The purpose of this post is to answer common keyword research questions.
1. What is a keyword?
• The word or phrase that a person types into Google or another search engine when they are looking for something.
• A word or phrase that briefly describes what your website’s page is about.
2. Why are keywords important to me?
When you enter a keyword into the search bar, Google wants you to be happy with the search results it provides. You are Google’s customer and they want you to come back. When most people search for something on Google, they may only look at the results on the first page or two.
If you are have a website or blog, keywords are what Google uses to help people find you if they are searching for something that can be found on your website or blog.
3. What is keyword research for?
Keyword research allows you to:
• Understand what the potential readers and/or customers are looking for.
• Know what phrases are commonly being typed into the search engines.
• Allows you to see how many websites are competing to rank on the first page for a particular keyword. .
• Design your website
• Develop relevant content that can be found by the search engines
• Creating an ad campaigns
4. Why is keyword research important?
Keyword research helps you attract the right kind of visitors to your website. You want visitors that are interested in what your website offers. You want to focus on quality visitors rather than getting a huge quantity of visitors. For example, if you have bike shop that specializes in Harley motorcycles, you don’t want most of your website visitors to be people that are looking for mountain bikes.
5. How important is keyword research?
If your website or blog is part of your business, keyword research is a a valuable marketing activity that should not be overlooked. Keyword research may not be very important to you if your blog or website is more of a personal journal that you would still keep even if no one reads it.
If keyword research is not done, the website may still rank in Google search results but it may be more of a matter of luck. It would almost like deciding to sell your house but not advertising it or listing it with a Realtor. You might get lucky and have the prospective buyer drive down your street one day and see your for sale sign in the yard.
6. Does Google still have it’s free Google Keyword Research tool?
No, even though it was very popular and easy to use, Google shut it down several years ago. They replaced it with the Google Adwords Keyword Planner. (Note: In my opinion, Google Adwords may be great for figuring out keywords for ads but I find it very challenging to use for regular keyword searches.).
7. How do you do keyword research? What is the keyword research process?
This will be an extremely simplified explanation of the process. Keyword research is like a form of market research. Let’s assume that you have are about to open a pet store that specializes in dogs. Lots of people like dogs. When you do a keyword research, you are trying to find out:
1.How many people are searching for the term “dogs” each month?
2. How much competition do you have for that term?
Would you have a reasonable chance to beat out your competition and make it onto the first page of Google search results? Remember, you want to get listed on the first page of Google because the people in those spots have a significantly higher chance of having the user visit the website.
3. If there is too much competition for a term like “dogs,” you will not be able to rank on the first page or two. As result, you will want to consider other related terms “best collars for large dogs” or “ flea shampoo for puppies.”
4. You will look for other terms that describe your business or what you want to write about.
5. You are looking for terms that have an acceptable amount of searches each month combined with low competition from other websites. There are lots of words out there that will meet these perimeters. However, it sometimes requires a little bit of creativity to find them.
The goal is that you can find words that you can incorporate into you article, blog post or product advertisement. The words have to be words or phrases that you target audience will be searching for. Over time, as your website grows and becomes more popular, you will be in a better position to rank for some of the more competitive words.
8. The answer to the question above explained the process of doing keyword research. How do you actually research the keywords?
I use a keyword research tool. First, I will think of a word or phrase that describes something that I want to write about or sell. Then, I will type that word or phrase into the keyword research tool’s search box. The search will return the term I searched. It will also provide a list of other related terms and stats for each. The information returned for each keyword will vary depending on what keyword research tool you use.
I may supplement the results that I found using with a Google Search and maybe a Google Adwords search. If I am researching keywords related to a product, I also may search Amazon to see what comes up. As a business grows, the keyword research and search engine optimization (SEO) will become more complex and involved because greater amounts of money are at stake.
