The questions you're probably asking yourself are “what is a keyword analysis?” and “why should I do one?”. A keyword analysis will determine what the most effective words or phrases are for your web content and keyword advertising. By effective, I mean “most likely to lead to conversion”, be that a sale, a phone call or a newsletter subscription. The value in using effective keywords is it can increase the probability of your website being found in Search Engine search results, and it can increase recognition and credibility in your visitors' eyes.
Here's a real life example to illustrate this point. A client of mine had a product which he called an electronic scarecrow, which was searched for approximately zero times per day. We changed how the product was described to electronic bird control and now that is the keyword his site is most often found under. Also, a visitor to his site will take less time to understand what he is selling – product recognition will be improved.
There are three parts to a keyword analysis:
A. Discovering the keywords
B. Evaluating the keywords
C. Using the keywords
By the way, when I say keywords I really mean key phrases, as in what a searcher would type into a search box. Even though they are usually phrases of two or more words, they are usually referred to as keywords.
A. DISCOVERING KEYWORDS
1. Draw up an initial list
There will be quite a few “obvious” keywords you and your colleagues can simply come up with
2. Look at your referral logs
If you've already have had your site up for some time, looking at how people find you already is an invaluable resource. If you don't know how to see your traffic logs, ask your web hosting company. If they don't know either, switch web hosting companies! Also check out Google Analytics for a powerful and free way to access this information.
3. Look at competitors' metatags
Go to your competitors' sites look at the source code of some of their pages (select View-> Source from the browser's menu bar). The <meta name=”keywords”> tag should be near the top of the page, and see if you can find useful keyword ideas (thanks Peter Kent for the tip).
Also don't stop at the metatags, look at the pages themselves, and observe which words and phrases are used in the titles, headings and text.
4. Use Overture.com's tool
Overture.com (bought by Yahoo!) has an invaluable free Keyword Selector Tool which gives you alternate suggestions for searches. For example, a search for homeopathy will list homeopathy medicine, homeopathy remedy, abc homeopathy and homeopathy training as the most popular searches.
UPDATE 2/19/07: Overture's tool has become increasingly unreliable. Google has introduced a Keyword Tool which used to be available only to AdWord accounts, but it is now free for all to use and has become an essential part of our own keyword analysis here at no diamonds:
5. Refine list
There are several ways to add to your list, especially for your top ten keywords:
- spelling mistakes (calender)
- synonyms (home – house)
- singulars and plurals (shoe vs shoes)
- hyphenation (ecommerce vs e-commerce)
- geographic add-ons (palo alto doctor)
Now you should have a list of at least 10 keywords and maybe more than 100. Try to order them by importance to your site.
B. EVALUATING KEYWORDS
1. Search Popularity
WordTracker is the most popular fee-based online keyword research tool (about $8 per day or $250 per year). It will give you estimates of the number of searches performed for each keyword across all Search Engines, and will tell you how many sites appear in the search results giving you an idea of the competition. The site DigitalPoint.com allows you to use Wordtracker and Overture for free, but only for one keyword at a time.
Another good tool is SEObookwhich aggregates results from Overture, Wordtracker and more.
These will help you determine the relative popularity of search terms.
2. Historical Trends
Google Trends shows you how up to five keywords rate against each other over time. This tool will give you an insight over the relative popularity of terms and highlight seasonality. Valentine's Day searches peak in February for example.
Now that you know more about your keywords, eliminate the ones that are too general and the ones that are too specific. That is difficult to define exactly, but an example would be that solar is too general, solar power home installation is too specific, and solar power installation may be just right.
C. USING KEYWORDS
Now you should have a list of at least 10 keywords you have selected as most likely to provide targeted leads.
1. Place the keywords in your website (or if the terms below sound like foreign terms to you, get your webmaster to do it):
– Title Tag of every page
– MetaTags (not so important anymore)
– Headlines and Sub-headings
– Body Text
– Alt tags
– Title Attributes of hyperlinks
– File names and URLs
2. Start an AdWord Campaign
Having done this keyword analysis, you can use it as a basis for a Pay Per Click Google AdWord campaign. The finer details of that will be for another post!