How to Conduct Effective Keyword Research

One of the most important steps asmall business owner should take when starting a search engine optimization (SEO) campaign is to make sure you are targeting the right keywords with your content, blogsand press releases.

The best way to do this (that’salso at no cost) is using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. This tool was build to help advertisersdoing Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC) through Google AdWords filter and pickmore effective terms to place in PPC campaigns; and since PPC and SEO are oftenhighly correlated, it is also a valuable tool for researching SEO keywords.

Google’s keyword tool let’sanyone with or without an AdWords account expand and filter relevant keywordsquickly.

To start, type in 5-10 keywordsand phrases that describe the product or service that you want to rank for:

If you are a local business, tryadding the following modifiers before and after certain keywords:
    Zip code
    State spelled out
    State abbreviation
    City, State
    “in” city

Once you have a solid list, typein the capcha and search.

At the top of the results youwill find detail on each of the keywords that you typed in; below that Googlewill expand your list and provide up to 100 keyword ideas related to the termsentered. If you are just learning SEO some of these results may be surprising toyou.

Next, click the “Local MonthlySearches” header to sort both lists by the average amount of times the term hasbeen searched in your country or language.

Then scan the list for keywords keywords that:
    are highly relevant to your business
    contain a low to medium competition ranking
    have a sizable number of local monthly searches

The competition ranking isspeaking to the competitiveness of the term as it relates to PPC advertising,but it can be generally related to SEO as well.

If you would like to save yourfavorite keywords, check them off and click the download drop down menufollowed by the selected option.  This will let you save yourchecked keyword list in a variety of formats.

Keyword research works best ifyou do several of these types of searches, constantly washing the keyword listthat you build on subsequent expansions.

Once done you can then either usethe final list of 5-10 keywords as the ones you are going to target, or use anSEO-specific tool to check the SEO competition for related terms. SEOMoz (paid)and the SEO SERP plugin for Google Chrome are greatoptions for this.

To learn more about how to build an SEO foundation, check out Grovo’s expert serieswith Zach Ciperski, VP, Coffee For Less, Director of SEO, Elite SEM.

In this video series Zach coversa variety of topics, including:
    A history of SEO
    Choosing the right keywords
    Onsite SEO optimizations
    Creating SEO friendly content
    Basic link building
    Social media SEO
    Video SEO
    User experience and SEO
    Mobile SEO

Special Thanks to Nick Narodny, Co-founder, SVP of Business Training for Grovo for sharing his expertise with the readers of the Marketing Blog!

See you at the top,
Mike Fleischner