Keyword Research Tools and Techniques – Part 2
In Part 1 of this introductory tutorial series, we used an example business type to discover how to create an overall theme for the example website, “John’s Auto Repair”. In this article, we’ll learn to use some free and simple tools to help confirm our keywords are good to use and maybe even find others we didn’t think of.
By far, my favorite tool to use is Google Keywords. This tool is actually to help users figure out what keywords would work best for Pay Per Click campaigns. But I like to use it to spot popularity of words, monthly search volume using them, etc. So to use it to help John’s auto shop website, let’s use this tool to see just how much these words are used in a search. I typed in “auto repair” on the first line then “Penfield NY” on the next line.
The results will filter a long list of actual search result in the last month using those terms. Notice “auto repair” is quite popular! But using just this key phrase would mean John is trying to compete with the entire world of auto repair – not a wise choice.
Looking down this list, other related search terms are also displayed. The key here is NOT to pick the most popular keywords and phrases, instead, try to find a way to make use of several popular and not-so-popular terms together. The more specific your keywords are to your website, the more likely you will get great search results!
So for John’s website, I want to be sure to include “auto repair” in his title because I certainly know people are using those words when searching, but just not by itself. I want to combine “auto repair” with “Penfield” and “NY” or “New York”. If you remember from the last article, without doing any research, I already mentioned what I would use in John’s home page title: “Auto Repair Penfield NY | John’s Auto Repair”.
What About Titles for the Other Pages of the Website?
John will have services he’d like his customers to know about, therefore he will need more pages to describe them – all separately! The home page established the website’s main theme (or book title and location inside the book store) but the sub pages need their own titles (or chapters of a book). If his first service page is about brakes, then keywords describing brake servicing, auto repair, and Penfield should all be in the title too. For example: “Brake Service Penfield | John’s Auto Repair”. Notice the use of the “pipe” character between the key phrases. This divided the key terms and avoids the use of what are known as “stop words” like: “in, the, at, and” etc. Stop words is the name given to words which are filtered out prior to, or after, processing of natural language text. So help out by not using them in your page titles.
What Keywords are Your Competitors Using?
Another interesting and free tool is called a Keyword Cloud. This tool is great for looking to see word density on a page. Just find your competitor highest in the free search results for the search terms you want to be found for, copy the URL (the entire website address in the address bar) and paste into the search bar. What’s shown next is a visual representation of how dense the words are on the page as well as their placement. Now try other sites in the search results. You may notice the sites with the higher keyword density sometimes appear higher in the search results.
Now before you get all excited here, stuffing your content with search keywords may not necessarily help you. In fact, it could hurt you if you over do it. The last thing you want to do is make it obvious you’re using those words to enhance your search. The copy reads bad to people and search engines alike. What you do want to do with this tool is find a correct range of keyword density and try to keep your as close as possible and a little higher than the competitors.
I hope you found this series helpful. Again, keyword usage is only a small part of the world of search optimization, but a very important part none-the-less. Feel free to leave me your thoughts an discoveries of your own research.
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Kick-ass post, great looking weblog, added it to my favs.
General keywords are really hard to rank for lately, I’ve found using longtail keywords are easier to rank for.
You couldn’t be more correct. Long tail phrases are easier and best used within the content and linking. My tutorial here on keywords reflects the use of keywords only in the meta data to help search engines identify single page/post content. The keyword meta tag isn’t very useful any more for obtaining search ranking, but it does help the title and description tags coincide with each other. Just adding a brick to the SEO wall.
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