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Keyword Search Tools and Research for Best SEO Practices

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When people search for information, services, products, entertainment, or whatever else they wish to find on the Internet, certain phrases go through their minds that relate most to what they seek – these are keywords.

Matching the language online entrepreneurs use, with the phrases web surfers use, poses one of the biggest challenges of doing business on the Web. Once you become savvy in finding your best keywords, search engines like Google and Yahoo! work in your favor, driving tons of targeted traffic to your webpages and greatly increasing potential sales. If you do not, your work will become lost in cyberspace!

Fortunately, many of the tools to help you find these magical keywords can be accessed for free online. With a little work and research, you will be able to optimize your pages in no time!

Quick Jump:

Relevancy Matters Most

Sometimes the language and terminology you use in your field and industry does not match with the language everyday people outside of your market uses. This dilemma crosses over to the Internet as well. Once you finish your webpage to be published online, you want to make sure the phrases in your title and sprinkled throughout your copy target the most relevant keywords.

Great tips I will try to remember. Heck no remembering – I’m bookmarking this page. Thanks for sharing this info.

mythbuster
HubPages Author

Relevancy matters for two reasons…

1. The search engines will match search queries with keywords on your pages and in your title.

If you want someone who types in “marketing for book writers” to find your webpage, then you need to make sure that the entire phrase, “marketing for book writers” appears in your title and several times in your page copy. As far as the Google algorithms go and those of other search engines, if your page does not even use the phrase people look for, why post it first in search results?

2. People will not click through to pages that do not relate to what they seek.

Even if you do manage to rank well for certain phrases, if those phrases do not match with what the search engine user is looking for, they will skip your listing. If you did end up ranking for “marketing for book writers” but your title readsPublishing for Fiction Writers, then most of the people typing that phrase, even if you end up in the number one spot, will not visit your page.

People need information quickly and will not waste their time with irrelevant websites.

Researched Fact: About 42% of people will rephrase their search if they do not see a relevant link on the first page of search results, and 88% will do so if they do not find one on the first three pages.

You Must Evaluate Your Competition

All things being equal, if everyone aimed for the most relevant keywords, the search engines still need to come up with some formula to sort the best pages from the lesser ones. Google, Yahoo!, and Bing all use many factors to determine this and no one knows the real algorithms used (do not trust any SEO adviser who claims they do!). You can however, examine your competition. Basically, for any given keyword, you want to see if you can compete with the other pages already ranked against them and possibly out rank them.

Your goal? To get on the first page search listing for your targeted keywords. Know that based on research studies, around 91% of people click on a link within the first page of search results and about 42% click on the first link. If you do not get listed near the top of the page, or at least on the first page, you could very well lose over half of all potential visitors. Only 50% even look at results past the 3rd listing.

This was a great article – put everything across very clearly. I’ve just sent it to a client of mine who didn’t really understand the need to firstly do keyword analysis, and secondly to embark on some serious link building.

I’ll be reading more of your stuff for sure.

Allan Kent

Three ways to know if you can knock down the competition…

1. More inbound links pointing to your webpage.

The more other pages link to your page, the higher your chance of ranking on the first page of results in a search engine, especially for Google and Yahoo! If you know you optimized your webpage for keywords and you know more pages on the web link to yours than to the webpages on the current search listing for your targeted keywords, then you will most likely be able to rank there as well.

I am talking about webpages because each page receives its own rank for keywords. People get confused with websites and webpages. If you have not already, you need to start thinking in micro terms. The best way to improve traffic to your website is to optimize each individual page, treating it as its own target destination.

2. Higher code to text ratio.

Many Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts claim that text to code ratio matters in rankings – that pages with more content and less HTML will do better. I began an independent study on different SEO factors proposed by such experts on the web. During my preliminary study, I found that text to code ratio usually decreased with the decrease in search engine ranking. The pages lower on the list contained way more code then content.

After factoring in inbound links, if the pages ranked for your targeted keywords contain way more code than text compared to your page, you might be able to bump them in the ranking.

3. Older websites.

Like code to text, you might hear much about domain age as being a key element. I would emphasize that finding the right keywords and inbound links will always matter most, but if you still need some narrowing down power, you can look into the site’s age as well. Older sites tend to fare better than newer sites.

