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Internet Marketing Tools – Keyword Research and SEO

via flickr

via flickr

The importance of keyword research

Many internet entrepreneurs have an idea, they have a product, they have a website, but they typically still fail because they do not have the internet marketing savvy. They need a plan on how to get people to visit their website, how to ensure these people are looking for exactly what it is they are currently trying to sell, and to make sure once the visitor arrives at their website they are presented with a website which will provide them with the information, tools, overall navigation structure and calls to action to make sure they buy the product while they are visiting.

I know this sounds like a lot of work, but these are all so important to the success of your product or service online.  Great products, great prices, great service  do not sell online alone; great internet marketing offers you the opportunity to present your potential customers or clients with the great products, services and prices that you have to offer.

Thinking like an SEO

It is interesting how a traditional business person’s thought process varies from a search engine optimization or internet marketing professional. The entrepreneur thinks in a traditional sense of its order of events: unique or original idea, obtain products or services at good price, great presentation, good price points, and finally marketing.

SEO’s like me tend to approach business completely backwards from what is traditional. Give me any product, as long as the demand is good, and some decent profit margins, and our mind is racing ahead with marketing and getting traffic! (very targeted traffic).

Identifying and target high traffic keywords

So how does one get targeted traffic, well once you know what you product or service is and whom your potential customers are, you need to find out what search queries these people are currently performing that is going to present you with the highest opportunity to sell them your product or service. This is accomplished with what we call keyword research. Keyword research as defined by Wikipedia is “a practice used by search engine optimization professionals to find and research actual search terms people enter into the search engines when conducting a search.”

Targeting the right keywords is probably the single most important factor in the future success of your business. There are a multitude of keyword research tools available these days, with one of them being tied to Google Adwords which is called the Google Keyword Tools or SK Tool. I will focus on this tool for the time being and will list a bunch of others.

The Google keywords tool

My experience with this tool has been all over the map. At times it has proven to be balls on accurate and other  times it seems to have seriously flawed data both in the competitive nature of search terms and the traffic currently being seen within Google.

Once you log in to the tool you can fire when ready, everyone knows for the most part what their select few targeted keywords might be, so this is where you should start. Enter you top 5-10 keywords that you think would be good (do not forget to use both singular and plural). Google will suggest related terms. Google helps you gather your keyword list, which is not surprising as it is in Google’s best interest for websites to be prepared to optimize their websites for the appropriate keywords as this will make their job much easier.

Once Google has displayed a nice fat list of potential target keywords, be sure to select the drop box that says ‘broad by default’ and select ‘exact match’.  Otherwise you are seeing merged results, which skew the search volumes heavily towards your potential trophy keyword; exact match supposedly will display exactly how many search queries for each keyword combination Google has actually received over the past month. Another thing I like about this tool is the ability to change the language to show results in particular countries searches.

So now that you’re looking at the list of words with exact match, you will see some columns that display how competitive each keyword is. For the most part this is completely useless as in most of the verticals we have worked in, all of the words anyone would want to rank for are displayed as very competitive,  therefore having the little green bar nailed all the way to the right. The only way to use this info is when you see words which are not currently shown as competitive and have a reasonable amount of search traffic, you’ve found a fantastic potential target.  (and if for some reason you do not like that keyword send me an email and tell me about it, as I will build a website and quickly figure out how to make money from that keyword J).

Once you feel comfortable with the results, you can continue down the road of building a list by adding the words like cheap, discount, sale, new, used, in conjunction with your selected keywords . And bust out your thesaurus; if you do not know what this is, Microsoft Word has one 🙂

You may also be well served depending on the products  or services you offer to add state names and city names both as a prefix and postfix to your primary keywords. The sky’s the limit, you can add colors, sizes, calls to action like fast, limited, crazy etc. You really need to take your time to develop a large and long list of keywords. If your just getting onto the game, the likelihood of getting to page one any time soon for your trophy terms is quite low, so realize that this lower hanging fruit using these popular two and three word search query phrases are going to be your life blood for the next 12-18 months.

Whats Next?

Rinse and Repeat… There is really no secret to this, simply repeat this process for your other main phrases and by targeting these low hanging fruit or longtail keywords if you want to get technical. You will see a steady increase in organic traffic, from there move onto web analytics to see how you can better convert this traffic into sales. As a general rule, longtail leads tend to convert a lot better than leads from competitive phrases.

After your keyword research we can get into laying the on site groundwork for a successful website, like getting a keyword rich domain name, aged preferably, possibly online for its entire life, and having a few very aged links, then cooking up a really tight website, with all the required on site meta info, fully optimized content, solid internal link structure and multiple forms of updating content. We will circle back to many of these additional onsite SEO tips at a later date.

Additional Resources for good keyword research tools are as follows (I have used all of the below to some level):

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