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The Key to Doing Keyword Research

Aug 4, 2008
As any Search Engine Optimization expert will tell you, Keyword research is a funny animal. The type of keyword research you do will vary, depending on what you're using the keywords for. Article research, for example, will be much different than keyword searches done for web sites mostly because people are searching for different types of words depending on what they're going after. Regardless of the type of search you're doing though, there are some hard and fast rules when it comes to good keyword searches. Here are some tips that should help you understand, define, and implement your own keyword searches:

1) Study the marketplace: Your market will tell you a lot about which keywords are popular and which aren't. The tools I describe later in this article shouldn't replace your own research. Get to know your competition by studying their marketing materials, press releases and web sites. Often you'll find hidden data in these places that will help you narrow down your own search. By "hidden data" I don't mean data that is literally hidden like back-end text in web site development no one ever sees, what I mean by this is terminology that might not seem like a keyword or keyword string initially, but as you dig deeper you find that it's in fact a popular search term.

2) Keywords are just that: words. They can be single words or keyword strings. Either way you'll want to find the perfect term for you. Don't get hung up on finding the single perfect word, instead look for search terms or patterns.

3) Keywords won't stay evergreen: As markets/readers change, so might your keywords. If you have a keyword or keyword string that's been working well for you that's great, but when it stops producing results (i.e. hits to your web site, hits to your articles, or inquiries about your book) then you might be in need of a new set of words.

4) Research: If you're stumped for how to research keywords and the marketing materials and press releases you've gathered aren't helping, consider going onto some blogs in your particular market and see what you can dig up there. Look for phrases that are used over and over again. For example when women's literature added a spicy, fun new genre, the term "chick lit" was used over and over and became not just the adopted name for the genre, but a keyword term as well.

5) Use keyword sites to augment your searches: Along with studying the marketplace you can also go online and use the websites recommended below to help you further your search. Many of these sites are free but if keywords are crucial to your campaign, you might want to think about finding a site you like and paying for their upgraded research.

6) Test, test, test. Once you have identified a keyword or string of keywords, test these words by creating articles or press releases using these terms. You'll be able to see quickly how well your words are working.

7) Use them everywhere: Once you have identified words that work for you, use them everywhere. As I explained above you can use them in your articles, press releases, even on your web site. You can even use them in your social networking profile, on your page or as the name for your social networking page (this works especially well if you're using Squidoo).

Useful sites related to this article:

SpyFu:

Price: Free registration for basic research functions.

Subscription packages for full additional features range from $6.75 for a three-day trial; $38.50 monthly

Wordtracker:

Price: Free tool generates list of up to 100 related keywords. Full functionality with subscription for $59

Wordze:

Price: $7.95 one-day trial, $35 monthly. Best use: Keyword list building; keyword list augmentation; SEO keyword strategies.
About the Author
Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a book marketing and media relations expert whose company has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. Visit AME.
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