That’s the Overview, But Now What?

Considering all the elements mentioned, how do you actually go about optimizing your pages? I like to gather my information from the source, Google. With about 67% of all PC searches and 87% of all mobile, what happens on Google seems to be a fair sample of search attitudes in general. Simply using Google’s Keyword Planner from their Adwords program and using a few features built into their own search engine, you can gather almost all the data you need (we will be sure to give Yahoo! some credit here as well).

Thanks for great info, clear to do SEO. I bookmarked this.

nbbatt.com

Your 10 Step-by-Step Keyword Guide

1. Make a small list of keyword phrases that relate directly to your page’s content.

Example:

  • build a remote control car
  • building remote control cars
  • remote control car building guide
  • building remote control cars for beginners

As you can see, these keyword phrases contain multiple words to hone in on the appropriate audience. Simply using “remote control car” would be too general and vague. You need to put your keywords into context. You need targeted keywords.

Keyword Planner

2. Type your keywords into Google’s Keyword Planner

After logging into Adwords, follow this navigation route:

Tools > Keyword Planner > Find new keywords > Search for new keywords using a phrase or category

  • Type the keyword phrases you want to research into the Your product or service box.
  • If you already published your webpage, you can also enter in the specific page you want to optimize for under Your landing page.
  • You can enter in a category to help narrow down the results.
  • Set the rest of the Targeting, Date range, and Customize your search to your demographics and desired parameters.
  • For building a remote control car for instance, the market would be global to anyone who could speak English, so I would choose English and All locations. Showing average searches over the Last 12 months is a good default as well as to Show broadly related ideas.

3. Click “Get ideas”

Ad Group

Keyword List

4. Look at the two tabs “Ad group ideas” and “Keyword ideas” and find relevant keywords with a high number of Average monthly searches.

You rearrange the lists by clicking on the corresponding column headings. For example, I clicked on the Ad group Build A Remote, clicked on Avg monthly searches and these keywords appeared at the top:

  • how to build a remote control car (590)
  • build your own remote control car (590)
  • build remote control car (170)

I generally ignore keywords with searches under 100 or ones with “Not enough data.”

You can sometimes look at the column Competition to see if you could rank for the keyword. Usually Medium-High keywords would be difficult to rank for, but I would not let these two factors deter you from testing out the keyword first.

5. Type one of your tested keywords into the Google search bar.

6. After the listing shows, skim through the results and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Make sure the page titles match up with the keyword phrase topic you typed in.

Related Google Searches

7. Review the phrases listed under ”Searches related to…”

8. Evaluate the keywords listed to see if they directly relate to the content on your page.

For this example I used “how to build a remote control car” because I wanted to try and target the keyword with the most monthly searches. Google provided this list of related searches:

  • how to build a remote control car from scratch
  • how to build a remote control car for kids
  • how to build a remote control car step by step
  • build remote control helicopter
  • build your own remote control car
  • how to build a remote control robot
  • how to build a remote control car at home
  • make remote control car

Reviewing the list I can safely say that most people who type the targeted keyword definitely look for ways to build remote control cars or other types of vehicles.

However, if the majority of provided terms did not match up correctly, I could click on one of the related terms to receive a new list and then use those new keywords in the Google Keyword Tool and repeat steps 2-8.

If I did not deem any of the related searches to be relevant, I would skip this keyword and move on to the next, perhaps “building remote control cars,” repeating steps 5-8.

If all my keywords failed, I would need to come up with a completely new list of relevant keywords, starting again at step 1.

Google Inbound Links

9. Test the top 3-4 website listing inbound links on Google by doing the following.

  • Click on the link.
  • Copy the entire URL of the page from the address bar.
  • Type the URL in the Google search bar with “link:” in the front with no spaces. For example: “link:https://www.mepits.com/project/235/DIY-Projects/How-to-Make-a-Remote-Control-Car”
  • In this example, Google reported 0 inbound links for this website. If you wanted your webpage to rank for this keyword, it might have a chance competing against this page. If the listing showed more than a few inbound links, you would need to gain more than that many references for your own page before you could compete.
  • Test the inbound links on Yahoo! by typing in “link:” and the URL into the Yahoo! search bar, same as Google.
  • Pay attention to the “Inlinks.” To rank higher, your page would need to aim for more Inlinks than the URL typed in.

