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I love keyword research and taking time to figure out which keywords will not only bring a large amount of traffic to a website, but, those keywords that will convert and bring additional revenue to a company. Because of this, I decided to attend a great session at PubCon this morning that was focused on keyword research.

One of the speakers, Craig Paddock from Boost Research Marketing delivered an amazing presentation called “Organic Keyword Research & Selection”. I wanted to take a few minutes to share with you his keyword research wisdom that he imparted to a few hundred of us.

Keyword Research

When researching different kinds of keywords, you will want to take a look at a few different factors.

  • Popularity of the particular keyword
  • The click-thru rate of the keyword
  • The quality of the keyword (conversion rate or engagement)
  • The competitiveness of the keyword
  • Your current ranking for that keyword

When analyzing each of these factors, you will be able to easily decide which keywords will be best for you to target to get the maximum return on your invested time or money.

Keyword Expanders / Variations

When doing keyword research, one of the best ways to drive organic search traffic to your website is by focusing on expanders and variations of keywords. These expanders or variations will help you take advantage of other, less obvious ways rank for particular keywords. You will want to focus on expanders such as best, online, buy, cheap, discount, wholesale, and accessories. Adding these to your keywords allows you to potentially rank for less competitive keywords and drive very targeted traffic to your site.

Another way to drive traffic to your website using expanders or variations is by adding reviews to your website. Allowing your customers or site visitors to comment and write reviews can help you easily and quickly add new content to your site that is very relevant. Not only that, but more people are starting to search for products services reviews. If your review pages or sections are highly optimized, you can easily show up in the search results when searchers are trying to find what you offer.

Keyword Selection

When doing keyword research, one really great way of finding keywords that will work for you and your business is by setting up and running a ppc campaign and collecting data solely for the purpose of selecting your keywords.

The first thing that you need to know about running a campaign for the purpose of collecting data is that you want to set your campaign up with no daily limit and make sure that it is on the 1st page of results. I know this might get expensive, but the data that you will glean is well worth it. You shouldn’t have to collect more than 72 hours of data to get a pretty good idea of what direction you need to go.

When setting up your campaign, you will want to make sure to set up two different campaigns, one that is targeting the exact [keyword] and another that is targeting the broad match.

Some metrics that you will want to analyze are the number of impressions or queries that keyword generates. This will provide an accurate number of how many people searched for your exact keyword and how many people searched for some variation of your keyword. You will also want to analyze the click-thru ratio, and the conversion data. Doing so will help you find the VERY best keywords for your business.

Another way to help you decide which keywords to select for your SEO campaign is by analyzing your analytics data, both ppc and organic traffic. You will want to analyze the conversion rate of your site visitors. You should see how much revenue each visitor is bringing to your business.

You should also look at how each visitor engages with your website. Take a look at how many pages per visit your visitors are looking at. Take a look at your bounce rate. Take a look at the pages they are visiting (terms of service and about us pages are engaging pages). Each of these things can help narrow your huge list of keywords related to your business.

Keyword Competitiveness

In terms of selecting keywords to target in your SEO campaign, you always want to look at the competition for each keyword you are considering. You definitely don’t want to go after keywords that will take you years to rank for (I know from personal experience). You want keywords that you will be able to rank well for in six to twelve months.

Some of the easy ways to determine the competitiveness of your keywords are by using certain tools like the SEO Quake plugin or the SEO for Firefox plugin. I think everyone here at the office uses the SEO for Firefox plugin for our competitive research for our clients. One of the most important things to look at with that plugin is the number of unique external links to your domain. This number will give you a good idea of how many unique domains linking to your competitors for any given keyword.

There were a few other things that he touched on, but I felt that these were some of the biggest takeaways and will change the way that I look at and perform keyword research in the future. In summary, you will always want to set up a ppc campaign for the purpose of collecting data to guide your organic search campaign. You should always remember that keyword research is more than just looking at the popularity of any given phrase.

There are many different factors to look at and study to ensure that you are targeting the right keywords now, not when you realize that you have been doing SEO on the wrong keywords six months down the road.

If you have any specific questions for me, or anyone who attended this session, please comment below.