You will learn how to research the best keywords for your web site using this cheat sheet! Using good keywords helps get more visitors and make more money online.
When you use the best keywords for your niche or blog site adsense pays better, affiliate programs pay more, and you get more traffic and rss subscribers. Knowing what your best keywords are is probably the most important thing in your entire site. You need to know what they are before you setup your blog, before you buy your domain name, and before you even write that first post. If you never thought about this before, don’t worry – you can always make your previous posts more profitable! But you’re going to wish you knew this from the very beginning! Even the SEO experts are saying it, like Carrie Hill in her article “Keywords First – New Web Site Second.
What Keywords are Most Important?
Before we get started actually doing research for the best keywords, let’s drive the point home (again) about how important they are – and point out which keywords matter most. Maybe this will also give you some new ideas about where you should be using the best keywords.
Keywords in a URL: This post at SEO Chat shows that people weigh in both sides of this debate. For the most part, successful bloggers still agree that keywords in a URL helps. When I do google searches I see words in domain name highlighted all the time – so I see it working in action. Some people believe that google favors keyword rich domains over MSN and Yahoo!. Kalena talks about the the importance of keywords in a URL, but reminds us that filenames (or permalinks) with a rediculous amount of words (like more than 6-8) are just a bad idea and poor planning.
Meta description: The description of your web page in a search engine listing is taken from the meta description tag in web page html code. Fortunately is you’re using blogging software or any modern content management system (CMS) you really don’t have to worry about that nowadays. I use a WordPress plugin in my blog to use the first few sentences of my post or page in the meta description. If you don’t have a meta description tag – the search engines will just use the first 30-odd words of text on your page as the description for a search result. Your best best is to summarize every post or page by starting out with a synopsis at the top peppered with relevant keywords.
H1 and other html heading tags: Just like in a book, the index, chapter, or section titles are most important. In a web page they organize and structure the document – so keywords used in these headers are of more importance than in the content text itself.
Image alt (attribute) tags: Within an image tag is an “alt” attribute where you can specify some text. The text is supposed to be used to describe the image for people that can’t see it. Search engines of course index alt text for images because it’s a description. Too many keywords is spammy, just enough is good SEO. One thing I can tell you for sure is that good image alt keywords are like gold for things like google images. You would be surprised how many new visitors you can get from google images with lots of good descriptions.
Keyword Density: Keyword density is the different between quality content and spam. The search crawlers are getting smarter by the day. If your content is keyword this, keyword that, keyword(s), keyworded, keywording, keyword keyword – the crawler will probably pickup pretty quick that you’re a keyword spammer. You could even do this by accident. Peter Faber writes about keyword density and in the end his advice is not to worry too much about it – write as if it were a natural conversation. I digress, make sure your content reads like natural conversation (with relevant keywords). It should be obvious if you’re getting spammy. If you want to check your home page or other posts for keyword density, you can use the free Webjectives Keyword Density Analyzer.
How to Research Relevant Keywords?
That’s a great question! There are some decisions to be made. The first is why people will search for your site in the first place? And I don’t mean trickery either – like you want people searching for grief counseling to find your search listing for prozac pills. Again I’ll use this site as an example. My main keyword phrases is of course “blogging mistakes”. I expect people to find my blog in phrases including keywords like “blogging tips” and “blogging help” or “wordpress hacks”. But there could be other keywords I haven’t thought of yet that are just as relevant. How do I find them, and find out how many people search for what keywords?
Keyword Research Help Guide
Many of the old free keyword research tools previously available are no longer online. Many pieces of software (http://www.goodkeywords.com) and web sites relied on the Overture engine to provide keyword data (for free). Since purchased by Yahoo! public access to that server has been shut down apparently – probably to favor their own Sponsored Search options. goRank still has a free related keywords lookup tool that works great. I typed in the keyword phrase “blogging help” and got this nice list of related keywords:
Finding the right keywords at first is a bit like brainstorming. You write down suggestions that you find from research. From this list I like the keywords guide, faq, tips, tutorials, and maybe manual. I’m going to save these words for later. Try the free keyword discovery tool by Trellian to get some great ideas. It not only gives you some great suggestions, but you the amount of searches performed too. It doesn’t show you how many from which search engine, but it seems pretty accurate (as an aggregate). Next I’m going to visit the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. I’m going to type in “blogging help” for descriptive words or phrases and I get some good data. The nice thing about this tool is the fact that it “kind of” shows competition just like it “kind of” shows how much it’s searched. I just go by the little bar graph. The keywords that look best here are blog tutorial, blog help, blog tips, and wordpress help. I also checked out the WordTracker Free Keyword Tool and got some quick ideas. Now I visit the MSN Keyword Forecast Tool. I think this free keyword impression count tool is great, but unfortunately you can only input 4 single keywords at once.
