Keyword research is the most important aspect of search engine optimization or SEO but many SEO people have a misconception that keyword research is a one time process for a website. The process they follow is do keyword research for your website to get good keywords for your site's home page and you are done with it but that is absolutely not true. I decided to do keyword research for 100 odd articles for go4expert and this is what I see when implemented.
You may argue that Go4Expert is a well established website with thousands of links pointing to the domain home page as well as internal pages and so it can get lot of boost with minor changes with keyword research and if you have such doubts about keyword research see below.
It is a brand new website but I cannot share the website details here because I am not complete owner of this website. This domain is registered in November 2011 and all we have done is added 200+ keyword researched articles to it. You can see how 3 month old website created in WordPress is growing in traffic.
1. Getting started With Keyword Research
All my blogs and forums combined have thousands of articles and so I need to have a strategy in selecting the right articles for keyword research and SEO. The way I do it is visit my Google Analytics Account to see what all queries drive traffic to my websites and what is the average position for those keywords.
From that report I select keywords where I am anywhere between number 4 position to number 10 position (or even 20 for less traffic sites) and come up with list of keywords that I can work upon and better my Google Ranking to drive more traffic to my site.
2. Analyze Keyword Competitions
Once you have a keyword that is driving traffic to your site the next thing to look into it is if you can outrank some of those sites that rank above you. I use Market Samurai's (Aff Link) SEO Competition Tool to see what all sites are above my site and see if I can out rank them. Market Samurai is a paid tool but it does give you a free trial for few days as well. As you can see in the screenshot below I've the full version of Market Samurai because it is very handy SEO tool for analysis.
Let me first explain the short codes you see in the image above. Some are pretty self explanatory.
- DA - Domain Age
- PR - PageRank
- IC - Index Count
- RDD - Referring Domains - Domains i.e. number of unique domains linking to the ranked domain.
- RDP - Referring Domains - Page i.e. number of unique domains linking to the ranked page
- BLP - Page Backlinks
- BLD - Domain Backlinks
- BLEG - Backlinks from .edu/.gov domains
- DMZ - Listed in DMOZ Directory
- YAH - Listed in Yahoo Directory
- Title - Keyword Used in the Title tag?
- URL - Keyword is present in the URL?
- Desc - Keyword is present in Meta Description or not?
- Head - Keyword is present in Hx Header Tag?
- CA - Bing Cache Age
Red color means high competition, yellow means moderate competition and green means low competition. You should focus on keywords where you see lot more green in the SEO competition matrix.
Coming back to Go4Expert analysis - We see that Go4Expert is ranking in 5th position for the keyword "Ethical Hacking" but then the sites that rank better than Go4Expert are very established sites like Wikipedia and techtarget. So it does not make much sense trying to outrank them, instead I will go and work on another keyword from the list of keywords we have generated from Google Analytics.
The process continues for phrases and list those keywords where I see opportunity to rank higher fairly easily.
This article is about Keyword research but I would like to add a line about one of my favorite feature of Market Samurai's SEO Competition Analysis that is Anchor Text Analysis. It analyzes any website or page and shows what all sites link to that web page or web site and what is Anchor text for each of them.
3. The Keyword Research
Till now we have been talking about having some keywords and build on that list to make your site more popular but for new website there is no point in starting with a keyword and then improving the ranking because normally if you are new to the site you don't always end up with the keywords first and so the process should start with finding the keywords first and then building on that keywords to have something that is more easy to rank and drive traffic yet has very low competition.
Let us say you are a movie fan and plan to have a movie reviews site. Movie review is very competitive and so let us come to a micro niche site in the movie review category.
- We use Movie Review as the keyword to start with and then we generate keywords.
- Once we have the list of keywords for the Movie review we select phrase length to be minimum of 3 keywords.
- We choose only keywords that has movie and review in the keyword because it eliminates keywords like watch movie online etc. which are not related to what we are looking for.
Now we do the keyword analysis of the generated keywords.
There are lots of parameters in Market Samurai but as this is more about keyword research we will focus on four important aspect of the above report that is
- SEOT - SEO Traffic which is the traffic the first ranked website can get daily.
- PBR - Phrase to broad ratio, which means percentage of people searching for that exact keyword to the broadly matched search for that keyword.
- SEOC - SEO competition i.e. competition for the phrase.
- Trends - Monthly traffic trend.
Looking at the above matrix we can see that terms like inception movie review, black swan movie review and other named movie review terms have trend going down and this is because those keywords were having good trends when the movie was released. Getting those terms out we come to the conclusion that Hindi Movie review or Tamil or Telugu movie reviews is very less competitive and yet has better traffic levels and so we can target those terms in our site or even make those as categories for review and review some movies into those categories to generate instant traffic to your site without much of an off page SEO efforts and still start generating traffic to your site in a niche which is very competitive.
4. Semantic Keyword Research
We have generated keywords related to movies but then there can be more terms which are semantically related to movies but does not have movie as a keyword - terms like films, cinemas ... You can use those phrases like film reviews, cinema reviews and generate more keywords for your website using the above process and generate instant traffic for your site.
FAQ's About Keyword Research
How many keywords should I put into my <title> <a> <h1> ... <h7> tags?
The answer is one to two phrases per page. So if you have a page on your website, you can target one or two phrase for that page and add the same in title, Hx and in Anchor text for that page.
Using automated SEO software cause a website to be penalized?
No. It is a common myth among newbie SEO people that is floating around a lot in forums. If it were true you could get your competitor penalized or banned by using automated SEO softwares. Naturally this does not happen (nor should it).
Some webmasters will try to say that Google says in their guidelines that you shouldn't use automated softwares. The reason Google says is because most of such automated SEO tools scrape Google's search engine results pages to find your site's ranking and other information. This is violation of Google's usage terms. Google offers only certain quantum of data for querying through API and this is the only reason for Google saying to avoid such automated SEO tools.
Apart from that if you constantly use SEO software to query Google's servers they may ban your IP address or you may need to enter Captcha to make searches in Google. However, this has no effect on your web pages' ranking. Market Samurai does not query Google using your IP and it uses their own server's IP to scrape Google result and so you should not have any issues on that front either.
Share your views and feedback in comments below.