Do It Yourself SEO – Keyword Research

1. Building a Keyword List

Expand each section to learn how you can build an effective keyword list for your SEO project. Some tools mentioned are only available in our DIY SEO package.

1.1. Assemble a smart list of relevant search words (aka keywords) that your target audience is using to locate your products and services.
Your target keyword list is the foundation of the keyword phrases that you will optimize your site for. Single keywords are highly competitive – in fact so competitive that it is unrealistic to expect that your Web pages can score at the top of the search results for a single keyword search. But, that’s okay because you don’t need to, nor do you especially want to.
The search terms that convert best to sales are typically very specific key phrases comprised of two to five words (aka long-tail keywords). For example, if you are male and plan to buy a bike jacket it’s not very helpful to search for jackets on Google. You’d narrow down your search to men’s bike jackets to find exactly what you want.

Tip: There are popular keywords with the most searches that have the potential to send a lot of traffic to your sites. However, you’d be better served to use long-tail, more specific keyword terms that will result in the most sales, leads or phone calls. In other words, you are supposed to pinpoint the money keywords that trigger sales and conversions. Your keyword phrase should be powerful enough to draw good visitor traffic, yet specific enough to outplay your competitors and get you to the top on the Search Engines.

1.2. Use the Keyword Suggestion Tool to expand your keyword list with related phrases.
When choosing your keywords it’s very important that you do your research. So, before you optimize your site use our Keyword Tool to get keyword suggestions you haven’t thought of yet. This tool will help you understand the different keywords for your industry so that you don’t accidentally target the wrong keywords.

For example, if you sell all types of dresses online, you would use this tool and realize that you may want to add the following phrases to your list to be sure to catch all of the potential traffic:
black dress, evening dresses, plus size dresses, cocktail dresses, formal dresses, party dresses, maxi dress, summer dresses, designer dresses, white dresses, mother of the bride dresses, sun dress, strapless dresses, vintage dresses, long dresses, dresses for sale, dresses online.

1.3. Spy on your competition to get more suggestions on related keywords.
Competitive Analysis is a strategy that will allow you to be truly successful. Knowing what keywords your competition is targeting and ranking for is another smart way to find keywords that lead to the type of traffic you want.

To easily see what keywords your competition is ranking for just go to our Keyword Tool and enter the URL of any competing site. You’ll then see their keywords and how they rank in the different search engines. This can show you keywords that you haven’t thought of yet.

1.4. Use Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) to identify how you can improve your content.
The ‘Keywords from Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools)’ report consists of a list of keywords your site pages were shown for with the number of impressions, clicks, CTR and the average position these keywords have.

Use this report to improve your existing content. First, sort the keywords by clicks. When you sort by clicks, you can focus on the most relevant target searchers who perform the search looking for something your site has to offer. Analyze if the queries you expect to be driving traffic to your site are at the top of the list.

Now you can optimize relevant pages for the Search Analytics that have the highest CTR.

1.5. Localize your keywords to target a local audience.
If you offer local services or run a brick-and-mortar business, be sure to localize your keywords: add regional names (state, city or district) to the previously selected keywords.
For example, if you offer real estate brokering services in Atlanta, you may want to add the name of your city to each of your targeted keywords:

Atlanta real estate agent
Atlanta real estate broker
Atlanta real estate for sale
Atlanta commercial real estate

1.6. Refine the list of keywords based on their effectiveness.
As soon as your initial keyword list is ready, analyze the detailed info (Global Searches, Bid Competition and Search Trends) on each one.
Use our Keyword Tool to analyze the effectiveness of each keyword so that you can narrow down your list. The following metrics should be taken into account:

  • Global Searches: This metrics shows how many times per month people request the keyword. More is better.
  • Bid Competition: Shows how many advertisers are bidding for the given keyword. Less is better. Your ideal target may be a keyword with a lot of searches and low competition.
  • Search Trends: This metrics shows spikes in popularity of a given keyword over the past 12 months. This helps you pick the right words and avoid seasonal keywords, which will show a drop in popularity in the next few months.
1.7. Select the most valuable pages of your site that you will optimize for the targeted keywords.
You have already picked keywords to optimize your pages for. Now you should decide which pages on your site you should optimize and for which keywords, in order to get high search engine rankings.

Your landing pages should definitely NOT be the Terms of Use or Privacy Policy pages, but the pages that are meant to showcase your merchandise, attract targeted visitors and serve as landing pages.

Tip: Be sure to optimize your home page and all pages that are already popular on Google. Use the Top Pages report of the Google Search Analytics tool to find them.

It is recommended that you optimize each page for NO more than 5 keywords or keyword phrases (2-3 major keywords and several complementary ones). Each specific page should be optimized for its own individual set of keywords.

There are numerous places on each Web page where you might place your keywords – and some page locations are much more effective than others. We’ll show you in the next stages how keyword placement can make a big difference in terms of ranking well within the search results.