From Metro Studios Knowledgebase
This is one of the most important steps in the process. It can help uncover unknown opportunities. In its simplest form, the goal of keyword research is to find phrases that:
- Offer good search traffic potential.
- Are attainable (i.e. have a low to medium degree of difficulty)
- Are relevant
- Google AdWords Keyword Tool – use this to discover search traffic data (exact, phrase and broad) for keyword phrases. This will also suggest possible related phrases.
- Ubersuggest.org – This is a good alternative or compliment to Google’s Keyword AdWord tool. It makes good use of Google Suggest.
- SEOmoz Keyword Difficulty Tool – this is a very useful tool that takes a close look at the top 20 sites currently ranking in Google for that particular phrase, and assigning a 1-100 difficulty rating. Ideally, I try to find traffic producing phrases in the low to medium degree of difficulty range. However, if there is a highly relevant phrase that is in the higher degree of difficulty, it would make sense to have that as a long-term goal (and it could be a great fit for AdWords up until that point).
- Traffic Travis – This is a good tool I have used in the past as an alternative or complimentary tool to SEOmoz Keyword Difficulty Tool.
- Google Analytics – Take a look at what phrases people are using to find your website. It might clue you in on an opportunity you didn’t anticipate.
- Webmaster Tools – See which search queries are giving you impressions. You can learn quite a bit of valuable information from Webmaster Tools, including which domains are linking to you, crawling errors, and much, much more.
Keyword research is an ongoing process. This being the case, I try to keep an ongoing spreadsheet of keyword data. Typically, I have it broken down like:
- Column A – Keyword Phrase
- Column B – Difficulty Rating
- Column C – Exact Match
- Column D – Phrase Match
- Column E – Broad Match
- Column F – Baseline ranking (where did their site rank when we started SEO)
- …and in each additional column, I update where they rank for those phrases periodically.