What is a keyword research tool, and why do we need one?
Keyword research is the cornerstone of successful internet marketing.
Imagine this: You’ve spent hours building your website. You’ve written informative, engaging copy. You’ve added images and diagrams, internal and external links. In fact, you’ve built a web presence you can really be proud of.
You publish the site, promote it on social media, get indexed by the search engines, and you wait for visitors. And you wait… Nothing! Six months later you’re still waiting.
So what went wrong?
In all probability, you failed to perform proper keyword research.
It’s one thing to know what items you wish to promote, and what sort of things internet users may be searching for. It’s another thing altogether to know precisely what they are entering into the search box and how to utilise that knowledge.
It’s also another thing to know just how many websites there are out there competing for the same search terms, or keywords.
So What is a Keyword, Anyway?
A keyword is rarely a single word. In fact, there’s really no limit to how long a keyword can be. How long is the proverbial piece of string?
We probably should actually be using the term Key Phrase. Accepted internet language though, dictates that we refer to search entries as Keywords.
When was the last time you did an internet search? I’m betting it was just before you found this post.
What did you type in the search box? At the very least it was probably “Keyword Research”. It may have been a full sentence. You may have done a voice search from your phone, in which case you might have used two or more sentences.
Based on your search query, Google, Bing, or whoever, would have made an algorithmic decision based on several variables and eventually shown you a sample of websites it thought would best match your search.
Among the things that search engines take into consideration when deciding which sites to display are; the age of the site, the “authority” of the site, (something they decide for themselves, based on complex algorithms) and the relevancy of the site content to the search query.
The first two, we have little control over if we have a newish site. This makes it harder to rank in the SERPs. (Search Engine Results Pages) Even if we have written the most awesome content imaginable, chances are hardly anyone will see it if there are several High Authority or well-aged sites to compete with.
So how can we improve our chances of being shown in the search results?
This is where a good, well-designed Keyword Tool comes in.
The trick is to find low competition keywords. These will probably be what is referred to as Long Tail keywords. What’s a long tail keyword? You ask.
A long-tail keyword is simply a search term that is much more specific than it’s root keyword.
Let’s say we searched for “boots”.
Because it’s so general we’d find there were millions of searches every month, and thousands of websites that contained that keyword somewhere in their copy.
If we then narrowed it down to “men’s boots” we’d still have a huge number of results.
Now suppose we narrowed it down even more to “men’s blue rubber boots with Toyota emblem”. Now we’re getting somewhere! (I wonder if there is such a thing?)
The graph I’ve sketched here is intended to give an idea of the concept.
On the left is the Head of the keyword. This would be where “Boots” and even “Men’s boots” would fall. The tapering Tail represents all searches that contained the word ‘Boots”. As we get further away from the Head the keywords become more specific and will have fewer searches. (But they will also have a lot less competition)
Many people erroneously refer to these as Long-Tailed keywords. The thinking is that they are just longer phrases. Actually, a Long Tail keyword could be quite short. So long as it has fewer searches it’d fall within the Long Tail on the graph.
Every time someone enters “boots” along with a modifying phrase that hasn’t been seen before, they’re adding to the Tail. So you can see then that the Tail is virtually endless.
When the internet was in its infancy, it would have been easy to rank for just about any keyword, as there was little competition. Many sites that were established then have gone on to become Authority Sites.
Nowadays, these Authority Sites have such a stranglehold on the SERPs that trying to compete with them directly is futile.
Enter the Keyword Research Tool.
A good keyword finder will show us a breakdown of any keyword we enter in the search box. This shows us how many searches per month the Keyword receives, how many views we can expect if we manage to get onto the first page, and how many other websites are competing for the same phrase.
This information is GOLD!
A good keyword finder will also be able to suggest alternative keywords that we may be able to rank for.
Keyword research is essential before we even start work on an article. It’s no good spending hours researching and writing a great post if it’s going to be buried beneath a ton of other, well-established, website articles.
Another, less appreciated fact about Long Tail keywords is that people who search using more specific terms are more likely to be ready to buy!
Using the earlier example, if you wanted to buy boots, you’d most likely search for exactly what you wanted. If you were just surfing the ‘net, you might search “boots” for a laugh or just to browse.
Can you imagine anyone searching for “men’s blue rubber boots with Toyota emblem” unless that was what they really wanted?
Long Tail keywords then, will find us qualified potential customers.
Also, if you’re planning on using AdWords or a similar paid search marketing campaign, the cost per click will be much lower due to the reduced competition. Add that to the precise targeted nature of the Long Tails and we have a winning combination indeed.
I’ve included a link HERE, to a blog post that elaborates on CPC. It was written by one of the members on the Wealthy Affiliate University site. Even if you’re not a member this link will still work for you.
If we target longer, more specific Long Tail keywords in our AdWords campaigns, we get higher ad rankings on relevant searches without having to pay a premium for each and every click.
The trick then, is to find a reliable, renewable source of Long Tail keywords that are suitable for you and for your niche. Surprisingly, many keyword suggestion tools fail to deliver in this department.
To help in you search for success as an internet marketer, I’ve written a post here where I discuss Free Keyword Tools.
Later, I’ll be adding one on Paid Tools.
Did you find this post helpful or informative?
Do you use keyword research to target your articles? Do you have a story you’d like to share?
Please leave a message below, and yes, please share this post if you found it useful.
Cheers for now.
Thomas (AKA BusyBee)
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