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How to Keyword Research

Updated on October 14, 2010

How to Keyword Research

The Internet is a very powerful piece of technology. Information can be disseminated over it, people can connect regardless of distance, even fortunes can be made leveraging the Internet.

If you want to have any kind of online presence, then you need to learn keyword research. Keywords are important because they are what web surfers use to find what they are interested in.

Properly researching and implementing keywords can help you connect with people digitally. This isn't to say that keywords alone will guarantee success on the Internet. You still need marketing to spread the word. Specifically, keywords help people using search engines like Google and Yahoo to help them find websites that are relevant.

And this doesn't just apply to making money online. Using the right keywords for Youtube, Myspace, or other websites powered by search engines can help to expand your potential online audience.

First, create a list of any and every word that could potentially be a keyword.
First, create a list of any and every word that could potentially be a keyword.

Brainstorm a List of Potential Keywords (Step 1)

Keyword research begins by creating a list of all the words related to your web page (article, blog post, video, etc.) Imagine what words someone would use to search for your website, and then add them to the list. You should include a mix of broad and specific "keywords” and also any synonyms as well.

Use keyword research tools to find out how each word performs.
Use keyword research tools to find out how each word performs.

Use Keyword Research Tools to Test & Record Results (Step 2)

Now create a new table or spreadsheet, (name it Keyword Table), with the columns: CONVERSION RATE, SEARCH VOLUME, COST PER CLICK (CPC) and COMPETITION.

Find a keyword research tool online (i.e. Google Adwords Keyword Tool, Wordtracker, Overture), and type in all of the words from your "Keyword List", one by one. Record each of the four values in the table/spreadsheet.

Note that the exact wording may differ depending on which tool you use. You may also have to "show" or "hide" certain statistics to see everything in one window.

Remove irrelevant keywords from your list through comparison.
Remove irrelevant keywords from your list through comparison.

Narrow Down List of Keywords (Step 3)

Use all the data recorded in Step 2 to narrow down your "Keyword List" to only the most relevant ones. Each of the four "stats" is broken down like this:

CONVERSION RATE is the percentage of visitors who convert (click an ad, buy something; who generally make the web page money.)

SEARCH VOLUME is an estimate of how many people search for the given keyword.

COST PER CLICK is the average amount of money received whenever someone clicks an ad.

COMPETITION is a rough estimate of how many other web pages are competing for the keyword.

Try to aim for a combination of some keywords that have high SEARCH VOLUME and some that have low COMPETITION. It is easier to rank higher (and attract more visitors) with keywords that have low competition. Words that are searched more often with also help search engines know what your web page is about.

Find places on your web page to naturally add your keywords.
Find places on your web page to naturally add your keywords.

Add Keywords to Web Page (Step 4)

Now that you have your finalized batch of keywords, it's time to implement them. This is done a number of ways. One is through the use of a web page's Tags, Headings, and Alt and Anchor Text. Another is by adding keyword density, (i.e. mentioning the word multiple times), to written content.

However you use your keywords, make sure that use is natural sounding. Otherwise, search engines will view your web page negatively or as spam, and your ranking will suffer.

Monitor and Improve Keyword Results (Step 5)

It's important to analyze keyword performance in case improvements need to be made.
It's important to analyze keyword performance in case improvements need to be made.

Keyword research doesn't stop after they have been implemented into a website. As time goes on, you should monitor how well your keywords are performing. This can be done through analytics software (i.e. Google Analytics), or through internal site search engines.

Not only will this help you improve your keyword usage, it might just unearth new phrases that you might not have considered initially.


Take a look at the competition’s webpage(s). Use the View Source function of your internet browser to see what Meta Keyword tags they are using, and see if you can improve upon them.

Optimizing for a group of “long tail” keywords, (ones that are searched less than broad terms, but often have little competition and are worth more), can provide higher conversion rates and more interested and valuable visitors to a site, as these specific terms can relate to exactly the topics, products, and services your site provides.

There are also thousands of other terms, garnering far fewer monthly searches, that, when taken together, have a value greater than the terms producing the most searches. Thus, targeting dozens, or hundreds, of smaller terms individually can be both easier (on a competitive level) and more profitable.

Generate a calendar of keyword phrases, because some keywords are more popular at different times of the year.

Internal site search engines are also useful for gathering keyword research data such. Things like the number of words searched, search terms that yield conversions and search terms that yield no results can be recorded this way.

You can plug your keywords into the Adsense Sandbox Preview Tool to preview what ads might appear on your webpage.


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    • Celia Balmer profile image

      Celia Balmer 

      7 years ago

      Great hub. I agree that keyword research doesn't end once the words have been added to a website - continuous monitoring and tweaking where necessary is very important.

    • MistHaven profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from New Jersey

      Thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      Techno Lab 

      8 years ago

      Good one.

      Very informative article on keywords research process.

    • MistHaven profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from New Jersey

      Nothing wrong with writing about things ya like. I try to find a happy balance between profit and interest, cause I've been basically writing for free my entire life.

    • profile image 

      8 years ago

      Makes sense, Misthaven but to tell you the truth I've given up trying to work out how to make profits - just doing what I'm interested in! but will keep your tips in mind on the off chance! Thanks

    • MistHaven profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from New Jersey

      @Deborrah: No problem.

      @Sparhawke: Try using your main keyword 1-2 times for every paragraph in your writing. Just don't stuff your keywords all over the place.

    • Sparhawke profile image


      8 years ago from Manchester

      Keyword research for me is probably the hardest and it is not made any easier byt he problems I have with mental block when writing, how do you "insert" keywords naturally into a post when doing the final edit to make it look natural? :)

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      8 years ago

      Misthaven, Nice hub! Great tips! This is helpful information on how to maximize the use of your "key words." Thank you for sharing, Peace & Blessings!


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