An introduction to basic keyword research
The goal of this page is to give you an introduction to basic keyword research for the purposes of registering a domain name and choosing a good blog topic. Keyword research is critical to your online success and something you need to get to grips with sooner, better than later…
Unless you have been sleeping under a rock, I am sure you know that Google is the biggest and most used Search Engine on the Internet today. Because of this, ‘we’ focus of optimising websites for Google more so than any other Search Engine. There are occasions when you will optimise for the other search engines like Bing & Yahoo, but for now, let’s focus on Google and using Google for Keyword Research.
Essentially the aim of keyword research is to find out what words and/or phrases (keyword phrases) are being used online by internet users to find information. A keyword or keyword phrase is the term used to describe what words an internet user inserted into a Search Engines ‘search query box’ to find data.
From the above image, one can see that the keyword phrase ‘earn more money online’
was inserted into the Google ‘search query box’.
Keywords could comprise a single word or a string of words to make up a keyword phrase. We all use Google or other Search Engines on a daily basis to find information online, but what a lot of people don’t know; is that these Search Engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo & others) all keep a record of what keywords are being used.
[Normal_Box] In its simplest form; Keyword research is the task of accessing the Search Engines keyword records and finding out whether your chosen keywords are being searched for by internet users or not. [/Normal_Box]
Although there are hundreds of keyword research tools available, for now we are going to focus on using Google’s very own FREE Keyword Research Tool, quite simply called: Google Adwords Keyword Tool.
OUR GOAL: To see if there is search activity for your chosen Niche or Blog Topic
Let’s say for examples sake that I am thinking of starting a blog all about Italian Food. Before I finalise my decision I would use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool to see if other internet users are searching for anything to do with my chosen niche (eg Italian Food).
Head over to: www.adwords.google.com/keywordtool
In the image below I show the Adwords Keyword Tool with a few sample keyword phrases related to the Blog Topic I am considering. I am going to use these sample keyword phrases as the starting point of my research.
How to use the Adwords Keyword Tool
- Insert 3-4 keyword phrases into the ‘Word or Phrase’ search box
- insert the CAPTCHA Code
- Press the Search Button
If you want to target a specific area/location, please change the locations in the advanced options indicated in the red circle above. I changed it to South Africa!
There are plenty other settings which you can use, but for now, keep it simple!
Analysing the Keyword Results
Once you have submitted your keyword search request, the Adwords Keyword Tool will bring back the average number of times your keyword phrases have been searched for within the last few months.
Refering to the image above:
- At the top of the results (within the red rectangle) are the results for the exact keyword phrases you inserted into the keyword tool.
- Below that is a list of keyword ideas that Google recommends as alternatives, related to your given keywords.
The first thing we look at is the total monthly searches (Globally / Locally). If we intend going after a global market we check the Global Monthly Searches column & if we are targeting locally (in this case South Africa was selected), we look at the number of Local Monthly Searches.
So what does the number of searches tell us?
Locally, for the given keyword phrases; there is less than 1000 average searches, making these too low to be of any value
One of Google’s Keyword ideas has sufficient local searches – See: Italian Food, with 4400 monthly searches (this is still a little low, but can work)
So, what are your options?
- You could use ‘Italian Food’ as the topic for a blog, however, I would consider targeting the global market as opposed to just South Africa.or
- Based on the recommended list of keywords, refine your search by trying other variations of ‘Italian Food’
eg. Italian Food Recipes, Italian food ingredients, Traditional Italian Food etc
Tip: I only go after keywords or keyword phrases with 5000+ local searches and 50000+ global searches
Assessing Keyword Competition:
Not only does the keyword tool give you the number of average searches, it also tells you what the competition is like when targeting a specific keyword phrase. Under the Competition column; Google indicates whether the keyword competition is High/Medium/Low. Low means that it is relatively easy to compete with other websites/Blogs for this keyword phrase, whilst High means it is difficult.
For now, it is best to go after Low Competition Keywords. I am not saying that you can’t go after the High Competition Keywords, but until your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Skills have improved, keep it simple.
In closing: Remember the purpose of doing this basic Keyword Research now was to determine whether there was sufficient interest for your chosen Niche. If there is sufficient interest in your Niche, then you can use the same keyword list to help you register a domain name (Website URL), preferably, using one or more keywords in the URL. eg. www.italianfoodrecipes.com
[Note]The whole idea behind using keywords research before going off to register your domain name is because it is preferable to have one or two keywords in the domain name. Make a list of all the more suitable keywords which you could possibly use for the domain name. Then; read the article: Domain Registration [/Note]