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Keyword research

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Post by ItXBosS on 4/9/2012, 4:05 pm

Conducting keyword research is the first step for any SEO campaign. Keyword research includes:

Identifying traffic levels
Examining the conversion rates
Analysing SEO competition
Identifying Traffic Levels

There is a very simple way to see how much traffic a keyword term gets. Go to the Google Keyword Tool, type in the key phrase you are considering and filter for ‘exact matches’. This will give you a clear indication of monthly search levels. The tool will also give you suggestions which you can look into further, however for more in depth analysis, keyword research software must be used.

Examining the Conversion Rates

Traffic levels are not a be-all-and-end-all for deciding on what keywords to use in an SEO campaign. It is necessary to examine the possible conversion rates of the people that arrive at your site from the keyword you have looked at. For example, ranking #1 for ‘Internet Marketing’ will result in a huge influx of traffic; however the conversion rates will be significantly lower than if the keyword targeted was more specific. Finding a balance is important.

Analysing SEO Competition

Analysing potential competition requires a high level of understanding about SEO. It begins by taking a look at the broad competition very early on to ensure that the rest of the research isn’t going to result in time wasted because the keywords are too competitive. Again, professional software is used to make this process far more accurate, but generally speaking you can roughly identify competition levels by looking at the front SERP for the keyword in question. If you want to conduct an in-depth analysis without all of the technical know-how, I wrote this blog post on keyword competition analysis. For a more general overview, stick around on this page.

Obvious signals of competition levels:

PageRank is a general measurement of a website’s authority and is rated on a scale of N/A to 10. N/A means that the website is not ranked which can be due to being banned from Google or much more commonly – from being a new website. The scale then runs up starting from 0. In general, a website with PageRank 4 and above is considered a strong authority. You can use this PageRank Checker to find out any webpage’s PageRank for free.

At the moment, search engines can only read text. If a website uses a lot of flash, video or images then this content effectively appears blank to a search engine. If a website has a lot of text content and a lot of pages indexed and is also ranking at the top for a highly searched term – you can bet that it’s going to create some stiff competition. Not sure how many pages are indexed? Download an SEO tool bar plugin like this Chrome Extension. Of course this is a very basic analysis but will give you a rough idea of how competitive a market is.

Fun fact: PageRank was a term coined by Google and inspired by the founder, Larry Page. It does not technically refer to ‘page’ as in ‘webpage’!

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