How To Do Keyword Research: A 6-Point Checklist

Choosing the right keywords is not done by chance. Keyword research is a critical part of understanding what people are looking for and how they are searching for various items or ideas. The English language has more than 500,000 words—twice that of most other major languages. This means that there are plenty of synonyms for most words and it is difficult to tell exactly which ones someone will use when searching. Even more difficult is predicting phrasing: will searchers use a question format or a statement format?

Keys To Keyword Research

In order to do keyword research quickly and easily, it is helpful to use tools such as Google Tools for keywords or advanced keyword research techniques. However, it is also possible to fall back on the “basics” of keyword research, including:

1.) Brainstorm a list. Most researchers start with an intuitive list of words and phrases that describe a particular web page. This list can be long or short but should be creative. Attempt to think of several different ways someone could search for information on a particular topic.

2.) Use a keyword research tool. Once the list is brainstormed, it is impossible to proceed without some technological help. There are plenty of tools available that look for keyword occurrences in searches.

3.) Refine the list. Choose the most popular keyword search terms and rank your list in order of commonality or preference.

4.) Verify the relevance of your keyword choices. Sometimes the tools will return keywords that seem right but are not actually relevant to your content needs. If you find keywords that do not really fit your search engine criteria, discard them. Do not expect users to be intuitive and make cross-connections; give them exactly what they are searching for.

5.) Assess consumer demand. Monthly search volumes will tell you a great deal about what users are searching for and how they are searching. Make decisions between long-tail keywords and fat-head keywords based on these findings. Remember that long-tail keywords tend to narrow your search group but also target specific users, while fat-head keywords reach a broader audience but do not discriminate as much between users.

6.) Analyze the competition. Look at what the competition is doing with keywords to determine if there is a niche you can fill that is currently vacant or to find out how much competition you will have for a certain phrase.

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