Selecting the best Keyword(s) for your requirements is the critical activity in almost all online marketing activities, but sadly it seems most of us don’t invest the time or effort to really understand how to do this.

Keyword research

Rather than diving into Google and trying random searches, a considered approach is much more valuable.

  • Sales Objectives
    I usually start with getting inside the businesses objectives – typically sales objectives
  • Client Searches
    Then try to understand what that businesses prospective clients might be looking for – is it a solution they seek or are they more likely to search about their problem?
  • Keyword Planner
    Fire up the Google Keyword Planner and adjust the settings to reflect the client’s geographical demographics
    Then jump in with some generalised terms and observe the results
    Refine the results using the include/exclude facility
  • Excel 
    Download results into Excel where you can filter, slice and dice further

Keyword Tips

Here’s a couple of tips for the keyword research beginner:

Competition: Be aware that some keywords are highly competitive, and so will be difficult &/or expensive to compete against. If you are starting out and dont have an enormous budget or leadtime look for search terms that aren’t as competitive but still represent prospective clients searches ie ‘niches’

Don’t assume: It never fails to amaze me how variable search terms are. I would never ever ever assume what the most frequently searched term is. The Keyword Planner is free – Use it!

Keyword resources

Here’s a couple of resources to drill deeper into the deep depths of keyword research:

  • Discovering your Target Keywords
    I originally published this in 2010 but this white paper still reflects the process of selecting ideal keywords.
    It provides practical advice and strategy.
  • Keywords to the Wise
    Published by Google for use in their Adwords system, Keywords to the Wise provides some AdWords specific tips but much of this can be applied to keyword research for other mediums.
    Well worth a read…

Posted in: SEO Principals