Google Keyword Research

In order for your website to attract search traffic, you need to create Content pages that are optimized for the keywords that people search for within your niche. To discover these keywords, you need to perform a keyword research. If your site will have a limited set of Content pages, you can do this research once for all of your pages. Otherwise, if you intend to make a regularly updated site you can do the research for each individual Content page just before creating it.

Keyword Research Chart

The first step is to head over to Google AdWords Keyword Tool and enter the subject for the Content page you are going to create. The tool will show you the global monthly searches for the searched term, as well as for other similar terms. The results displayed can be shown in three ways: broad, [exact] and “phrase” match.

  • Broad match – Similar phrases and relevant variations. Displayed without quotation marks or square brackets – e.g. golf.
  • Phrase match – Searches that matches the exact phrase. Displayed inside quotation marks – e.g. “golf”.
  • Exact match – Searches that match the exact phrase exclusively. Displayed inside square brackets – e.g. [golf].

The most relevant results in terms of search volume are the exact matches, so go ahead and filter the search result by selecting the exact match type. Keep in mind that this match may still not be displayed for the searched term if it is not a commonly searched phrase.

Google adwords keyword tool
An example of a search for the exact term “golf swing” using the Google AdWords Keyword Tool.

Go through the results and compile a list of the potential terms you can use as the primary keyword phrase for the Content page. For each keyword on your list, write down the global monthly searches. To get more ideas you can vary your searches and also make use of the phrase and broad matching options. Different word order and plurals will typically produce different results, while capitalization will not. You can ignore keywords for which there is not a strong demand – less than 1000 monthly searches. There is no use in creating content that will not be read.

Keyword phraseMonthly searches
Golf swing40 500
Golf swing tips12 100
Golf swing instructions1 900

Most of the keywords in your list should be 3 to 5 words long. People using longer keyword phrases know what they are looking for and will therefore convert at a significantly higher rate. These terms are also much less competitive than keywords that are 1 to 2 words long. It is possible even for a new site to attain high rankings for a long keyword phrase through limited marketing efforts and page optimizations.

SEO Competition

You now have a list of keyword phrases with a high number of monthly searches. The next step is to determine the competition you would need to beat to take the number one spot for these keywords on Google. Start by searching through the list on Google, one keyword phrase at a time. Click on the top result and analyze that page. You need to determine how solid its hold on the number one position is for that specific keyword phrase. To estimate this you can use a point system by following the checklist below.

Keywords in title+3
Keywords in domain name+2
Keywords in heading+2
Keywords in page name+1
Keywords in content+1

The first point in the list is the Google PageRank, which will be explained in a later chapter. The other items refer to where the keywords appear on the page. So if the exact keyword phrase is in the title of the page, you add 3 points. If the keywords are in the wrong order, or if one of them are missing, then add half the points. After you have summed up the final score, add it to your list. Then continue with the next keyword until you have analyzed the competition for all of them.

Keyword phraseMonthly searchesCompetition
Golf swing40 5009
Golf swing tips12 1005
Golf swing instructions1 9006.5

If the competition for a keyword is above 8, remove that keyword. While this book will give you the tools to beat just about any competition, it is much easier to find a less competitive page to go after. For the amount of work required to beat an optimized page, you can get several Content pages to the number one spot for less competitive keywords.

You now have enough information to determine which keyword you want to optimize your page for. Pick the keyword that has the highest monthly traffic, combined with a low SEO competition. This will be the page’s primary keyword phrase.

Secondary Keywords

Once the primary keyword phrase for the Content page has been decided, you want to use the same method for finding secondary keyword phrases. These are the keywords that will appear in the subheadings on the page. They should also show up in the first paragraph, or at least in the content, belonging to each subheading. Secondary phrases will not carry as much weight as the primary one will. Therefore, to rank for these phrases you want to find keywords with really low competition. Such phrases may not bring in a lot of search traffic, but it will be better than nothing.

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