Good keyword research is crucial to making your business or website visible on the web. Your use of keywords is how the search engines find you, and the search engines are how most of your traffic will find you. Without effect keyword analysis you could end up in some uninhabited backwater of the web, never to be found except by your friends.
When you do keyword research, you're looking for keywords related to your business that have the following qualities:
Enough traffic to drive your income
Sparse competition, so that you have a chance of showing up on page 1 of the search results
If you've got a selling site, you want visitors are looking to buy, rather than just for general information
With those goals in mind, you start collecting your keywords. Start with a broad general category, such as "internet marketing," "dog training," or "weight loss." Then think about what is unique about your site offers. (You can work this in the other direction, too. Find what people are looking for and figure out a way to offer it.)
Maybe you want to hone in on how to blog for money, how to house train puppies, or how to build a sensible exercise program. If your research suggests that those are still too large, keep narrowing your focus. Collect a lot of keywords.
There are some free online sources for keyword ideas:
Google AdWords Keyword Tool
Google Search-based Keyword Tool
Google Wonder Wheel (on the Google's search results page)
Collect a good list of a hundred or more likely keywords. You'll eliminate most of them, but you want a big selection because it's not obvious ahead of time which are going to work. Don't rule out different ways of saying the same thing. "Dog training program" can get radically different results from "dog training programs," and even misspellings can get a lot of traffic. You never know what's going to work until you see the numbers.
Now create a spread sheet using Microsoft Excel or Open Office's Calc. Put the following column headings at the top:
Keyword -- your list of keywords
Searches -- daily or monthly exact (with quotes) searches. It doesn't matter which, but they should all be the same
Competition -- number of websites with exact match
OCI -- from Microsoft's Detecting Online Commercial Intention site
As you compile this spreadsheet, more keywords will come to you, and you can collect the data and add them to the list as well.
At the end, you have a table of possible keywords. You will select three to ten of the easiest to actively promote on your website. To make your selection, sort the keywords by OCI and then by number of searches and then by competition. If you're a beginner, you're looking for maybe 1,000 search per month and maybe under 50,000 competing websites and the higher the OCI, the better. Obviously, if you find something with 3,000 searches and under 1,000 competing websites and an OCI of 90%, you'll go for it immediately. Since that's not likely to happen, look for the best combinations you can find.
It's a labor-intensive process that you omit at your peril. If you're promoting no keywords or the wrong keywords, you can waste far more time marketing in the wrong places than you spend preparing your spreadsheet and comparing keywords.
With the right keywords, though, you can find a platform to build your business and grow.
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