Keyword research is the most important aspect of SEO. Is there any traffic for the keyword you’re thinking of using? What is the competition like? If you don’t have the answers to these questions before you build and optimize your site you will likely be disappointed with the results.You really can learn SEO.
Just in case you don’t know, keywords are how everyone finds what they are searching for online. They may be one word keywords or an entire keyword phrase but for the purposes of this article I’ll use “keyword” to describe both.
If you are going to do keyword research you are going to need a good keyword tool. I use Market Samurai myself but have also heard go things about Keyword Elite. Both of these tools are over $100 and come with a free trail period. If that seems to steep for your wallet you can use the Google keyword tool for your traffic research and do the competition research manually. Some people also like Micro Niche Finder but I don’t feel it gives you all the competition information you need to make an informed decision.
Just in case you are not aware of the two elements involved in keyword research for a SEO campaign they are traffic and competition. You will need to know if there is enough traffic for your keywords to be worth your efforts and also what level of competition you’ll be up against. The later can be especially important if you don’t have a lot of money to spend. So how much traffic is enough?
When talking about how much traffic you need for a keyword to be worth your time to go after I usually look for keywords with at least 100 searches a day or 3000 a month. This is IMPORTANT: These figures are for “exact match”! Always do keyword research in “exact match”, never in “phrase match” or God forbid “broad match”. There can be huge differences in the results you get and only “exact match”, as it’s name implies, tells you the exact number of searches a keyword phrase receives.
Now let’s talk about SEO competition. This is where Market Samurai can save you a lot of time and effort. You need to look at the sites that are showing on the first page of Google to determine how hard or easy it will be to rank for your keyword.
Don’t listen to those that say just do a search in quotes for your keyword and look for a certain number of sites being returned in the “out of X# of results” field. This does not give you enough information to truly determine the competition level as it only shows how many websites contain that phrase.
Look at the sites already on the first page. You’ll need to know how many back-links to the page they have plus the anchor text for those back-links, this is what’s most important. You will also want to to consider on-page components, do they have the keyword in the Title, description, URL and Headlines? Also important is page rank and .edu/.gov back-links.These things will tell you how much work it will take to rank for that keyword. Go here for more SEO help.