How to Do Keyword Research
If you're working on search engine optimization whether it's to help rank your company website in the search engines or you want your own articles to have high SERPs, it's important to learn how to do proper keyword research.
Before writing around a niche topic you should ensure these three things:
- Your niche is something you can realistically compete in
- Your niche can gain the kind of traffic you're looking for
- Your keywords are things people actually search for
What Is a Niche?
When writing online, you will quickly realize that you should write in what is called a "niche." Niches are essentially honed-down specialized topics. By focusing a blog or website around a specialized niche, you can more easily dominate Google SERPs.
How do you find a niche? Write down a list of things that interest you. Feel free to be really broad since this is just brainstorming for some ideas.
Here are some things I came up with:
These, by far, aren't niche topics, but it's something to get us started in finding a niche. A niche is more specific than any of the interests I came up with, but we'll use my list to come up with a great niche!
Using the Google AdWords Keyword Tool
You may have heard of the Google AdWords Keyword Tool and wondered how exactly it can be used to find keywords for a niche site or for a hub. It's actually fairly simple -- I'll show you how to use it here.
On my list of ideas, I wrote that I liked dogs, so we'll start with that. Go to adwords.google.com and login (or create an account if you don't already have one, then login.) To get to the keyword tool, click "Reporting & Tools" and then click "Keyword Tool."
Under word or phrase, type "dogs" and click "search."
On the left deselect "broad" and, instead, select "[exact]". This is because you want to see the information for when people search for just "dogs" and not other things with the words dogs in it like "I like dogs" or "dogs bite." You will notice in the spreadsheet, I have keyword written with the brackets around it. I have like this in the spreadsheet to serve as a simple reminder to make sure I use [exact] in the Adwords Keyword Tool.
Note that the tool doesn't just give information about the keyword [dogs] but other similar keywords. This is extremely helpful in finding more honed-down niche keywords.
How to Find Long-tail Keywords
Wow! If I ranked #1 in Google for the keyword "dogs" I would make quite a bit of money each month from just that one keyword!
That would be amazing, but it's nearly impossible. I know this without even researching the keyword any further, but if you're new to keyword research, it's important to learn how to find out whether a keyword is doable.
As you can see, [dogs] will be too difficult to rank for. Go back to the AdWords Keyword Tool and look at other keywords. Even words like [dog clothes] may be too difficult to rank for, but go ahead and hone into [dog clothes] by replacing [dogs] in the keyword tool search area with [dog clothes.] The keyword tool will give you words related to [dog clothes] that perhaps you can rank for. It's trial and error. If you spend time with the keyword tool, you'll learn the types of keywords that'll work and the ones that won't.
Keywords to Avoid
The types of keyword that you'll generally want to avoid are one word keywords like "France", "Coffee," and "Red." These types of keywords are not long-tail and sites that rank are usually something like Wikipedia which is nearly impossible to rank against.
That said, keywords that are things that people seldom (or never) search for are kind of pointless. I usually avoid keywords with less than 100 searches per month.