Note: Google never reports the actual number of inbound links. You have to work with an estimate.

If your page does not contain more inbound links as the top 3-4 pages in the listing as reported by Google and Yahoo!, you need to go back to step 4 and choose another keyword phrase. If none of your keyword phrases succeed, you will need to start again at step 1 and come up with a new relevant keyword list.

Important Note for Article Marketing: most of your articles will not have inbound links pointing to them initially. You should aim for keywords where other ranked pages also do not have inbound links. Otherwise, you will not be able to compete.

10. Implement your keywords into your webpage title and content.

You should realize that you usually can only target about one or two good keyword phrases per page. You want to place the keyword that will earn you the most traffic in the front of your title and several times in the content. If you can place another keyword in the title then you get even more possibilities, but remember to also add it into the copy.

Example Keywords:

  • “how to build a remote control car” and
  • “remote control car guide”

You could make the title

  • “How to Build a Remote Control Car – Guide for Newbies”

This title uses both keywords and places the one with the highest monthly search volume first.

Remember the title goes between the title HTML tag <title></title> as well as listed in the content.

Title tip: keep your titles under 65 characters and do not be afraid to use the “-“ and the “ | “. You can use the word count feature in your word processor to check this.

Do not mix around keyword phrases. You need to use the exact phrase you researched. “how to build a remote control car” and “build a remote control car – a how to” will give you very different results.

Does this mean that you will never get ranked for mixed phrases? No, it does not, and it happens. However, you’re taking a chance and possibly lowering your probability of being ranked. Also, if a page as popular as yours comes around, with as many inbound links, and it does happen to use the exact phrase, chances are they will bump you.

This is just the instructional article I was looking for. I plan to follow your tips this afternoon, especially the testing for inbound links (something I’ve never done before). Thank you! Voted up and shared.

vespawoolf
HubPages Author

Troubleshooting 5 Common Keyword Woes

Finding the right keywords for your pages proves to be much more of an art than an exact science, requiring patience and trial and error. At most, you just increase the chance to rank your page in search engine listings. There could be other problems with your market or page holding you back as well.

Problem 1

You followed the Step-by-Step Keyword Guide, but your pages still do not rank.

Remember the other two factors touched upon, code to text ratio and domain age? You might want to see if the current pages listed in a search query for your keywords beat yours in these two categories.

For code to text ratio testing, you can plug the URL of your webpages into the script at the following website:

http://www.seochat.com/seo-tools/code-to-text-ratio/

The lower the percentage, the better.

To check the age of a domain, try looking it up in WHOIS at

http://domains.whois.com/domain.php?action=whois

Though I must warn you, some owners hide this information.

Problem 2

You got your webpage ranked on the first page for a keyword, but you want more traffic and to use more competitive keywords.

You never need to be satisfied with your current keywords. Most people start out with low competition keywords. You should aim to upgrade to phrases with higher monthly traffic volumes in the long run. Once you start receiving more inbound links and your website begins to build some longevity, try going back and testing your page against others listed for terms receiving more searches. You might find you now have a chance to rank for the better keywords!

Problem 3

Your page ranked in the number 1 spot for a keyword, but it brings you no traffic!

A few factors could be contributing to this problem. First off, you need to make sure that the keyword does relate to your content and your title. If it’s not relevant, it’s not working for you. You should also check your meta-description or page description. Change your description to more positively reflect the content of your page. The description appears underneath page titles in search listings and is your second most effective search marketing asset.

Always stay in your niche. Sure, your business might be about high end sport car mods, but maybe your company really focuses on mods only for cars from Japan, or only built by Honda or Nissan. Maybe you only do work for customers in the Houston, Texas area. “Houston Nissan Z mods” will deliver a more targeted and likely audience then “Japanese sports car mods” or “sport car mods.”

Other websites could also be upstaging your listing.

