Tuesday, 11 August 2009

How to do SEO Keyword Research

Search engine optimisation starts with keyword research. Your goal is to find the best possible keyword phrases, and optimise your site to index effectively for those terms.

What is a Keyword?

A keyword is a term entered into a search engine by people looking to find a specific type of website. For example, a person entering the keyword phrase 'sewing machines' is looking for a website about sewing machines.

The first stage in keyword research is to find out which terms people are entering into search engines when they're trying to find a site like yours. This is achieved with the help of a keyword discovery tool.

Make your Keyword Shortlist:

Some people try to optimise their site for every possible keyword phrase. This can't work, because of the way a search engine works.

The second stage in keyword research is to make a shortlist. Your goal is to find 3-5 keywords, and optimize your web page for them. There are many reasons why you might prefer one keyword over another...
  • More people enter it into search engines
  • Fewer people enter it into search engines (i.e. easier to achieve the #1 spot)
  • It will attract more targeted visitors
  • It's a term known only to insiders, and these are the people you want to reach
The more focused a web page is, the easier it will be to create a shortlist.

One of the most useful tools for creating a shortlist is Google's Keyword Analysis Tool.

This tool tells you how many people are searching on your keyword phrases, and how expensive it is to buy clicks in AdWords for those terms. It can also handle multiple keywords at once.

Once you have your keyword shortlist, it's time to optimize your site content. Find out how to optimise site content in The DIY Guide to SEO.