Real World Ideas When Short on Time
Ideally keyword research would be the basis of a website’s structure. Done right, it’s a labor intensive process that balances keyword benefit (number of potential searches each month) and opposition (how difficult it is to compete). The benefit is a website that has an amplified signal when trying to reach prospective searchers.
What if you’re short on time and need to do “down and dirty” research? Normally we don’t recommend short-cutting keyword research, as it provides an incomplete and skewed viewpoint of what’s going online. We live in a real world, so here are some real-word short-cuts to:
1. Brainstorm with Friends, Family & Colleagues
Brainstorming is a fabulous group problem-solving technique where you get ideas from several sources. When you’re in brainstorming mode, no idea is a bad one. The goal is to gather as many keywords as possible. You’ll be sifting through the ideas later, tossing out ones that have little-to-no search value. You’d be surprised at the quality you’ll get with this process. Friends and family are probably not entrenched with industry jargon. This can be very helpful in the keyword research process especially if your audience is consumer based. The point is to research terms that real searchers use — not terms you think they should use — when searching for your type of services.
2. Ask Google For Help
Not sure where to start? Ask Google to help. The AdWords Keyword Tool provides a wealth of information. You can plug in a keyword and it will provide you hundreds of suggested alternatives. It’s easy to download a file into Excel and then massage the data — where you can sort by search volume or competition.
If you’re curious to see what keywords your competition is using, you can plug their url into the keyword research tool as well.
We suggest figuring out your keywords by topic area. For example, if you sell home appliances, separate your keyword research into logical sections, like dishwasher, refrigerators, washers, dryers, etc. Rather than jumping around, you can amass a keyword list that’s naturally organized by category. This will make it easier in the long run when you choose a keyword for each web page or blog post. Remember: no keyword stuffing. Your human audience will get annoyed and search engines will put you on the naughty list. Also, don’t ignore long-tail keywords as they tend to have less competition and used closer to a purchasing decision.
3. Keyword Research Trends
There is no point in optimizing a website on a dying or downward trending keyword. Why go through all the effort for diminishing returns? Google Trends, also known as Google Insight for Search, provides easy-to-read trending data. It also provides related terms, additional suggestions that you can add to your keyword research list.
The cool thing about Trends is the ability to drill down to the state and metro area levels. If your business is localized, this will help you pinpoint keywords that are most popular for your geographic area. Trends will also show you any seasonality for keywords, providing insight into actual search behaviors.
Got another shortcut to add to the list? We’re all ears!
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