How to Do Your Own Keyword Research

by | May 6, 2014 | Marketing and Sales Blog Posts

keyword research

Keyword research determines your SEO success – but it doesn’t need to be complicated. I’ve created a concise guide, to explain exactly how to do your own keyword research. It’s easy, effective, and requires just 3 short steps to keyword success!

Step 1: Choose your short-tail keywords

To start your own keyword research, you need to define a handful of short-tail keywords. These are the words which are most relevant to your business; and most likely to attract the right type of people to your website. That means people that care about your business, and may end up as customers. There are two main ways to define short-tail keywords:

Your products and services

Choose phrases that most accurately reflect your products. If you sold secondhand cars, your keyword phrases might be used cars, cars for sale and, obviously, secondhand cars.

Your audience

What does your audience care about? In the case of the used car dealer, potential customers might be searching for advice – with phrases like dead car battery, scrap car value or part exchange. Whilst not directly searching for your products, these visitors could still become customers.

Using these sources, brainstorm a short list of potential keywords. You shouldn’t have any more than 5-6 keywords, to avoid your efforts becoming too diffuse.


Step 2: Search for long-tail variants

Short-tail keywords drive the most traffic, because they’re the most commonly-used search terms. Unfortunately, this also makes them the most competitive. Even with a sizeable marketing budget, you may not be able to compete with the giants in your industry – so we need to look to the long-tail. Long-tail keywords are slight variations on your short-tail keywords, like these:

Short-tail keyword: cars for sale

Long-tail keywords: cars for sale in New York, cheap cars for sale, best value secondhand car

These terms are more obscure, and drive less traffic as a result. Whilst this may seem like a negative, long-tail keywords are much less competitive, and more likely to convert. These search terms require greater knowledge, and mean that your visitor is closer to actually buying a product. In other words, they often represent a much better ROI than short-tail keyword phrases.

There are a number of ways to discover long-tail keywords:

  • Google Search Results

    Search for your short-tail keywords, and note down Google’s own long-tail suggestions.

  • Online tools

    Websites like Ubersuggest will analyze search engine results for your keyword, and bring back a list of long-tails.

  • Google Analytics

    GA allows you to monitor the keywords that bring visitors to your website. Identify the long-tail keywords, and optimize your content for them.

Step 3: Check for competition and search traffic

It’s likely that you’ll come across thousands of long-tail keywords. In order to choose the best ones for your business, we need to get a bit more scientific – and that means turning to Google.

Google’s AdWords tool allows you to do your own keyword research, and view search traffic and competition. Keywords that generate a lot of searches each month will show high levels of traffic. Similarly, keywords that are used by lots of businesses will show up as Highly competitive. The best keywords will generate lots of traffic, without being too competitive. These keywords are extremely lucrative, but relatively rare. They require some effort to discover, but once you do – your business will see huge increases in traffic, leads and sales.

Doing your own keyword research is a powerful way of boosting your online success. Best of all, it’s relatively affordable, extremely effective, and perfect for achieving a cost-effective increase in your SEO efforts.

How do you do your own keyword research? Let me know in the comments!

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