Why do we do keyword research and why is it so important?
If you’re like many people, you’ve probably landed on this webpage because you’ve either been told you should be doing specific “keyword research” or you’re desperately seeking an online SEO keyword research tool that you can use to perform what’s seems to be the mundane task you’ve been given. It may sound like a lot to take on, but it’s really not that difficult to understand. If you’re the one that’s unsure about the whole idea of why we do keyword research, help is on the way!
Let’s begin with a simple definition of the term:
Keyword research is a practice used by search engine optimization [SEO] professionals to find and research actual search terms people enter into the search engines when conducting a search. Search engine optimization professionals research keywords in order to achieve better rankings in search engines. ~Wiki
At face value it is just a means to an end. It’s a way to utilize the information gathered by search queries that allow us to evaluate our audience and make choice decisions as to the content we are going to create that will become our website and bring forth the traffic necessary to produce an online income.
If you’re still confused, let me give you a quick example:
These are all keywords! Terms based on subjects people are currently searching for online. Google makes a subtle accommodation for those in need of information, by prompting the most relevant terms found in ads and articles that it’s search bots dig up on a daily basis. This helps the user discover the content that is most appropriate for their search.
Now if you didn’t want to spend money on a keyword research tool, you could spend all day typing keywords and phrases (a.k.a. long-tail keywords) into the search bar in an attempt to find what it is your audience is seeking. However, the quality of the keywords returned by Google may not be that easy to rank for in the SERP (Search Engine Results Pages):
A search engine results page (SERP) is the listing of results returned by a search engine in response to a keyword query. The results normally include a list of items with titles, a reference to the full version, and a short description showing where the keywords have matched content within the page. ~Wiki
This is an image of a typical SERP, using the somewhat fitting “keyword research” search term
As you can see, the information returned can take on a few different forms. Content labeled with the term “Ad” in a yellow box are content ads placed by advertisers for a fee (through Adwords). Each time one of these ads is clicked, it costs the advertiser money.
Relevant content pages, on the other hand, are pages on various websites located all over the internet that have an exact match (or at least some form of) to the keyword being searched. Note that Google took a first page No. 1 spot ranking (which starts below the ads) on the search term “keyword research”. Who’d a thunk it, eh?
So that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Since this topic is so broad in nature, I’m going to be breaking it down for even the lay person to fully understand. I will take you step-by-step through the research and development process so you can benefit from this experience and work it into your daily routine. I’m not going to skimp on content here and I want you to be fully informed on what works and what doesn’t and let you decide which method or tool is best for you.
Look Before You Leap, there are some good Free Keyword Research Tools out there!
Now before you make a leap based on the SERP page I placed above, you should be aware that there are several keyword research tools competitors out there to choose from. Starting with Google’s free Keyword Planner to ad-laden freebie sites, downloadable software you can install on your computer and even flashy, overpriced, paid subscription sites that claim to offer “more” in-depth tools and services. Some are relatively inexpensive, some are pretty downright pricey. There are advantages and disadvantages to all of them.
The reason I say “wait” is because I’ve tried or used many, if not most of the research tools out there, and I’ll do my BEST to make it a point to give you as much information as I can so you can see what they’re all about. I’d rather you are able to make an informed decision that will benefit you in the long run.
And honestly, I’ve used these tools for years, and just recently got “Jaax-ed” (pun intended) while using my latest and highly boasted, paid subscription keyword tool. After that fiasco, I decided to go back in time and fire up a software package I purchased years ago that had a one-time fee. I discovered that the software went through a tremendous upgrade this year and I’ll tell you what, I haven’t been disappointed at all for making this decision to go “old school” again.
Newer Isn’t Always Better
So, I finally said to myself “enough is enough” and as of this writing, I’m no longer dealing with paid subscription keyword research services, or recommending them.
What I’m starting to see is a trend of software titles and services popping up with affiliate programs attached. Everything “affiliate” is going to paid subscriptions. You know why that is? So the affiliates (like me) can make money month after month! Now I know it sounds like I’m shooting myself in the foot here, but I just don’t feel right selling a software package that should be a one-time thing, then charging my customers $49/month, while I’m pocketing $20/mo. and the software doesn’t do a damn thing but sit there under the icon unless we use it properly.
I know, I know…everyone in affiliate marketing is probably yelling “traitor” at the monitor right about now. But I’m sorry, that method of sales just ends up costing you (and me) a fortune in the end. So, I finally said to myself “enough is enough” and as of this writing, I’m no longer dealing with paid subscription keyword services, or recommending them. They’re simply not necessary to perform good keyword research!
If you’d like to give the software tool I use a quick spin before we get real deep into all of this keyword research stuff, if not just to see what you think of it, then head on over and you’ll be taken to what I consider the most powerful keyword tool available. And when something is FREE to try out, it certainly doesn’t break the bank…this is it…Market Samurai. It runs in the cloud on Adobe Air, so it’s compatible with PC and Mac.
If you do take a trip over at Market Samurai, they’ll know I sent ya, so let me know in the comments below how YOU would rate my favorite SEO keyword research tool. If there’s another product or service in particular you’d like me to take a look at, I’d be happy to check it out!
See you in my next post!