This is the beginning where you find keywords relevant to your topic… keywords are the backbone of your business they need to be words that are used by people searching online, they are the words that you will be trying to rank for. You do the Keyword Research and then write unique content based on the keywords that you find and that, along with good SEO practices, will take your website or blog up the Google ladder to the first page, hopefully.
Before you research keywords decide on a niche, you need a starting point, think of something you are interested in maybe a hobby such as woodworking, if an expert at anything … fitness… you can start with something that you can write about quite readily and it will be an easier journey.
You need a starting point so look around think about what you can put a site up about… and don’t worry if you think you are not expert in anything, you know you probably are, think about what you have been good at doing during your life and you will surprise yourself and realise that you do have something to offer and can teach others about.
Are you good at / expert at scrapbooking, cooking, woodworking, photography? Do you in fact have a small business that would benefit by having an online presence? What has your life experience given you, maybe think about things you were not good at and how you learned to overcome them, this would be an invaluable source of information for others similarly afflicted.
Some points here might help you expand your ideas for a niche if you are really stuck and that is to look in book stores, magazine racks to see just what is selling well and think about what you could offer to the niche. Search through Amazon categories to find out what people are buying. There is also an option of outsourcing the content for a very minimal amount of money to get your site up and running which will give you time to sort out and get yourself acquainted with the topic.
How to Monetize the Site
Before you decide on the niche think about how you will monetize the site / blog by heading over to Clickbank and Commission Junction to check that there are products to sell on the topic. Also look through Amazon for ideas… are there any popular books or magazines being sold in a particular market? If so that is always a good sign that the topic is doing well, then you will go on to choose which keywords you want to rank for in that particular niche. You will be looking for a high search volume with as little competition as possible
Keyword research is simply looking for the popular highly searched for phrases people use in Google to find items or information on the Internet… your job is to find these and in doing so you will be in a position to make a blog that will give people what they are searching for. To do this there are free ways and paid ways… I will show you the free way first which is perfectly fine but a little more time consuming.
We will use Google keyword tool to find the popular searches for each term – word or phrase that you enter… Start here at the Google Adwords Keyword Tool – https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal
Update: The freely available Google keyword tool that I mentioned above does not exist now, the keyword planner has replaced it.
So you will need to take one more step and go sign up for an Adwords account from Google it is free to sign up and you just need a Google Gmail account. Once in Adwords use their ‘Keyword Planner’ under ‘Tools and Analysis’. From this start searching to see how many people out there want information on the niche you’re considering.
Type in a word relevant to your niche say you were going into ‘dog training’ type this in the keyword area , choose a country to target or use All Locations then hit Search.
You don’t have to find ‘Match Types’ because this search is based on ‘exact’ match. The Google tool will bring back a list of words and phrases that you can sort in order of highest search volume to lowest.
Inside the Google Planner
On the next window you see two tabs – ‘Ad group Ideas’ and ‘Keyword Ideas’ – look under keyword ideas. Now to choose the keywords that you wish to rank for… I would suggest for a start you aim for an ‘exact search over 1000 and a broad search under about 50,000 for a start. Scroll through the list to find phrases that you can use in your domain name and have the potential to describe your blog to the search engine spiders when they find you… You will be using the power of the homepage also by putting a term with high search numbers in your title phrase that is related to what you will be writing about… so at this stage pick out a few possible search phrases and save them in notepad for later reference from the keyword ideas listed as below.
Note: with regard to the keyword search numbers above. There are many schools of thought about this but I think it is sensible that if you are starting out maybe keep your broad search around 30,000. When you have has some success driving traffic to your site then start adding terms with a higher search result.
Google Insights for Search
When you are looking at the possibilities from the list of terms you are presented you can also use Google Insights to check them out, this tool will present you a graph which indicates how the keyword Phrase has been doing over about the course of a year.
To do this with your mouse hover near the keyword on that Google list – just to the side you will see a magnifying glass, click on that and a new window will open and you will be presented with a graph. Just check this graph to see that the term is not trending down over time.
Checking the Competition
You can also check out the sites from within the Google Keyword Tool. To do this – when you find any keyword that you think has possibilities Google it by just clicking on the keyword right there within the tool and you will be taken to the Google search page. Once there you can check the extent of your competition on that first page with the free browser plugin called ‘SEO for Firefox’ that you can download and install from http://tools.seobook.com/firefox/seo-for-firefox.html. Now if your browser does not support this, and the new Firefox version does not at the moment you can use SeoQuake SEO extension for Firefox.
With either or these tools you can check the PageRank and Pagelinks of each site. Your chances of getting onto the first page of Google are increased significantly if your competition is not all that strong so what you will be looking for is the majority of sites on that first page having PR under 4 with fewer pagelinks.
Note: To simplify things you could look at PageRank as being a measure of how popular a page is and Page Links are the number of pages that link to a site, again a measure of the popularity or authority of the site.
While you are on the Google search page looking at the page rank of your competitor, just check that there are advertisements on the right hand side panel and running across the top of the page above the organic searches… advertisements here indicate the worth of the keyword, it means someone is prepared to pay for that keyword to appear on this page which in turn can mean a highly values keyword.
There is another Google tool that is very handy and worth using in conjunction with Google Keyword Tool and that is the Google Suggests. Here you take a seed keyword and type it into Google on the search page then you will find Google will present you with a few suggestions in addition to the original word, then you can actually go through the alphabet adding each individual letter at the end of the word after a space to see just what other suggestions you can get to add to your list.
Here is how it works… if for example I was doing a search on the term – ‘Blogging’ I would first type in ‘Blogging’ (without the quote marks) to see what Google suggests, I would then take a note of anything interesting, then I would type in ‘Blogging a’ and see what is suggested, then ‘Blogging B’ and so on, continually adding to my list, that I will drop into the Google Keyword Tool later on to get the numbers on those new phrases.
This is a handy way to build your list of keyword possibilities; it is also a good source of ideas for your niche and something that you could use later on when you are looking for new posts to add to your site.
Keyword Research Software
There are a few good keyword research software and tools on the market that you can purchase for varying amounts to help you analyze competition and find keywords. These tools do the work for you quickly and a couple that I use are very effective at checking out the competition side of the top ten sites. I will detail those later, but for now this is the gist of what you need to be doing at the start and it is free.
After your Keyword Research you will need to use your found keywords, key phrases to fully optimize your site to help elevate your rankings so head over to SEO Tips for information on search engine optimization.