SEO Keyword Research Tutorial
Keywordsseo

I know a lot of people tend to get confused about Keywords and Keyword Research, etc. - it's not easy to understand sometimes and there's not many GOOD tutorials out there. So I figured I'd create a quick Tutorial on Keywords and Keyword Research for those of you who are not quite sure about this aspect of SEO (and PPC, too).

1. Keywords are the lifeblood of Search Engines!

Keywords are to Search Engines as Water is to life. Without keywords you can't find anything on a search engine. That's just a fact of life. Every time you search on Google - you have to use a "search query" aka Keyword. These keywords (sometimes called Key Phrases) are the actual "questions" you ask Google so they can find the right results for you (not always perfect, which is why they change their algorithm for their Search Engine (to serve better results based on your query/search).

This means that you need to be pretty specific when searching for a product or website (etc).

For instance, if you wanted to search for "ford" but you really want to find a 2001 Ford F-150, you're probably not going to get great results back. Try for yourself and you'll see that most of the top results will be based on the Ford Motor Company, whereas other results will be based on actual Ford Dealerships. If you wanted to find a 2001 ford f-150, you need to be specific. That's just how Google works.

Let's say that you looking for Gerald Ford (ex-US President) and put in Ford... well, you're probably not going to get very good results here either. While Google does use "Google Suggestions" to help us out with better search queries (keywords to search for), some people don't realize this and are very broad in their search. Google needs good keywords, so remember this.

2. Why do WE need Keywords for SEO or PPC?

Good question, glad you asked 

If we own a Website we need Google to be able to find us based on certain Keywords. For instance, let's say we have a website based on BlueWidgetReview.com ...

We chose this domain because we know that the keyword Blue Widget Review get a lot of searches for this product and we know that the domain was available (exact match domain; read below). This domain is based on the Keyword, but we still need Google to get a better understanding of what the site is about, so we need to use our Keyword(s) on our website and in our content.

TITLE: our website title is one of the most important places to use our MAIN Keyword(s). We need our Website title to have this keyword in it, but we also want it to look natural. So, let's say our title tag looked like:

Code:
<title>Blue Widget Review - Read the truth about Blue Widgets!

That's a bit long, but it's OK for this. We want our keyword to be in the title tag (in Wordpress this is done in the Admin Control Panel, this goes for all Content Management Systems and Blog Platforms) and we want it to look natural, not forced or spammy. We want ONE keyword in the title (per page), not 2 or 3 like some Guru's try to tell us. We also want to make sure every page has a different title. This is usually done automatically in Wordpress based on the page name! 

URL: having our keyword within the URL somewhere is also good. Let's say we want to target Green Widget Review -- we'd do this:

http://bluewidgetreview.com/green-widget-review.html

Dashes work great in the URL for the pages, although I don't recommend dashes in the Domain (blue-widget-review.com is a no no, in my opinion) if you can. It looks spammy to real users.

LINKS: we need our keywords in our anchor text so that Google knows what our website is about. This means inbound links (from other sites to ours).

If we wanted our site to rank high for "green widget review" (without quotes), we'd use the following code:

Code:
<a href="http://www.bluewidgetreview.com/green-widget-review.html">Green Widget Review</a>

One thing to keep in mind is that if you can use an editor you won't have to even use this code! Most websites like Wordpress, Forums, etc. - they give you the option to use a Link button or a simple area to enter info for the URL and NAME of the website. (look at the top of the Advanced Editor on this forum for a button with Earth and a Chain Link graphic. Click this and you'll see an example)

When we build links (backlinks) we make sure that we spread our keywords around. We don't want to build 1,000 links and have them all pointing to the same page and same anchor text (keyword). We want to diversify the links and make sure that if we have 10 keywords - they're all pretty even.

Note: we won't always have the opportunity to get anchor text in our links, so some sites will force us to use http://site.com ...this is fine! Get the link 

CONTENT: we need to make sure our content is relevant to the Keywords we're targeting (trying to rank for). If we're targeting best water filtering system, our content needs to be able water filters, somehow. 

Always use content that is somewhat relevant to your keywords!

