How to Perform Keyword Research for SEO

keyword targetKeyword research lays the groundwork for a successful Internet marketing campaign. When you use the right keywords in your SEO campaign, people can find your website, blog posts, articles, and advertisements. This gives you exposure that you would not be able to receive otherwise. Fortunately, you can conduct your keyword research on your own. It is relatively simple once you know what to do.


You don’t need to use fancy tools to start the keyword research process. You can begin by using some common sense. First, determine all of the topics and subtopics you are using in your marketing campaign. If your website has multiple pages, go to each page and write down the main topics or themes. Once you identify the topics, create a list of potential keywords for each topic.

As you do this, you need to come up with short and long tail keywords. Short tail keywords consist of one or two words while long tail words consist of several words. “Internet marketing” is a short tail keyword. “How to learn Internet marketing” is a long tail keyword.

Come up with an even number of short and long tail keyword for each topic.

Get Additional Ideas

Next, go to the Google Keyword Planner and type your keywords into the search box. Look through the results. You will likely find some great ideas that you did not think of during your brainstorming session. Add them to your list.

Then you will be ready to narrow your list down based on demand.

Check Demand for Short Tail Keywords

Demand refers to the number of monthly searches a specific keyword receives. You need to check the demand for all of your short tail keywords. If you want to rank on a national level, only choose keywords that have a search volume of at least 500. If you want to rank on the local level, you can go with keywords that have a search volume of 50.  That’s because you won’t face as much competition so you can get a large percentage of the local searches.

By the time you finish this, your list will likely be much smaller. Then, you will be ready to narrow down your list of short tail keywords. In this case, you will look at intent instead of search volume.

Check the Intent for Long Tail Keywords

Intent refers to the action someone plans to take. When it comes to keyword research, you want to choose long tail keywords that people type into search engines when they are ready to take a desired action.

Go through your long tail keywords and pick ones that indicate a desired intent. For instance, if you are selling golf guides, “learn how to play golf” is a great option. If you are selling video games, a long tail keyword like “buy Xbox video games” is perfect. If someone types that into a search engine, he is ready to make a purchase.

Go through your list and eliminate words that don’t match up with your desired outcome.

Keyword-Research-Tutorial-Long tail

Keyword Research with Google Keyword Planner

Why Short and Long Tail Keywords are Treated Differently

Short tail keywords do an excellent job of driving traffic to a website. However, it is difficult to analyze intent on short phrases. On the other hand, long tail keywords may not generate a lot of traffic, but the traffic they do provide is often motivated to take action. By creating a balance between short and long tail keywords, you can get a lot of traffic and a lot of conversions.

Check Competition

Next, you need to check your competition. Type your first keyword into Google. Put quotes around it so Google will only bring back results that contain the exact phrase. Once you hit enter, you will find out how many sites use that keyword.

If you searched for “Internet marketing,” millions of sites would come up. It would take quite a bit of time and effort to break into the top million with something like that. When millions of sites come up, your keyword is not targeted enough. You need to get rid of it.

On the other hand, if you typed “Internet marketing strategies for beginners,” you would have less than 200,000 competitors. That might sound like a lot, but you can compete with the right SEO strategies.

Next, you need to see which sites are ranking on the front page of Google. If huge corporations have the top ten spots, move on to a different keyword. You have lots of options so don’t get stuck trying to beat out the major companies. Instead, go after keywords they aren’t competing for so you can get lots of traffic.

When you finish this step, you will have a solid list of keywords that you can use for your marketing campaign. Depending on the size of your list, you might not use all of your keywords at once. Instead, just add one short tail keyword and two long tail keywords to each web page, blog post, and article. Then, if a keyword is not performing well, replace it with one of the words you did not use. Check the statistics again. If the replacement doesn’t meet your standards, replace it. Continue with this process until you have the right keywords on each webpage, blog post, and article.

Keyword research is one of the most important components of a successful Internet marketing campaign. Once you conduct your research, you will be ready to drive traffic to your website. Then, you can work on getting conversions to boost your online business.



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