9. Are there free keyword research tools available?
Yes. They may be very basic tools but you can get the keyword information that you need. Typically, you are limited by the number of searches that you can do. With the better tools, you are limited to a very small number of free keyword searches per day. For example, with MOZ, one of the most popular tools with SEO professionals, you only get two free searches per day. Google Adwords Keyword Planner doesn’t limit the number of searches buy you will have to spend more time searching and interpreting what the results mean if you want to use them for something other than ads.
For me, using Google Adwords would be similar to using a paid phone booth at the airport to make a phone call. It works but having your own cell phone is much more convenient. (For my online business, being able to do keyword searches is almost as important as having phone service.) If you time is important to you, it may be better to use a version that you pay for. The paid versions have time saving features and may offer extra search features.
10. How much do website keyword research tools cost?
It depends on what features you are getting with the tool. I am currently using a keyword research tool called Jaaxy. It cost $19 per month and that works out to 63 cents per day. I used it multiple times each day, so it is worth it.
When I first started learning about building websites and online marketing, I used a free tool that was provided as part my Wealthy Affiliate training program membership. That tool was very similar to how I remember the old Google Keyword Research tool. After the free trial period and first month discount has elapsed, Wealthy Affiliate program costs $49 per month. This includes the keyword research tool, hosting for up to 25 websites, SSL security certificates, step by step training and supportive online community plus other stuff. The WA keyword research tool is basic but when you are first learning about building a website and keyword research, it is more than adequate. At $49 per month – that works out to $1.63 per day.
Generally speaking, the more features that are included with a key word research tool, the higher the monthly price is going to be.
SEO Keyword research tools are similar to camera purchases. A beginning photographer could go out and purchase a really nice, expensive professional grade camera. Yet, the beginner is not going to take professional quality photographs just because she has the expensive camera. On the other hand, the beginner will be extremely frustrated because he/she doesn’t understand the camera’s settings. The serious beginner is better off purchasing an entry level camera and learning the basics to include to include shooting in manual mode first.
Keyword research tools are similar. The free tools are like disposable point and shoot cameras. The low end paid tools are like entry level DSLR cameras. The MOZ and SemRush keyword research tools are like high end professional Nikon and Canon cameras respectively.
11. What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. The American Marketing Association defines SEO as:
The process of developing a marketing/technical plan to ensure effective use of search engines as a marketing tool. Typically, consists of two elements. On a technical side, SEO refers to ensuring that a Web site can be indexed properly by the major search engines including keywords, content, and links.
On the marketing side, SEO refers to the process of targeting specific keywords where the site should “win” in searches. This can be done by modifying a Web site to score well in the algorithms search engines use to determine rank, or by purchasing placement with individual keywords. Often , SEO programs are a blend off several elements and strategies.
12. What is SEO keyword research tool?
It is a keyword research tool that is specifically designed to help you select specific keywords that will help your site rank in the search engines. For example, the Google Adsense Keyword Planner is not an SEO keyword tool. It is a tool designed to help you select words for ads. Most other keyword tools are SEO keyword research tools. The more sophisticated ones offer more in depth analysis, suggestions and competitor analysis.
13. What is the best keyword research tool for SEO?
There is no “one” best keyword research tool for any particular user or business. Different users and businesses will have different needs. For example:
• Do you have a limited budget?
• Do you plan to run 3 keyword searches per day or 100?
• Are you more interested in analyzing your competition use of keywords?
• Are you preparing keyword research reports for multiple clients each day?
Warning about keywords:
You should also be aware that selecting great keywords are only one part of the process of creating an excellent article or webpage that will rank in Google and the search engines. The other part of the equation involves writing something that people actually want to read.
If you have any questions that I did not answer, please leave a comment. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll help you find someone or something that can.
About the author:
Sondra loves to help potential small business owners turn their dreams into reality by providing encouragement and a realistic analysis of the situation. In order to do so, she draws upon 20 years of diverse experience that has included titles such internal auditor, special projects auditor, CPA, business coordinator, finance coordinator, real estate broker, small business owner, farmer and online entrepreneur. By the way, Sondra thinks that hogs, as in the kind that go oink oink, are cute.