3. Keyword Match Types

There's a lot of different types of keywords out there and different ways of explaining them. So let's start with the basics:

Broad Match Keywords: this was discussed above. Using broad keywords is when you're looking for Gerald Ford and you simply enter "ford" into the search engines (without quotes). Going broad can be good with some products/niches, but usually ends up causing more frustration for most people, which in turn leads to more searches.

A good example of using a broad keyword would be to search for:

ford truck

But this keyword can also end up showing results for

f-150 ford truck
truck ford f-150
f-150 truck ford


These are all different keywords (technically), but by using broad match Google is not 100% sure what you're looking for and wants to use these words in any arrangement and will result in the same findings. 

This can be problematic since the rearranged words might end up being for terms completely different. They're not super-targeted keywords, either.

Be very careful when going after Broad keywords. Let's say you wanted to sell a Ford F-150 Truck and you spent your hard earned money to target this keyword? What a waste! Especially since you're selling a 2010 Red 4 Door Ford F-150 Truck V8.

Pretty big difference, right? This is why we need to give Google (yes, even on OUR side of the search) what they need...better keywords!

So a broad match keyword would be like affiliit internet marketing training and could look like:

internet marketing training affiliit
internet training affiliit marketing
training affiliit marketing internet

They could pretty much be complete scrambled with no need to be in any particular order. Make sense?

"Phrase Match Keywords": (note the quotes around the keyword, these represent a phrase match keyword)

The Phrase Match wants an exact order, but unlike the Exact Match Type it can have words before and after:

best "affiliit internet marketing training"
"affiliit internet marketing training" sign up
clint lenard "affiliit internet marketing training" program

Notice how everything in the PHRASE (between quotes) never changes? They can have words before and after, but nothing in the phrase can change, unlike a broad match keyword.

[Exact Match Keywords]:(note the brackets around the keyword. This indicates an exact match type)

So with these keywords they will be exact, nothing more. Unlike broad, where the words can be scrambled, and unlike Phrase where the phrase stays exact, but words can be before or after (or both), the Exact Match Types cannot have anything before or after.

[affiliit internet marketing training]

These match types are important for Pay Per Click Advertising! While there's several other match types to use, we'll stick with these. Negative Match types and Exact Negatives are GREAT and should be a must-use for PPC.

4. Keyword Research Basics

While this might have been better used towards the beginning, I wanted you to put things together more like a puzzle, so I think that Keyword Research is that last corner piece that finally makes things click.

Keyword Research is simply looking for the best keywords to use for your website (or PPC campaign). There's no magic tools that will show you super converting keywords that have little competition, but some tools can definitely help you out in finding good keywords to target.

Our keywords will start from our heads. We want to build a seed list.

SEED LIST: This is the beginning of our research. We want to brain storm some keywords and start building this seed list so that we can target better keywords and a bigger, more focused list(s).

Let's say we want to promote Adrian Peterson Jersey's. Sounds easy, so let's go ahead and build a seed list:

 
adrian peterson jersey
adrian peterson uniform
adrian peterson oklahoma jersey
adrian peterson sooners jersey
adrian peterson oklahoma sooners jersey
adrian peterson oklahoma uniform
adrian peterson sooners uniform
adrian peterson oklahoma sooners uniform
adrian peterson vikings jersey
adrian peterson minnesota jersey
adrian peterson minnesota uniform
adrian peterson minnesota vikings jersey
adrian peterson minnesota vikings uniform
adrian peterson #28 jersey
adrian peterson 28 jersey
adrian peterson all day jersey
adrian all day peterson jersey
ad oklahoma sooners jersey

Now some of you might not know who Adrian Peterson is, but that's OK. I'm simply using his College (Oklahoma Sooners) and his Professional (Minnesota Vikings) teams to build my seed list. If I wanted to build a site or page based just on Adrian Peterson Jerseys, I'd say I pretty much just hit all of the main keywords right there!

But there's always going to be more, so let's go ahead and open up the Google Keyword Tool (GKT from here on out) and see what else might be there.

https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

(if you don't already have an AdWords account I highly suggest getting one. It'll cost you $5.00 to sign up, but it's highly worth it for later use and you can get 800 results rather than 100)

In this tool you will enter in all the keywords above. Once that's done and the results come up, look towards the far left and check the boxes that say:
broad
[exact]
"phrase"

We'll use these as indicators for traffic estimates (how many searches the keyword(s) get per month).

