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The Basics of Keyword Research

Mar 8, 2008
Keyword research is one of the most important stages of developing a website - especially if the purpose of the site is to generate money and business. Your first step is deciding exactly what you will be selling on your site - is it a product, service or information? Next is taking the steps to find out the type of things people type into the search engines when looking for your particular product or service.

The thousands of terms people use to search for things related to your industry online will help you target your pay per click advertising and other web marketing, as well as help your SEO efforts (especially so you know what anchor text to use when link building). The wider your subject and more services or products your provide, the more in-depth your keyword research will get, sometimes resulting in lists tens of thousands of words long.

Much of keyword research is just old-fashioned brainstorming. You sit down, think about your target audience and get in their frame of mind. Think about the types of things they might type in to find your service, and get yourself a general list of several terms. Once you have that together there are one of two ways to conduct keyword research - this is where the 'secret' comes in.

Most people will use online tools and programs to conduct keyword research. There are programs that will search several keyword tools on the net. You can also use the individual tools yourself and figure out which works best. Google's Keyword Tool generates a list of related keywords as well as suggested terms, also giving you an idea of how often they're searched for.

If you're doing keyword research in order to target your pay per click campaigns, there is a way to save yourself some time. You may even wind up saving money in the long run. It's just a matter of experimenting a bit with your search-marketing program of choice.

If you have a bit of extra cash to spend, you can do your keyword research in a whole different way. Take your original list of several terms and begin building a campaign around them (this works for both Google, Yahoo and other search marketing affiliates). Most search marketing programs have the option of using a "broad" keyword match - meaning whatever combination of search terms somebody types in, as long as it contains your keyword, your ad will pop up for them.

After letting the campaign run for a while, you can check to see which EXACT keywords send the most traffic to your website. This allows you to tell which keyword terms attract the most business for the least money. You can begin building a more detailed campaign and eventually phase out the broad keywords for exact matches, saving you many man-hours of keyword research.

Keyword research can sound daunting, especially for newcomers, but practice makes perfect, and this tip can wind up saving you a lot of trouble and time. In the long run, it should also help you target your keywords to your audience better, get you higher conversion rates and hopefully save some money. It's always important to try something for yourself before you rule it out entirely!
About the Author
About the author: Ashley Lichty and her team does keyword research, content development and other search engine optimization techniques for ProspectMX.com. You can learn more about her and her team by checking out ProspectMX.
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