People not only look at the title of your webpage and your page’s description in comparison to the other sites ranked, but they will look at the source as well. Like in most new situations, credibility and reputation matter. Your website might not be as well known as some of the other domains and domain types listed in the search engine listing. If you go head to head with these more credible sources, people will more likely pass your website over and click your competition, despite your rank.

Take into consideration the following website types when doing your keyword research and evaluating your search engine listing position:

Academic Websites

Informative by nature and usually peer reviewed by professionals in their own field, articles and other publications from a .edu domain will most likely trump the trustworthiness of anything you throw at it. A keyword that brings up a first page littered with results from the educational elite will greatly destroy your chances.

Major News Sources

CNN, MSNBC, and other major news publications and networks will most likely be unbeatable due to their journalistic credibility and popularity. If they already dominate the search listing for your keyword, best to try a different phrase.

Government Websites

The government also engages in research and distributes informative and useful information across the Web. If your keyword creates a first page with plenty of .gov’s to go through, competitors beware.

Market Specific Websites

If you sell a product, say a book, do you really want to go up against pages listed on Amazon or Barnes & Noble? How about being listed against Charles Schwabb if you write an article on financial advise. Who do you think people will trust and go to first?

Domains That Match Keywords

Domains that use the exact keyword phrase you target as their domain name, like “www.yourkeyword.com,” will already appear to be a good, albeit, possible biased authority on the topic.

Social Bookmarking Sites

Social bookmarking websites like Digg and StumbleUpon allow Internet users to utilize their given online democratic powers to share, vote, and ignore websites at their whim. Just as inbound links serve to judge the popularity and ranking of a page, so do the marks given by social bookmarking sites and their users. The popularity and familiarity of these websites will automatically grant them more credence for many people searching the web.

High Traffic Domains

Extremely popular websites built around online writing and info sharing also can be difficult to beat. EzineArticles, WordPress, HubPages, and many other blog or article sites live and die by user opinion and popularity. In the twisted world of the Internet, what’s popular is what’s worth sharing, and what’s worth sharing is what’s credible.

Click-Thru-Rate

Even with the best case scenario, only about 35% click on the first page in the search results listing, 12% on the second, 9% on the third. It keeps going down from there.

Problem 4

You discover you cannot rank for any of your keywords!

This happens to many people and should not discourage you. Markets tend to be very competitive online and you might need to do some ground work before you can start taking advantage of the power of search engines.

Before you put your keywords on hold, make sure you exhausted all possible phrases. Sometimes the difference between something like “weight loss” vs. “fat loss” can be huge and introduce you to an entirely new list of keywords to work with.

If you completely reviewed all the terminology you could think of, you need to start networking and marketing instead.

  • Share your published page with a good keyword you want to use. Send it out on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and to your business associates.
  • Find related sites in your market and ask them to link to you. Blogs work wonders!
  • Link to relevant resources from your page and hope those writers will return the favor in the future.
  • Share your pages on social bookmarking websites like Technorati and Digg.

Once you generate enough inbound links, you can go back and test your page against the competition again.

Problem 5

I took all your advice, double checked my efforts, and still no results!

Search engine optimization and implementing keywords can be a long and tedious process. As mentioned earlier, no one truly knows all the elements that come into play when search engines decide how to rank pages.

If you’ve tried all the above and still cannot rank your pages, you might need some additional hand-holding and more personalized training to help pinpoint your dilemma and remedy it.

It might be time to contact a SEO consultant or specialist that can get you back on the right track. Just make sure you find someone reliable and time-tested whom others already vouch for and trust!

Some Final Words of Advice

Never give up on your website. Remember, content matters most on the Web and even if you cannot rank for your targeted keywords does not mean your pages will not be able to bring in traffic from search engines. Some tips for a search engine friendly website:

  • Keep beefing up your website with focused pages containing high quality content.
  • Keep your website topic oriented and stay within your market and niche.
  • Encourage participation. Allowing readers to post comments, interact with the website, and be notified when you add something new works wonders. Not only will they keep coming back, they’ll add additional content and bring their friends too! Plus, possibly send some inbound linked your way.
  • Stay away from bad SEO advice and “SEO experts” that will lead you astray with your website.

And never give up! 🙂

This is great! Kept trying number 9 of this. I just discovered it now, thanks to you!

jujanester
HubPages Author

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