Now we see a bunch of results and we want to start sorting and choosing the best Keywords to use.

At the top of the graph/list find the words GLOBAL MONTHLY SEARCHES and click it so that the highest number of searches come up to the top (give it a second).

Now you should see the word "jersey" come up with 20,400,000 and not much competition. Looks great, but remember what we were saying about being too broad? This is NOT a good keyword...it could be about New Jersey, Jersey Shore (show or the place), a name, etc. It's nowhere near what we want people to buy (adrian peterson jersey).

Skip those keywords that are too broad. More examples of useless (in our case) keywords:

 
jersey
jerseys
nfl fantasy (not even relevant)
custom jerseys
nhl jerseys (hockey?)
minn vikings schedule
baseball jerseys
viking tickets
vikings ticket
favre jersey
mn vikings roster
reggie bush jersey
adrian peterson workout

Some keywords that are relevant but not useful (in our case) due to either HIGH COMPETITION or TOO BROAD:

 
nfl jerseys
football jerseys
cheap nfl jerseys
sports jerseys
college jerseys
ou jersey
oklahoma jersey
sooners jersey
adrian peterson vikings
adrian peterson picture

While we are targeting people looking for specific (hint hint) nfl jerseys, we're not interested in keywords that have too much competition and not close enough to our keyword.

NOTE that if you wanted to build a website around Football Jerseys or Sports Jerseys, you could always target more difficult keywords for the front page (home page/index page) and then use the Adrian Peterson keywords for an inner page(s) [1 for college, 1 for nfl]. This is good if you want to take more time to rank for more keywords by building more pages, more content and more links (backlinks to your site).

Some iffy keywords that could be worth it:

 
"peterson jersey" -- wouldn't use this as the competition is VERY high
minnesota vikings apparel -- tough competition
adrian peterson vikings -- could be OK

Going through the list you may find a few more, just make sure they're low to medium competition and over 1,000 searches a month. Otherwise those keywords are useless in most cases.

The next search you want to try is going into the GKT and doing a simple search for:
adrian peterson

Make sure to check the box that says:
Only show ideas closely related to my search terms

Now you'll get more relevant keywords to choose from. Make sure they're related to:

1. Adrian Peterson and/or OU (University of Oklahoma) and/or Minnesota Vikings fans
2. People who might be interested in Apparel (jerseys)

Remember that when you're doing Keyword Research you need to use your brain here, too.

  • Are the Keywords relevant?
  • Can they somehow be related to the original seed list or idea?
  • Is the competition low to medium? Higher is tougher to rank for!
  • Do these keywords appear to be "converting" keywords?
  • Are the keywords too broad or are they more focused? "laser targeted" is what are going to convert the best.

You can use other tools to help you out with this Keyword Research. These are some good paid tools, but not necessary to start making money.

WordTracker
WordStream
MarketSamurai (uses data from Google, but it sorts it nicely)
Keyword Discovery

 
4. 3 other "Types" of Keywords!

While we did discuss Match Types for keywords, now it's time to focus on 3 more "types" of keywords. The 3 stages of the Buying Cycle for Keywords are:

1. Browse Keywords: This is stage 1 where the user goes on Google.com and does a search for ford f-150 truck. They don't know the year or exact specs on the truck, they're just looking right now.

If they wanted to find information on houses in Las Vegas, Nevada, they'd put in a search like:

homes for sale las vegas

Pretty simple, right? They don't know any particulars, this is the first stage in the process in buying a product...or a home.

2. Research Keywords: Once they get more information about the trucks they will start doing more research on different specs, different colors, 2 door, 4 door...different years, etc.

With the house they may now have a better understanding of the locations or types of homes available, so now they're getting into the research mode.

homes for sale in south las vegas
houses for rent in henderson


3. Buyer Keywords: Now they're in the Buyer stage. They're going to do a search for a specific truck in a specific city, possibly landing on Auto Trader, eBay or Craigslist.

This time with the house they should have more information on the homes in vegas, the areas, etc.

