Potential customers that are looking for the product or service that your company
supplies are going to find your web site by entering keywords in Google, Yahoo or
other search engines. Keyword research allows one to understand what these keywords
are so that you can work on making sure that your customers are finding your web
site using search engines.
A common misconception amongst many is to say “When I enter my company name in Google,
Yahoo and other search engines we are on top position, so we must be doing all right
on the web”. Unless they know your company already, these are not the keywords that
the customer is entering to find you.
Keyword research example
For example, if the customer is looking for headsets for their telephone, they are
going to enter “telephone headsets” or “phone headsets” as keywords in the search
engines. If they know of a particular make of headset, then they may enter “Plantronics
headsets” as a keyword using the name of a popular manufacturer. During our keyword
research we need to look at how many web pages Google and other search engines finds
for these different keywords.
When you enter telephone headsets into Google as a keyword, the search engine will
bring up search results containing the word telephone and the word headsets. The
total number of search engine results can be misleading. As part of your keyword
research, please enter the keyword search strings in inverted commas “telephone headsets”.
Google will now only search for relevant pages where the two keywords occur together.
For the keywords “telephone headsets” Google comes up with 135,000 search results,
for “phone headsets” it comes up with 177,000 search results and for the keywords
“Plantronics headsets” it comes up with 95,500 search results. This keyword research
signifies the competition that you are facing in trying to get to the top of Google
with these keywords and increase the traffic to your site. If you are operating
in a niche area for example supplying “low cost telephone headsets” then there are
only 5 search results for these keywords so your task is less daunting.
Summary: Keyword research for Search Engines
Choose your target keywords carefully. Put yourself in your customers position and
think of what keywords they may be using when searching for you on Google, Yahoo
or other Search Engines.
Having chosen a list of target keywords we don’t know at present is how many people
are using the keywords that we have chosen to actually search for our products or
services using Google, Yahoo or other search engines. If we knew the keyword popularity
then we could optimise for the keywords that is used a large number of times and
ignore the ones that is hardly used in searches.
Keyword Popularity tool
Now Google provide a handy keyword popularity tool that will give exactly this information.
This Google keyword popularity tool analyses all the keywords entered by different
users the search engine and gives a monthly search for volume for the keyword or
key phrase that you are interested in. This tool gives both global and local monthly
This keyword popularity tool also gives other useful information such as variations
in search volumes over the year. So for example a keyword of phrase like “Christmas
presents for men” would be popular in the months running up to Christmas, keywords
such as “birthday presents for men” would be popular all year round.
This keyword popularity tool also presents a graphical display of how much competition
there is for a particular keyword, i.e. how many search results that Google will
bring up for that keyword when a user enters it into the search engine.
Summary: Keyword Popularity for Search Engines
Using this keyword tool we can optimise our target keywords to actually reflect what
people are looking for using Google, Yahoo or other search engines.
Having chosen some keywords that are likely to be used by customers looking for our
products using Google, Yahoo and other search engines and checked how frequently
they are being used, we will now need to assess the amount of competition we now
face for each of our keyword choices. This information about the keyword competition
will allow us to gauge the amount of work required to come to first page of search
engine results in Google for that keyword or phrase.
There are quite a few different ways in which this keyword competition can be assessed.
However it is important not to get too obsessed with analysis of the keyword competition.
Understanding your market and your main competition on the web will give you an insight
in how to proceed.
Keyword competition - using search engines
A quick way to assess keyword competition is to enter it in Google and see the amount
of search engine results that Google brings up. For example, when the keyword cheap
headsets is entered in the search box, the Google search engine brings up 1,150,000
search results. If “cheap headsets” in inverted commas are entered then Google brings
up only 12600 that keyword.
Other ways of analysing keyword competition is to look at the number of sites that
have the keyword that we want to use in their page title. The Google search engine
allows you to find this out by using the search string allintitle:cheap headsets.
This shows that there are 9150 web pages where the keywords “cheap headsets” is in
the title string, indication that the designers behind these sites have spent some
time and effort on getting to the top of the Google search engine and a measure of
the keyword competition we face.
Another detailed search command that Google supports is “allinanchor:cheap headsets”
which returns the number of web pages that have this key phrase in the links back
to their sites.
We can use any of these to see where the keyword competition is going to be highest
or lowest for each of our target ones.
Summary: Keyword competition for search engines
We can use any of the methods above to see where the keyword competition is going
to be highest or lowest for the ones we have chosen. This will allow us to focus
on the ones where there is least competition.