Keyword Research

All SEO begins with keyword research and for the most part centers around Google’s keyword research tool, the Google Keyword Planner. In this tool Google will tell us the average number of searches any keyword receives each month, in our country of choice. This is amazing data to have access to!

Step one of our keyword research process is to write down a list of all of the keywords you think might be relevant to your site. Each keyword is a phrase that someone might enter into Google when searching for something for which you want your site to rank.

When you’re making this list, be sure to include every variant you can think of: include singular and plural versions, include common features, etc. For example, if I wanted to do keyword research on headboards, my starting list might look something like this:

  • headboards
  • headboard
  • head boards
  • head board
  • modern headboards
  • modern headboard
  • traditional headboards
  • traditional headboard
  • wooden headboards
  • wooden headboard
  • wood headboards
  • wood headboard
  • bed headboards
  • etc.

There are several tools out there that can help you expand your list (which we’ll talk about in Other Keyword Research Tools), but for now let’s just begin by using your brain.

You can make your list as long as you want — by including all the variations you’ll be learning how people typically search for the product, service, or information that your site offers. You’d be amazed at how often the language customers use is different from what business owners think they should be using.

A couple of examples: I worked on a large site that insisted on using the term “mobile phone” throughout their site. About 10 seconds of keyword research showed that in the US, “cell phone” was massively more popular. In fact, I calculated that the site would make about an extra $5 million per year just by switching from “mobile phone” to “cell phone” throughout their site. Another site I worked on had a great selection of accent pillows for couches. Some quick research showed that the phrase “decorative pillows” had six times the search volume. The point here is that the language used by the majority of potential customers is not always what you, or your bosses, think it is.

Remember, there’s no cost to anything in the keyword research stage, so feel free to include the most obscure variants you want. Cover all of the bases and save yourself regrets down the road.

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