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Keyword Research Tools and Techniques – Part 1

In the last article, I talked about introductory SEO titled “Search Engine Optimization and Your Business 101” where i focused on an understanding of search engine use and how content impacts your website search results. In this article, I want take this to the next level and focus on how to run a simple “do-it-yourself” approach to researching your website’s keywords and content.

To do this, we’ll use an example business and come up with keywords to make a list of and consider using. Note is said “consider” using. Not every word you think of can or should be used. Don’t worry, we’ll get there and explain that more! Something important to note here: when people search for something, they search using words describing the topic and location.

Keyword Discovery

Let’s call the example business “John’s Auto Repair” and say his repair shop is in Penfield, NY. If I was hired to perform SEO on John’s website, the very first step is to identify his website theme and specific content details. Here’s what I’d list to figure out keywords to use:

  • Theme: Auto Repair
  • Location: Penfield, NY
  • Services: Alignments, Brakes, Tune-ups, Diagnostics, Import and Domestic service

Something important to note here: when people search for something, they search using words describing the topic and location.

If you remember from the last article, I said a website is like a book when it comes to organizing content. The title of this website IS NOT to be “John’s Auto Repair”! If people knew who John was, and that he had an auto repair shop, they wouldn’t have to search for him now would they? No, John wants a website for advertising his shop in the free (organic) search results to new customers or maybe those looking for specific services he does. So what should the title be? Well to know this is to know how the title is used in a search.

Selecting a Page Title

The text that appears in the blue link within the search results is actually the website or web page title!


Ttile Bar at the top of the Browser window
The link shown was clicked already but it shows the actual website page title for this auto repair shop in Rochester NY

Underneath that is the page description text put in place by either the search engine or the website developer.  An SEO specialist or any knowledgeable web developer will create a page title and description for every page within the website’s code.

You will also see this in the top of the browser window:

Web page title is always shown at the top. This example uses Internet Explorer's browser.
Web page title is always shown at the top. This example uses Internet Expoler's browser.

The title of the website generalizes the entire website and should be something different on every page of the website. The reason being is to identify the content on each page of the site. The added benefit is having more potential pages showing up in the free search results.

You can see we just avoided a very BIG common mistake already. Most newbies would have name the website home page after the name of John’s business. Instead we learned that people who don’t know John will search for repair shops in his area. His business name does contain two important search keywords “auto repair” but without a location added to his page title, he would be competing globally for the search term “auto repair!

In this case, I would name the title of John’s website page: “Auto Repair Penfield NY | John’s Auto Repair”.  Notice I used the main keywords first then the business name last. In fact, the business name doesn’t really need to be there but it does add more keywords in this case. Using keywords too many times can backfire too and get you penalized or even banned from the search engine altogether for spamming! In the case of the title, the keywords shouldn’t be used more than three times each nor the search engines may consider you as a spammer!

In Part 2 of this topic, we’ll look at free online tools to see what keywords people actually use when they search and whether or not they could benefit you!

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