How to Do Keyword Research - By Foodie SEO
This week we’re talking about Keyword Research and why it’s important. Then we’ll give you tips on how to form your own keyword strategy.
To make things a little more practical, we’re going to be using an example scenario. In this scenario, we have Katie, a foodie with a chocolate blog.
- User enters a query
- Search engine takes that query and compares it to the data it’s obtained from crawling sites
- Search engine returns a list of sites, ranked according to their authority and relevancy for that query.
- What keywords are relevant to your site and what it offers? What searches will bring in your target audience?
- How can you make your site more relevant to these keywords?
- If you have a page that is already highly ranked for a certain keyword, it will be easier for another page on the same site to rank for a similar keyword. For a refresher on how pages rank, take a look at our Foodie SEO entry about inbound links.
- How many sites are trying to rank for these keywords?
- This will define how diffcult it will be for your own site to rank for these keywords. The more sites that try to rank for a certain keyword, the higher the competition for that keyword.
- What is the relative search volume of these keywords? In other words, how often are these keywords used in searches?
- Compare the search volume of relevant terms to each other. If there is not enough search volume, ranking for these keywords might not be worthwhile, because ranking for these keywords will not bring in target users.
1. Finding out what content people want.
- Nowadays, when people want information, where do they go? The internet! Google alone processes over one billion searches per day, according to the New York Times. That is a lot of searches for information! Keyword research helps you discover what people are searching for when it comes to your expertise, and how they are searching for it.
- Keyword research should thus drive your content creation so you can better tailor your site to what people actually want at that exact time. You can use keyword research to help generate keywords that will drive your content creation.
2. Bringing your site to the attention of your target audience.
- Unless you optimize your site for the right keywords, no one will find it, at least not through search engines! Katie might write an amazing article about chocolate covered pears, but if no one is looking for those terms, no one will ever see her article.
- Keyword research is thus also important for figuring out a realistic ranking strategy. It will allow you to find words that have a good balance of search volume and relative competition. A good keyword strategy will bring you more traffic, as your site will rank higher in search results for those phrases and terms. For your page to rank highly, you must target what people are searching for, and to find those targets you must do keyword research.
- Using product/service names that you provide
- Using your brand
- Asking your readers or clients what terms they used to find your site
- Looking at a competitor’s site for terms that appear often on their pages.
- Geographic variations in your information
- Is the keyword relevant to your site?
- Will people that find your site through this term be your target audience?
How profitable is this keyword in comparison to how much work you would have to put in to rank for it?
For example, Katie has a page about chocolate oranges. On that page, she has an Adsense unit (if you need a refresher about what Google Adsense Text Ads are, read this Foodie SEO entry). She checks Google AdWords to see how much it would cost to advertise for the keyword phrase "chocolate oranges" and finds that it costs 50 cents per click, or 50 cent CPCs.
- Chances are, Katie is receivng 50 cent CPCs on her Google Adsense unit on her chocolate orange page.
- Now if she gets 10,000 pageviews on that page, she has earned $500.
- She spent 8 hours creating the page, and she values her time at $50 an hour.
- So in essence the page cost $400 to create, but she earned $500 through Adsense, so "chocolate orange" is a profitable keyword.
- For example, Katie has a page about chocolate oranges. On that page, she has an Adsense unit (if you need a refresher about what Google Adsense Text Ads are, read this Foodie SEO entry). She checks Google AdWords to see how much it would cost to advertise for the keyword phrase "chocolate oranges" and finds that it costs 50 cents per click, or 50 cent CPCs.
- How much search volume does this keyword have? Remember, it’s relative search volume that counts.
Note: It may be effective for you to target long tail keywords if you are a smaller site.
- The most popular searched keywords make up less than 30% of overall searches. 70% are in “long tail” searches. These are unique keywords that aren’t searched for as often.
It’s mportant to target content to this long tail. It’s a way to cover all your bases instead of targeting one single popular query. This will allow you to take advantage of the bulk of search results
If a keyword is highly relevant to your site and your target audience, and has enough search volume, keep it.
- Truffles: About 16,300,000 results. No ads
- Cocoa: About 123,000,000 results. No ads
- Fudge: About 7,770,000 results. Paid ads at the bottom.
- Candy: About 84,000,000 results. Paid ads at the bottom.
- Truffles: About 121,000 results
- Cocoa: About 780,000 results
- Fudge: About 462,000 results
- Candy: About 4,370,000 results
- Truffle: 1,000,000 global monthly searches, 450,000 local (US) searches, low competition
- Cocoa: 9,140,000 global monthly searches, 2,240,000 local (US) searches, low competition
- Fudge: 1,830,000 global monthly searches, 1,000,000 local (US) searches, low competition
- Candy: 16,600,000 global monthly searches, 7,480,000 local monthly searches, medium competition
Gaining authority for your site through inbound links.
If you need to learn more about linkbuilding, read the Foodie SEO linkbuilding entry. Make sure the anchor text of your inbound links matches the keywords you are trying to rank for. Once her article is written, Katie will build a linkbuilding strategy around the article, with the anchor text “cocoa”.
Optimize for the keyword on your site
Include the keyword in your site’s title, content, navigation, etc. We will discuss on page optimization later in another entry.
- Keyword research is important for finding out what your audience is searching, so you can tailor your content to match their interests.
To conduct keyword research you need to:
- Create a keyword opportunity list
- Determine the value of your keywords
- Determine the relative competition and search volume for these keywords.
- Rank for these keywords
- Measure Success