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Sun, Sep 29, 2013 3:01 PM

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How do I find what SEO Keywords I should be using?

Keyword research is one of the most important and valuable activities in the Search Engine Marketing (SEM) field and should be the starting point of any SEM campaign. Consider it as a component of market research. Traditional Marketers would not embark on a new marketing campaign without researching their target demographic. In the world of SEM, keyword research is the bread and butter of market research. By figuring out your market's keyword demand you not only learn which words and phrases to target with your SEM initiatives, you gain insight into how your customers search for and find your website - which is sometimes surprising.

The usefulness of keyword intelligence cannot be overstated - with keyword research you can predict shifts in demand, respond to changing market conditions, and produce the products, services, and content that web searchers are already actively seeking.

Google has an online Keyword Tool that you can use to perform keyword research. With this tool you can type in an array of keywords that you think people search for in order to find a particular product or services. The Google keyword tool will show you how many people in your area and worldwide are searching for a particular keyword or phrase. You will not only receive data for the keywords that you chose, but related keywords that you may not have even considered.

Keyword research should be an interactive process. It is best to start with brainstorming, which is a great way to come up with a wide selection of relevant keywords and keyword phrases. After compiling your list, enter it into a keyword research tool.

It is important to evaluate and prioritize the results you receive from the keyword tool. Things to look at are: Search volume numbers and the level of competition for each keyword.

Keyword Strategy

It is important to know what keywords to target for each page on your website. The goal is to create an optimized page (i.e. optimized for search engines). You can do this by including the right keywords throughout your copy, in your title tags as well as meta descriptions and alt image attributes.

As a general rule of thumb, long tail keywords (i.e. keywords or phrases, containing 3 or more words) are easier to rank for than common, singular words such as ‘swimsuit’ because they are less competitive in the market place. Your SEO strategy should include focusing on at least some keywords that have a medium or low level of competition. For smaller, low budget websites this is the easiest way to start receiving traffic from search engines, as it takes less time to rank for long tail keywords. Taking advantage of long tail keywords in the beginning allows you to still bring in some traffic while you continue to work on ranking for broader, more common words and phrases.

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