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How to Discover Keywords that Pay – A Must for any Online-Business Success

When optimizing and promoting an existing or new website, one of the key starting points is to discover key phrases that pay.


Discover Keywords that Pay 

Although you may think that you know your business well and therefore know the most popular keywords that people use to find your services or products, a simple experiment may prove you wrong.
Even if you do guess (or know) the most popular keywords, this by no means guarantees that optimizing your website for these words will take you to the top positions in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages), neither does it guarantee that the time and money spent on promotion will pay for themselves, to say nothing of showing a profit.

One of the most important qualities of smart SEO is that keyword discovery and competitive analysis should always be the starting points. 

The wisdom here is not to compete for the top search queries (as this is extremely time consuming, costly and does not offer stable positioning), but rather to find keywords that are, on the one hand, quite popular with searchers and, on the other hand,  underused by your competitors.
In this article, I will concentrate largely on the first issue - how to discover keywords that pay.

There are a number of way to do this, but a powerful and straightforward method (which is, in addition,  absolutely FREE!) is to use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool.

So without further ado, I will summarise the main steps below:
  1. Study keywords used by your top-5 competitors. For this, type in 3-5 main keywords, that you think are most relevant to your business, into Google and find your major competitors. Then in your browser view the keywords used by the competitors (In Firefox it is “View-Page Source”). Make a list of ~15-20 most popular keywords and phrases.
  2. Go to the Google Keyword Tool, choose “Descriptive words or phrases” and type in each of the keywords you found in step 1. Tick the box “Use synonyms” and hit “Get keyword ideas”. Above the result tables in the field “Choose columns to be displayed” choose “Show Estimated Avg PPC” and “Show Search Volume Trends”.
  3. For each of the studied keywords save both result tables (for the main keyword and synonyms) in csv-format, open them in MS Excel and sort data by the “Approx Avg Search Volume” column in descending order. Cut out anything with less than 300 searches a month. Also, drop all key phrases with search trends continuously declining over the year.
  4. Now, carefully look through the data, leaving only keywords and phrases relevant to your business. Do this for every keyword (and its synonyms) that you found in Step 1. Once completed, combine all csv-files into one file and, once again, sort data by “Approx Avg Search Volume”. If you have more than 150-200 key phrases with search volume over 300/month, reduce the list to about ~200 most popular (i.e. with highest number of searches).
  5. Save the resulting file as an Excel file adding seven new columns titled: “Searches/month”, “Bulk Competition”, “Direct Competition”, “Optimised Competition”, “KOI”, “KEI” and “KFI”. Here the last three stand for Keyword Opportunity, Keyword Effectiveness and Keyword Feasibility Indexes, respectively.
  6. Select the first key phrase from your file, go to Google and type your query in the following three variants: 1) “key phrase No.1″; 2) allinanchor:”key phrase No.1″ and 3) allintitle:”key phrase No.1″, where “key phrase No.1″ is the first key phrase from your table. Perform a search for all three.Google will display a number of results for all of the above requests. Write down these numbers into Columns “Bulk Competition”, “Direct Competition”, “Optimised Competition”, respectively.  Repeat this for all key phrases from your table.
  7. In the top cell (just below the title) of the columns “KOI”, “KEI” and “KFI” enter the following formulas: “=MS^2/BK”, “=MS^2/DK”, and “=MS^2/OK”, respectively. Here BK, DK and OK are the column titles (in Excel these are letters) corresponding to Bulk, Direct and Optimised Competition, respectively. Fill in those columns by highlighting the top cell (with the formula) in each column and dragging it down to the bottom of the column.
  8. Now you have to watch for 3 parameters simultaneously - Monthly Searches (MS), KEI and KFI, and, according to those, separate all the keywords into 4 groups:
    • 1st priority:  MS >1000, KEI>1000, KFI>5000
    • 2nd priority:  MS >500, 200<KEI<1000, 1000<KFI<5000
    • 3rd priority:  MS >300, 100<KEI<200, 100<KFI<1000
    • Unworthy:  MS <300, KEI<100, KFI<100The first 3 groups give you the keywords and phrases that are worthy of competition and should be used in your on-coming SEO campaign. The fourth group should be ignored.It should noted here, that the numbers for MS, Kei and KFI are approximate and empirical. This is just a guideline. If you find that somewhat bigger or smaller numbers work better for you, then by all means use your own.
  9. Finally, If after all these procedures you have found that your keyword list went down below 100 words, you can always go back to step 4 and leave more phrases with monthly searches in access of over 300.If there are no more left in that list, then you need to go back to step 2 and, by using a thesaurus, try to find more synonyms for your keywords found in step 1. Also try to find descriptive adjectives that combine well with your main keywords and make up some phrases. After you have compiled an additional list using the aforementioned approach, study each new phrase with the Google Keyword tool, as described in Steps 2 to 4. Eventually, keep only 150-200 most efficient keywords and phrases.
Thus, you have just built a list of the most popular keywords and phrases, yet the least used by your competitors, and hence are very likely to pay dividends!
The next steps are on-site and off-site optimisation, which are, however, subjects for separate articles. Watch out for those to come out soon.

Final Remark

A word of caution - The Google Keyword Tool doesn’t show the total number of natural searches, but only the number of PPC ads-based queries (so, ideally you would need to use something like  Wordtracker or a similar paid service). Though the Google tool is still a good approximation to the popularity of the natural search, because, for various reasons these are likely to be related.
Tag : TIPS
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