By: Glenn Judah
Before doing any search engine optimization, we must understand what our customers are searching for online. What questions are they trying to answer? What terms and words are they using? What information are they looking for?
To answer these questions, we must perform keyword research.
Keyword research is the science of understanding search engine user behavior. By determining which keywords are important and which ones lack value, we can create and edit content that will rank at the top of search engines. Ranking in the top position can lead to more customers.
Before using any of the online tools to perform keyword research, you need to evaluate your website’s content. Take time to read it over and ask:
- What services do I offer and how are they searched?
- What are my most popular and least popular webpages?
- What keywords describe my website?
Answer these questions and put your primary keywords in a list. This list can start out small and grow as you ask other people to review your website.
Once you have your list, we can use it to perform keyword research. There are many tools that rank search engine keywords, but I recommend using Google Adwords.
As you can see above, I’ve started my research with a list of SEO keywords. This tool created by Google, allows you to find the monthly and annual search volume for any keyword. The keyword term “keyword research” has 12,100 monthly searches, but “popular search engine keywords” has only 10 monthly searches. You should look for keywords that have high search volumes, but are also specific to your business.
Google Adwords also recommends popular keywords you might have missed. These suggestions can be helpful for creating new content and refreshing your site. You can use Google Adwords to pull national search volume, or you can set a specific location such as cities, counties or states to discover local search volume. This feature can be helpful in determining if customers in California and Florida use different search terms.
Keyword research is not performed only one time. You should be regularly checking your search rankings and tracking consumer behaviors. This way, you will always stay on top of search engine results.