When starting a new website one of the first things you need to do is look at the Google Keyword Tool – before writing any of the content, buying the domain name or even picking a name for the site. You may be tempted to get stuck straight into the meat and gristle of your site, but until you know the best words and phrases to target you risk creating material that needs to be redone very shortly.
Keyword research is not a one-off task. Yes, it needs to be done at the start of any project, but your keyword data should constantly be looked at and updated. People change the way they search for things, Google alters the way it ranks websites and competitors change their tactics. All of these things can effect you and your site’s rankings.
The marketer’s dream is to find keywords with high search volume but low competition. The reason for this is simple: you will have many people looking for what’s on your website with few other pages for them to get their information. Google Keyword Tool can help you find this and, perhaps best of all, is completely free. Many website owners will do this sort of work themselves, as there’s no need to get any sort of specialist in to do this research for you.
The tool itself is simple to use. Just type in a few words or phrases that you think are applicable to your site and the Google will do the rest for your terms and a whole host of related words and phrases. Not only will it tell you the monthly search figures on a global and local basis, it will also display a bar showing how competitive the terms are. In Google’s world, the more shaded a box is, the more competitive it is. This is referring to AdWords more people are advertising for this term and hence the cost will be higher.
If you want to see the competition for natural search, click on the phrase you’re interested in. Clicking on the phrase takes you straight to a SERP to show you what your general competition will be, re-search the phrase with quotation marks and you’ll have your direct competition. It’s worth remembering that all Google’s data is based on its own search engine and while that may be the most popular way of finding sites, it’s not the only way.
One of the most important things to remember is that even if you find a dream keyword high in searches and low in competing sites if you have no expertise or no products that match, it may not be possible for you to capitalize on this opportunity. If you can fit this opportunity into your marketing strategy, then go for it, but make sure your keywords match what your business offers. Getting a high number of visitors to your site who are only going to be disappointed when they arrive will do nothing to help your business; getting a small number of visitors to your pages who actually want to be there whether for information gathering or to buy a product is much more likely to lead to an increase in business for you.
As well as Google Keyword Tool there are other research programs that will offer different options as they go about things in a different way. Whether it’s worth investing in these is completely up to you and your budget: Google’s offering is free and covers all the basics brilliantly, but if you’re looking for an edge over your competition, or even looking for research on Bing or Yahoo, using the same tools as them and nothing else is unlikely to put you ahead.