On a previous blog post we discussed the importance of keyword research, on this post we will talk about how to find the best keywords that will bring you relevant and targeted traffic. We already know why keywords are important as they are the crucial starting point of any web marketing campaign. Since keywords are like the life blood of the Internet, it only makes sense that search engine optimization specialists and webmasters should be concerned with finding the most targeted keywords that will increase their web presence and deliver quality traffic. When you first start promoting your products or services online through a website, it can be a little bit of a challenge  to discover exactly what the best keywords are to attract your target market. Always, keep in mind that you want to find keywords that convert into your desired action. Whether “conversions” means downloading a white-paper, signing up for newsletter, filling out a contact form, or selling your service or product. The hard part, of course is figuring out what the most effective keywords are for your particular market.

Where do I start?

The fist step to finding the best keywords is simply to brainstorm common phrases that you think people might use to find your site.  Sounds simple enough, but don’t stop there, ask your friends and colleagues what keywords they would use to find the product or services you offer on your site. Many people think and search differently and there are many variations of the same keywords that you might use. This simple method will help you clarify what some of the most common keywords are for your products and services. Most people type in 2 word key phrases, followed by 3 word key-phrases, anything longer than 3 word phrases receive less searches and 1 word key-phrase gets very little searches, mostly because it is so general and not targeted.  You don’t want to use 1 word keywords!

Once you have brainstormed your key-phrases, you should easily have a good starting point of anywhere from 20 – 30 keywords. Next, you’ll be ready to refine your list and really hone in on what people are actually searching for online. To do this, you can use many of the various keyword tools available online, many which are free. The following are a list of some of the most popular Free SEO keyword research tools in the industry:

Keyword Discovery Tool:  This keyword research tool is helpful and not bad for a free tool. However, like other free versions, there are always limitations; for example, you can only search one keyword at a time, and there is a 100 keywords daily limit.

Google’s Keyword Tool: I love this one and use it quite regularly. You can generate keyword ideas with Descriptive Words or Phrases. This gives you many options and its good insight coming straight from Googles algorithm.

Free Wordtracker Tool: of course there is a more robust, paid version of this tool, but the free one is quite helpful especially if your just starting out. However, if your a serious SEO marketer, I would highly recommend using the paid version.

Remember, two to three words are the most common length for most people’s keyword searches, so try to reduce longer phrases down to that length in the beginning of your research. Later on, you can get into “long tail key-phrases” but thats a whole other blog, which I will cover later on. Also, make sure you research keywords that cover every aspect of your service or product. For example, a landscaping business would naturally want to include “mowing, landscaping, yard work,” and keywords relating to their location, but they should also include specific jobs they offer such as “tree removal, planting, shrubs, mulch” and similar keywords.

My advice is to take your time researching all targeted possible keywords and look at how competitive the keyword is in comparison to the number of searches it gets. Start with a solid short list and focus your energy refining your initial key phrases and grow your keyword list from there.