This is the easiest and quickest way I know of to find out what kind of activity certain keywords have. The keyword phrases I searched for “wordpress help” and “blog help” only get a couple hundreds searches per month according to MSN. For the google number I would times it x4 for a good guestimate. So between just google, Yahoo!, and MSN my two keyword phrases might get 3,000+ impressions a month. Want to see how many searches something really popular gets? Type in something like “iPod” or “Webkinz” and see what you get.
Have you ever wondered what keywords are searched for most everyday? That’s pretty easy to find too, but it’s all chopped up into different search engines and markets. I’m going to give some different options to try out – use the ones that give you the best results for your niche!
Most Searched Keywords Lists
- eBay keywords allows you to browse by alphabet letter some most searched keywords.
- At eBay pulse you can find the top 10 popular searches in every high level category they have.
- At eBay’s popular terms you can get some great ideas too.
- Yahoo Buzz lists top overall searches everyday.
- Most Searched Terms at the New York Times.
- Ask.com Top Searches for the week.
- Dogpile Search Spy – watch live searches
- Google 2007 Zeitgeist
- Lycos Top 50
- Google Hot Trends
- Google Trends
Oh – and Keyword Spy has a free lookup to view your top 10 competitors for a keyword phrase – they get an honorable mention.
So for I’ve shown you all the free ways to do keyword research that I know of because I’ve been blogging on a dime for years. Sometimes you really need a paid tool to get you the best information for a project you’re working on. There are two place that I know of that have the best keyword research material.
Wordze has a free keyword research video that’s only 5 minutes long and shows you first hand how their tool works. Check it out to see if you think this tool is worth paying for on a daily or monthly basis. It all depends on how valuable having the right keywords is to your blog or project.
The second place is WordTracker.com. I have used this service before and I’m going to show it to you first hand right now. They have a paid version (which I’ve subscribed to) and a free version. Actually – you can use the free trial over, and over, and over again. The difference between free and pro is that free has results from MSN, but Pro has those and results from Google and Yahoo! too. You also get a limited number of top keywords (just 15 instead of 300) – but it gives you free help and an idea of what you would get if you subscribed to WordTracker. Here’s my example of searching for related keyword for “blogging help”:
I selected two suggested related keywords on the left “blog tips” and “blog help” and put them in my keyword basket on the right. Then I moved on to the next step:
Wow, look at that data. My keyword phrases only get a couple dozen searches per month and I’m competing with million of web sites for those terms. You know what this tells me? Based on my earlier search in the free tools I know that these two terms get thousands of hits per month – it would just appear that (according to Wordtracker) not a lot of people search for them on MSN. If I want to know how many people search for these terms in Yahoo! and Google – You need to signup for the Paid version of WordTracker. Only you can decide if this is worth paying for or not. If you have just a blog, maybe all you need is a month long subscription to do research with. But if you own niche web sites and are interested in building monthly income online – I don’t see how you could be without it.
Keyword Research from the Experts
I mentioned Google Trends earlier, but Affiliate Marketing’s Cash Cow has a great post on Cashing in on Google’s Hot Trends. It explains how you can find a hot trend, a product associated with it, and cash in on traffic for hot keywords being used everyday. The Cash Cow also has a post about making a killer list of keywords, which shows how to use the free google adwords tool to find all kinds of keywords to make your niche profitable.
I will add more to this keyword research help page as I get it. Are you successful online and do you have a tip to add to this page? Please, comment now or feel free to Contact Me! Have a question? Just leave a comment below!
*Disclosure: This page took more than 6 hours to author and research. The links to the paid keyword research tools such as WordZe and WordTracker and affiliate links. If you decide these tools are for you – I would greatly appreciate you purchasing them through the links on this page. The small commission earned would help defray our costs and encourage me to write even more resource pages and articles like this for you for FREE!
If you learned something about keyword research today – please show your appreciation by Digging or Stumbling this page! =)~
*Update* One last item…..I found another FREE tool to use after your site is optimized, and it will check your site’s pagerank in the major 3 search engines for combinations of keywords. You can’t save your projects with the free version (you have to buy PRO), but it does work well, and free is free! You can find the RankTracker Free Version here.