Do you have a website and would you like more visitors from Google?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving webpages so they appear highly on search engines and without the need to spend money on advertising.
But here’s the thing; before any optimisation happens, you first need to know which keywords you want to appear for.
In this simple 5-step guide, I’ll walk you through how you research keywords that are relevant, have good search volume and can help make your business become more profitable.
But before we do this, let’s clarify what a keyword is. A keyword is what’s entered into a search engine. Typically, this is a phrase rather than a single word—but both fall under the ‘keyword’ label.
Step #1: Research One Topic at a Time
As an experienced SEO trainer, the biggest mistake I see beginners make is researching too many keywords in one go.
Google’s goal is simple: “find the most relevant, useful results in a fraction of a second, and present them in a way that helps you find what you’re looking for.”
So, rather than researching multiple topics, you should first start with one in mind. This should be for one webpage at a time, and the keywords picked should be laser focused for that page. That way, Google will be confident it can help its users find exactly what they are looking for.
Step #2: Get Keyword Search Volumes
When picking keywords that are profitable to your business, you’ll need to know which are being searched for, and similarly which are not.
For example, the keyword “Cardiff eateries” averages zero searches per month on Google. But “Cardiff restaurants” has over 22,000 searches. You’ll want to know this information, right?
Well, it’s actually pretty easy to find.
The simplest way is by installing a free browser tool called Keyword Everywhere. It works on Google Chrome and Firefox.
Once installed, configure the Keyword Everywhere settings to provide search volumes for your locality e.g. United Kingdom. And after that, you’ll see monthly search volumes appear below keywords you enter on Google:
Step #3: Use Google’s Fill in the Blank Suggestions
As a user of Google, you’ll notice a drop down list appear, of suggestions, from your initial keyword search. This is Google’s way of providing similar meaning keywords that other people have searched, that may also be relevant to you.
These are often great for keyword research ideas. But I’d like to show a lesser known Google hack to reveal even more keyword suggestions.
I call it the Fill in the Blank Google Suggestion technique. Insert an asterisk character into a search query and it acts like a “wildcard” where Google will fill in the blank. It cleverly fills in the blank with popular searches that others use, which also contain the phrase you entered:
(You’ll also notice in the screenshot above, that search volumes are shown. This is provided by the Keyword Everywhere tool we installed earlier).
But here’s the thing; for this to work you need to add the asterisk character after you have written the phrase or keyword. It doesn’t work if you enter as you type out your keyword.
Why not try this technique for a keyword you feel might be important for your business? Try shifting the asterisk at the start, middle and end to see what keywords are suggested.
Step #4: Think Synonyms
In addition to using the Fill in the Blank technique, try thinking of synonyms or similar meaning keywords to the topic you are searching. For example, a synonym to restaurant may be cafe, diner, pizzeria, bar etc. E.g. “Cardiff cafe” has a search volume of 1,300 month.
By further researching around closely related keywords, you are staying on topic but you will also start to build up other relevant keywords that may be useful to rank for.
Step #5: Pick Profitable Keywords
The last step is to pick keywords that you feel are a good fit for your topic and have a good search volume. You’ll want to be realistic, so while it might be tempting to target the largest searched and most generic keyword in your topic (e.g. “Cardiff restaurants”), they tend to be the most competitive.
So if you’re just starting out, it’s better to pick specific keywords that have a reasonable search volume.
Typically, you’ll want to aim for around half a dozen to a dozen keywords per webpage or topic that you research.
Now it’s your turn. Why not start with a topic that you feel is important, and see if you can find 6-12 keywords that could benefit your business?
Blog by Joe Williams who offers online SEO training at Tribe SEO.