is.

You may find that a certain keyword has 1,000,000 pages competing for it and say to yourself that this keyword is very competitive. But if you take a closer look at the top 10 results, you may find that the sites don’t have the keyword in the title or in the URL or in the sites’ meta tags, or perhaps these pages do not have that many backlinks to them. This basically means that the top 10 results are not optimized for those keywords. Then you can conclude the opposite - that it is actually quite easy to rank for those keywords.

A software that I personally use to track the competitiveness and the rankings of my site and my competitors is a tool called Traffic Travis. You can download it for free and use it for a variety of SEO tasks, from generating keywords, to evaluating and analyzing competitiveness and profitability, and to finding out if your site is optimized, if your competitors’ sites are optimized and what you can do to boost your ranking. It’s quite easy to use. And it’s free to download.

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