The 5 Essential Elements of Search Engine Keyword Research

The 5 Essential Elements of Search Engine Keyword Research

Reader Comments (56)

  1. Good post. I found when looking for search terms (low hanging fruit) I try and find 4 to 6 related terms. If they only under 10 searches per day each that is still up to 40 or 60 a day. Target an article towards those terms.

    You will also be surprised at what other terms will start to bring in traffic.

  2. It amazes me what useless terms I rank well for — “bald people” anyone? Getting lot of traffic from that one.

    Yes, some relevant terms bring good traffic too.

    So Brian, what % of your traffic is organic SE traffic?

  3. Great post.

    I have found the overture keyword research tool really useful in past, however in recent times I havent been able to access it properly.

    For me, I am only interested in people specifically searching for computer help in my home-town (Perth). Google gives plenty of suggestions but most of them are not Perth related – I found the overture tool easier in this regard, the specific numbers were great too.

    The seobook tool doesnt seem to function for me, I tried it just then and got 0 results. Is it still working for you guys over there? perhaps they are blocking access to Australian domains.

  4. Ted, I don’t pay a lot of attention to overall search traffic, because as you mention, a lot of it is silly. I use metaphor and analogy quite a bit, and search engines are not smart enough to figure that out.

    For example, it amazes me how many people search for “kids eat free” without regard for geography, and land on this post.

    I do watch targeted search traffic though, and since I’m currently #3 for “copywriting” and #1 for “writing headlines” in Google, I’m pretty happy.

    Perth Guy, I usually have to hit “search” twice to get results with the SEO Book tool. Not sure why that is.

  5. The tool of Aaron’s would take a bit of education for me to understand it.

    I’m looking forward to the next installment !

  6. I have noticed the overture tool has been flaky for a couple months now. I will try the search twice thing.

    Since I have started to use the Google adword tool for general research but when I really want to dig deep and gather over 1000 phrases I use Wordtracker

  7. How about finding related topics, not just the niche targeting you need? If you find your customers want not only copywriting, but also HTML template formatting (or SEO, for that matter), entering this niche might be very much helpful.

    Or is it just the basic guide to keyword research or something?

  8. Yuri, I’m going to touch on related keyword topics in the next post, but for the sake of clarity, I’m taking it one keyword phrase/content resource at a time. I think it will make a bit more sense after the next post.

  9. I just started playing with a few hours ago. Not enough data yet, but I like it so far.

    Worth trying — took maybe 5 minutes to sign up and implement.

  10. I’ve been playing with a bit – different data than the rest, but has been pretty useful for more general terms. I haven’t even explored the extra functionality yet.

    It’s interesting to note how different the results are b/w Wordtracker, Yahoo (Overture), Wordze, and Google Keyword Tool.

  11. Another thing that is useful when doing keyword research is checking the supply and not just the demand.

    If you look for the term “designer sunglasses” in the overture tool you see that there is massive demand. However, you will probably not rank for it because there are a lot of sites competing for the term (a lot of supply).

    The way to check this is to use the google allinanchor and allintitle queries.

    try comparing the following

    allintitle:designer sunglasses

    allintitle:chinese tattoos

    and you will understand the concept

  12. Yoav, that’s a good point. I should probably add to this post and reiterate the “be realistic” aspect of trying to rank for certain terms. I personally take that a bit for granted, so I should have spelled it out.

  13. I’ve just tried myself. Not enough data yet but it provides reports that I think most bloggers would find interesting. The part that intrigued me was from Darren Rowse’s post about it – in terms of figuring out what questions people are asking in search engines that result in traffic to your site…

  14. Another thing to remember is that the Overture tool (or any derivation of) does not split between singular and plural phrases, does not differentiate between word order and often misses ‘and’ ‘in’ ‘for’ type operators from its results.

    I generally use overture to get an idea and then look at all different permutations in comparison to each other using google trends. Sure it doesn’t give you volumes but if you are comparing say ‘homeowner loans’, ‘homeowner loan’, ‘loans for homeowners’ etc etc you can find out which of the search volume for each permutation of a phrase relative to each other.

    Great comment by Yoav also, this sort of extra research can be a gem in finding a relatively low competition, high volume niche.

  15. Yea… I totally agree with that and more specifically #5. People don’t realize it, but google knows how long visitors stay at your site. The longer they stay, the more google likes it…

  16. If I want to get really qualitative about the competition or current supply for a given phrase, I take a look at the top ten results in Google to get an idea of how those sites are using the keywords (filename, titles, etc.).

    If it doesn’t look like they’ve deliberately done much to target the phrase, then that is a good sign that my chances are good for grabbing a good ranking for it.

    It also gives me ideas of things I may need to do (or do better than them) with the phrase or content.

  17. Yep, I do that too. Plus, when the content is not that good that ranks ahead of you, you can pull in the people who hit the “back” button with a nice compelling title that still displays the keywords.

  18. HitTail is by far the easiest way to get into the heads of your users. It literally turns your entire website into a writing topic suggestion box, with the best suggestions automatically getting sorted by HitTail.

  19. Keywords are a very tricky thing to have to pull out and use. To think how would someone type in a word(s) to find my site is a challange but possible with some of the tools mentioned. I will be looking at the to see if that is a tool I can use to refer my team too for thier sites. Great information. I also have a number counter on my site that collects where people come from and what words they used to click in so I can change keywords around if I need too.

  20. Tools like Wordtracker and Keyword Discovery are good but they are all paid Ones. Do you recommend any free tools that can also give a fair idea about the competition.

  21. Very useful article. These keyword research tools you mention are very good. I am also using Google insights and Google Trends. In order to get more keyword ideas I also use, and I tend to do a Delicious search in order to find out what kind of keywords people use to bookmark a specific topic. Twitter search is also useful.

  22. “ is CLOSED to new subscribers.” WTHeck? My search for a free keyword tool continues. Once spent a whole evening looking. Nothing useful exists. Those billed as “free” mainly serve as a marketing gimmick to get you to buy services. Hey, Wordtracker would be great, but at $329 annually, seems kinda high for an enhanced version of what G’d keywordselector does pro bono!

  23. Hey Brian…I just read your article for the second time, and wanted to make sure that when you said keywords you didn’t mean meta keywords but just keywords in the body of your blogs and copy etc.

    The reason I say this is Google does not use the meta keywords in your header for determining quality of a site and positioning…

  24. Brad, yep, I mean keywords in the content and title tag (which are essential) and in the meta description (which is not for ranking, but to assure searchers of the relevance of your page). You are correct that meta keywords are not used by search engines anymore.

  25. Hey Brian love the article and the blog you have got some fantastic tips here.

    I am just studying keyword research and SEO trying to get my head around it.

    Could you recommend a easy to understand guide/ article that explains the basics?

    I feel I know the basics but just want to be sure I know them.

    All the best Graham

    PS keep up the fantastic work

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