The first stage that SEO practitioners embark on is keyword research. It’s the foundation of one’s SEO campaign. Still, it’s not common knowledge. For the uninitiated, here is what you can do to learn the basics of keyword strategy:
Check your competition when you begin.
Checking your competition’s keyword list doesn’t mean that you should copy it. It’ll just give you an idea of what their strategy is and what search terms they think their customers are entering.
When starting out this way, you need to identify who your competitors are. You can start by using your targeted keywords and typing them onto search engines. After finding your competitor sites, you can look at the keywords they target, as well as their keyword placement strategies. Look at the webpage titles, headers, and META tags (although META tags are almost obsolete for SEO purposes). These elements will tell you the keywords that your competitor is targeting.
Read articles about keywords and search terms.
While you don’t need to aspire to be a keyword research master, you need to know the basic terms used in the SEO industry.
Basically, when one says “keyword research”, they include the following criteria: relevance, popularity, and effectiveness.
Keyword relevance is how much a keyword or a keyphrase is related to your site. For example, if you have a website about animal shelters, the keyphrases “animal shelter” and “animal adoption” are more relevant than “animal care”.
Keyword popularity, on the other hand, measures how much possible traffic you can get based on how many times a certain keyword is searched for in a day or a month.
Getting the proper balance of keyword relevance and keyword popularity affects the keyword’s effectiveness. In tools such as WordTracker, this is measured by a number called the KEI (Keyword Effectiveness Index). A very popular keyword can have very little effectiveness if it presents you with too many competitors.
Use keyword research tools.
There are several keyword research tools that you can use to acquaint yourself with the way that SEO keyword strategies work. Some of these tools are paid, while some are free. Keep in mind that there’s no perfect keyword research tool – you just have to find the best for your purposes.
Some free tools:
Some paid tools: (most of these have free trials or free limited accounts)
Now that you’re aware of the keyword research basics, and you even have a list of tools under your belt, you’re ready to start exploring the world of keyword research.