Keyword Research is Fundamental
Everything we do in Internet marketing is related, directly or indirectly, to keywords and key phrases. It would be impossible to overstress its significance.
Until you conduct solid keyword research in your niche, much of your effort will be wasted. That is a harsh reality that I learned the hard way.
Eventually you are going to want to invest in keyword research software. I believe that the sooner you do so, the sooner you will make meaningful headway in this competitive environment. I have two pieces of software that I use more often than all other sofware that I own, combined. (And I own a lot of software; it’s a weakness of mine–sort of the equivalent of a sports car for me.) One is a wonderful search engine optimization package; the other is a keyword research aid. Coincidentally, they were both developed by the same brilliant people.
If good keyword software is beyond your budget at this time, however, there are some free, online tools that are better than nothing. Furthermore, given enough time, you can actually conduct most of the research without the software.
What is a Keyword?
Let’s start with the terminology of keyword research. A keyword is simply a search term—that is, it is a query that a web user types into the search box at Google, Yahoo, MSN-Live (Bing) or whatever search engine the user selects.
In the overwhelming majority of cases, users type multiple words into their queries. Thus they are really using a phrase that is technically a key phrase. Usually, though, those of us in Internet marketing simply use the term, “keyword” to apply to a single or multiple word query. If the phrase contains more than three or four words, that phrase is known as a long-tailed keyword.
Why Should I Care About Keyword Research?
Google, which is by far the most used search engine, reports that in any given month more than have of the queries they receive are unique. That means that those exact search phrases are only used one time during that month. Across the Internet, then, there are hundreds of millions of unique searches.
Whatever niche you happen to be focusing upon, you can never fully anticipate what combinations of words will be used to search for information, products or services that you offer. Unfortunately, your best chance of attracting visitors to your web site is to anticipate what your prospective visitors will type into the search engines. After all, search engines deliver more traffic than all other sources of traffic combined. Thus, all webmasters are concerned about a concept called search engine optimization (or SEO).
That’s where keyword research comes into play. We want to use phrases in our web pages, our syndicated articles (or videos, etc.), our advertising that match want a prospective customer is searching. We particularly want to attract the visitors who are ready to convert (buy or sign on the dotted line).
Okay, How Can I Do Keyword Research?
When you do you initial research, remember that everyone is trying to compete for those extremely high volume phrases. It generally better to focus initially upon the “long tail keywords.”
Long term keywords are those multi-word phrases that get fewer searches. However if you work on enough of those, you can eventually obtain the same amount of traffic that everyone else is fighting for.
Often those long tail keywords have a better liklihood of converting–that is, bringing visitors more likely to buy. Look for the long tail keywords that signal a commercial intent.