2 story houses for sale in green valley las vegas

So let's do a simple example using Blue Widgets:

Stage 1 (Browse): blue widgets

- They're looking to see what comes up for the search term "blue widgets"

Stage 2 (Research): blue widget series xla

- They want to find more information about a more specific series of blue widgets

Stage 3 (Buyer): buy blue widget series xla 2200

or it could be: blue widget series xla 2200 discount

Stage 3 should be keywords that are truly focused on someone looking to purchase a product.

Brand Keywords

Brand keywords are great examples of Buyer Keywords. These keywords get searches based on a specific brand, which usually get searched by people who are interested in buying that brand. Imagine if you could rank for the keyword of a brand that is known to solve a problem. How about Proactiv, the skin care product that claims to solve acne and other skin problems. You could make a lot of money by simply ranking #1 for this product. We're talking thousands a day or more. 

Not bad, right? Well, now think about every other product that exists to solve a problem. Technically, nearly every product was created to solve a problem in some way. 

Ear Candy can solve the need to listen to music while "looking cool." OK, maybe that's a bad example, but they're stylish and they solve the problem of not being able to listen to music in privacy.

Viagra would be a major keyword to rank #1 for. How long has this product already been marketed for? Well, if you could rank in the top 3 you could make thousands a day for this keyword too.

Remember that Brand keywords can be very profitable and you should always try to rank for them if you can.
 
Riding Trends and Seasons

A lot of people want to ride trends or seasons to get Holiday sales, new kids Toys, etc.

Let's dig into each of these and hopefully I can teach someone something new. Join in the discussion if you want to add on and hopefully you can teach some new tricks to old dogs, too (like me!).

SEASONS:

This is a very good idea, but when it comes to Holidays - you should definitely take advantage of this very early on, not weeks before the Holidays, unless you want to try out Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC) and take the financial risk (rather than the time risk with SEO).

Some examples of Holidays are:

Christmas -- kids toys are hot, tv's are hot, etc.

This is usually where people stop their thinking (popular holidays). Christmas, Halloween, New Year's, Valentine's day, etc. - they're all great holidays and well worth the effort if you get moving quickly.

But what about Football Bowl Season in America? Food, family and Football. The Super Bowl, College National Championship and other 35+ bowls will require get togethers and new High Def TV's!

Every country has a passion for some type of sports. With sports comes get together's/parties that will almost always be in front of television's with a lot of food, beer/drinks, nice TV's and other things like that.

Don't be so simple minded when you start thinking of Seasons, because that can drown your thought process and make you waste time in some instances. Sports seasons, Seasonal clothing, seasonal food/cooking, seasonal allergies, seasonal vacations, etc.

During the Summer in America it's hot and people want to get involved in Water sports. Surfing, Bodyboarding, water skiing, swimming, boating, etc. on the other side of the world it could be cold... don't forget about INTERNATIONAL markets!

During the fall Football is popular, the air starts cooling off and people are going back to school, getting used to the changing seasons. School supplies can be sold during the end of summer, but this time of the year can be used to prepare for Christmas sites.

TRENDS:

Trends are a bit different. You need to focus on what's new or what's hot and ride them for what they're worth. With every trend comes time...you have little of it. You want to jump in right away and get started on your research for that trend.

For trends you should be paying attention to a few sites:
http://www.google.com/trends -- really straight forward. Lot's of stuff right off the bat.

http://www.google.com/trends/hottrends -- Google HOT trends. Change the date if you want to check on other dates.

http://pulse.ebay.com/ -- this tool is AWESOME for anyone, because you can see a lot of categories and check on trends for each of the categories. This might give you TONS of niche and product ideas 

http://www.google.com/insights/search/# -- one of my favorite Keyword tools! <-- click for a TUTORIAL on Google Insights!

http://www10.shopping.com/top_searches -- GREAT for finding niche's!

http://twitter.com - I use this to see what might be moving in the news, just in case.

Trend Hunter and Trend Watching are pretty cool sites too, but they send way too many emails for me 

The main thing is that you should not be too focused on being general. There's GREAT niche's out there that are just waiting for new competition, so make sure you do your research wisely. I tend to spend hours per week researching stuff, so every once in a while there's one niche that will pop up and become a nice niche to jump in.
 
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