Discover the black magic of keyword research and search engine optimization and start driving traffic to your blog! I'll tell you a secret: it's not magic, it's definitely not black magic and it's a lot simpler than you think, if you haven't looked into it before. Keyword research is kind of science, but don't be afraid, the first steps are as easy as using a search engine.
Read on and I'll show you the basics of keyword research and get you started!
What is Keyword Research?
With keyword research, we're trying to find and research actual search terms people enter into the search engines when conducting a search.
When you type something to a search engines, like Google, you are searching by using keywords, for example you might search "cute kitten pictures" - cute, kitten and pictures all being keywords that the search engine tries to find from websites to determine whether or not the web page is relevant to your search. Using a complicated process, the search engine determines which of the web pages it knows, is the most relevant for you and shows it as number one result.
Keyword research is done to find the keyword popularity for relevant keywords with a purpose of identifying the best keywords to target for high search engine rankings.
Keyword / Key Phrase: The word or phrase that a user enters into a search engine, used in searches trying to find a specific target.
Keyword Density: The more times that a given word, words or phrases appears on your page (within reason), the more weight that word is assigned by the search engine when that word matches a keyword search done by a search engine user.
Search engine. A web search engine examines websites on the Internet in order to provide a catalog of information contained on those websites. There are two primary types of search engines: search engines and search directories. Search engines, such as Google, send out robots or spiders to index your website, after which your site is evaluated and cataloged in the search engine. With directories, such as Mahalo, Yahoo and LookSmart, human editors review most websites material and catalog it in the directory.
How Keyword Research Can Help Your Blog or Website?
When you write your own content to a web page or a blog, the words in the text you write are crawled by the search engines and stored into their database. For your site to be found from a search engine it answers the "question" the searcher "asks" with the search phrase she uses. What this means to you, is that if you're trying to answer a certain question, problem or just deliver news, and you think "how would I search to find this kind of information?" - you have found the essence of keyword research! When you combine the (key)words you think that people are searching for and target your text on that, you're forming phrases.
As you start using tools to determine if your assumptions are correct or not, you will try to find the what people are actually using to search - which is through phrases (you don't find very relevant results by just searching "cat" if your looking for "kitten pictures", right?). If you have created a post about cute kitten pictures, you could check how often people search for using these phrases:
- "cute kitten"
- "cute kittens"
- "cute kitten pictures"
- "kitten pictures"
- "kitten pics
- "cat pics"
- "cute cat"
- "cute cat pictures"
- "cat pictures"
Google is the most important search engine, so it makes sense to concentrate on that at the start. To do keyword research on Google, head to the Google Keyword Tool.
The keyword tool looks like this:
You will ad the keywords you want to search for in the text field ("Enter one keyword or phrase per line: "), enter the CAPTCHA (the weird looking letters are used to stop automated scripts to abuse the system) and hit "get keyword ideas".
And you'll get results for the keywords and phrases you entered and additional, related keyword ideas..
Here we see that on average, 5400 searches are made monthly for the phrase "cute kitten pictures".
After finding the approximate search volumes, the other thing you can consider is how many sites the search engine finds with that term, to check "the competition" if you will.
Search Engine Results for Chosen Keywords
One target of keyword research is to find the best keywords for your article, blog post, or the whole website or blog. One strategy in this is to target High Search Volume - Low Competition keywords. Which means that a lot of people search with those keywords and phrases (over 1000 searches a month is "a lot" in this context), but there are not too many websites that pop-up in the search engine with that exact term. The difference between a keyword, phrase and exact match is very important..
For example, at the time of writing this, Google finds:
- 736,000,000 pages for keyword cat
- 24,500,000 pages for keyword kitten
- 12,200,000 pages for keywords kitten pictures
- 6,470,000 pages for keywords cute kitten pictures
..that's a lot of pages, right?
So it would be very hard to get your content into the top results, so people would find it. Just think how often you go beyond the first page of search results - not very often right?
With Search Engine Optimization (SEO), we try to get our pages on the FIRST page. Against millions of pages it is not impossible, but it is very difficult. So we're better of trying a different route at the beginning, and shoot for the exact matches and search for the phrases by placing quotes (e.g. "cute kitten pictures") on the keywords we're using, as most search engines value the exact match very high, so a page with exact match to the search term has higher chance to end up on top.
Let's see how many results we get phrasing the keywords we used in the above example:
- 83,600 for a phrase "kitten pictures"
- 15,100 for a phrase "cute kitten pictures"
..sound a LOT more achievable right? Competing against 15000 pages is actually really easy, compared to competing with millions of pages.
If we look at the search volume we found from Google Keyword Tool for "cute kitten pictures", we see that it was 5400. So on average, 5400 searches are made monthly for "cute kitten pictures" and there's only 15000+ pages that are exact match for that term, which makes this a great search term for your to "target" with your cat blog. Note that this example is actually a bit tricky as it includes "pictures" and we didn't take a look at the image results, but still provides you an example of what keyword research is about.
I hope you found this tutorial useful. If you have any questions, use the comments below and speak your mind.
This is the part 1 of 2 in my Keyword Research and Search Engine Optimization tutorial series. Read the part 2 about Search Engine Optimization now.