We’ve been talking a lot about competitor analysis, link building, content strategy, and other various online marketing topics. But let’s back up for a post and look at the foundation of any online marketing campaign, whether it is content, search, or social. Keyword research is absolutely essential – if you don’t know what keywords to target, then you might be throwing money into marketing without getting the results you want. Here are some tips for keyword research that should help you find the right keywords for your business – or your client’s.

How to Find Great Keywords for Your Business

There are lots of great tools out there that can help you find keywords for your business. Here are just a few.

Google AdWords

Google AdWords is a staple when it comes to keyword research. You can enter one or more keywords that you think are good for your business and use it to come up with more keyword ideas.

Not only will it give you keyword ideas, it will also give you an idea of how many times a keyword is searched globally and locally. Note that these are approximate numbers – instead of thinking keyword A gets 110,000 searches a month and keyword B gets 60,000, just think keyword A gets more than keyword B.

SEMrush

Not sure where to begin when it comes to keywords? If you know a few of your competitors’ websites, you can enter them into SEMrush for a quick overview of their top keywords for both organic and paid search campaigns.

If you want full reports, you’ll have to sign up for a membership, but if you just want some starter ideas, you’ll be set.

Backlink Reports

If you’re looking for a more visual clue into the keywords your competitors are using, the CognitiveSEO’s own Backlink Reporting tool will show you your competitors’ most used anchor text cloud.

This not only shows you the variety in their keywords, but also how they spread their keywords out between brand name, products, keywords, and keyword phrases.

How to Use the Keywords You’ve Found

Once you have a great set of keywords to work with, you can then look at ways of applying them to your online marketing strategy. These include the following.

  • Placing applicable keywords in page the SEO titles and meta descriptions of your website’s pages. If you have tons of webpages and don’t have the time to optimize them all, then at least keyword optimize the homepage and the top 50 pages, especially ones you will be building links to with specific keyword anchor text.
  • Creating content around your keywords. You may have a hard time ranking your main website for engagement rings, but you might find it easier to rank for a blog post entitled “How to Choose the Perfect Engagement Ring” instead. Just make sure your content leads readers back to your main website.
  • Adding keywords in your social profiles and social status updates. Social search is becoming bigger – make sure that your social profiles and status updates come up when people are searching for targeted keywords by including them in your social profile bios and status updates that you post.
  • Using keywords as anchor text. Last, but not least, use your top keywords and phrases as anchor text during link building. Note that you should always have variety and also use your brand name and other variations of keywords as anchor text, but definitely build some links using very specific anchor text for keywords you want to rank for.

There are many more ways to use keywords, but if you utilize these, you’ll be well on your way to a successful online marketing campaign.

How to Evaluate Their Effectiveness

The best way to find out if your keywords choices are effective is to use Google Analytics on your website. This will show you how many visitors come to your site through search using particular keyword phrases.

Better yet, if you have goals set up, you can find out which keywords lead to the most conversions (mailing list signups, lead form submissions, sales, etc.) on your website. Knowing this can help you focus on the best keywords for your business.

What are your favorite keyword research tips and strategies?

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