Keyword research can be a long  and daunting process sometimes, but it is an integral part of of your search marketing efforts. It is the first step to creating your strategy and crucial to it’s success. 

There are many unique ways people conduct their keyword research process, so there is no “one way” to do it. There are many ways you can improve your keyword research process by getting tips from others. Some people conduct very in-depth keyword research, whereas others may have a less intensive research process. Either way you go about conducting your keyword research, it is always necessary to evaluate your process and identify opportunities and improvements you can make.

First, we look over the home page and the services page for any keywords that may stick out to us. Some things we look at:

  • Home page and services pages’ title tags
  • H1, H2, and H3 tags
  • Keywords that stick out in the content of each page

Secondly, we turn these phrases / sentence fragments into a useable keyword list and make variations on the keyword phrases.

  • Sometimes when the sentence says something like we perform “x, y & z services” we ‘break apart’ the x, y & z into 3 separate keyword phrases such as: x services, y services, z services.
  • Depending on how many keywords we are working with, we add a location-based variation of the keyword before and after the most important keyword phrases (which might double or triple the keyword count) such as: Milwaukee x services, x services Milwaukee, x services in Milwaukee.

Third, we add the keywords to our SEO software and wait for the data to come in.

Forth, we check and see what the website is ranking for / not ranking for and pick keywords with good potential (that are on 2nd or 3rd page and are close to our target keyword concepts.

A couple questions we ask ourselves….Does our keyword list have all the necessary location-based keyword variations? Are the potential keywords diverse enough?

Fifth, we choose 10-20 keywords that we “watch” and check their potential over time.

Sixth, we choose a few keywords to optimize, depending on our clients’ budget.

Some other good keyword research tactics:

  • Export Google Analytics data for each client as far back as possible for the top 10-25 non-branded keywords and add to keyword research tool.
  • Compare Google Analytics data  to Google Webmaster Tools keywords for more ideas and see what kind of exposure the client is getting for each keyword.
  • Google Adwords Keyword Tool and Wordtracker are another source of keywords if you have trouble coming up with relevant keywords.
  • Compare the “potential traffic” of these keywords with their current rank… IGNORE this if there is almost NO TRAFFIC showing for all/most keywords because in this case, Google often doesn’t have data on location based keywords, but they are still good potential keyword phrases.

So that’s it. That’s our typical keyword research template, which can be more or less in depth depending on the type of client we are working with.

Now put those keywords to good use!

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comment section below.