Art of Keyword Research

January 15, 2010  |   Content,Keyword Research,Maximus   |   29 Comments

If you’re a small business owner and have a website, I’m sure you’ve heard of “keyword research” or at least can speculate as to what it is without me having to go in too much detail.  Let me explain it for the sake of those that would appreciate any clarification.

Everyone knows Starbucks.  Their business is coffee.  Likewise, Boeing’s business is airplanes, Microsoft’s business is software, & my business is to help other small business owners drive more traffic to their websites and convert those new visitors to increased sales.  Man, that REALLY sounds like a cheesy business pitch…I can assure you it IS!  :)

Do you know who else has a business…possibly one of the greatest businesses in the entire world?


Their business is to give their customers the best websites available on the internet for every possible keyword variation.  With nearly 70% of people flocking to Google to find their answers, it just might make sense for your business to know what the most commonly searched keywords are for your industry, yea?

The art of finding these top keywords is called “keyword research.”  Performing keyword research has a bit of an analytical approach to it, but like I said before, keyword research is an art.  Good keyword research should target 3 different types of people.

  1. People who BROWSE
    • These keywords should be a general snapshot of the company’s overall mission.
    • Example: “SEO”
  2. People who COMPARE
    • These keywords should categorize & structure the content.
    • Example: “Seattle SEO”
  3. People who PURCHASE
    • These keywords will be long -tail & extremely descriptive (i.e. “training schools for dogs to learn to sit and stay in Seattle” – these long keywords are referred to as “long-tail”)
    • Example: “Keyword Research Expert SEO in Seattle”

Bottom line is that without a good keyword research campaign, on-page SEO changes and even future link building strategies are wasted effort.  Think of it this way.  If you go overseas to a foreign country and speak a random language, you’re probably going to get a very small handful of people who speak your language.  The fact of the matter is that the majority of the population is not going to understand what you’re trying to say.  If you want people to find you on the internet, you need to be speaking their language.

The keyword research tool that I use is the Google Adwords Keyword Tool.  A great tool to use, but you need to know it’s power and also it’s limitations in order for it to be useful.

What are they saying?

How are they saying it?

In a nutshell, keyword research is the process of finding the right keywords that people are using to find websites like yours!  If you want to be found on the search engines, start with good keyword research.

About the author

Maximus Kang is the Director of SEO Strategy & Founder of Ranking Channel, a Seattle-based SEO consulting agency. With enterprise level experience at Expedia and agency experience at Optify, his SEO knowledge covers a wide spectrum. He also started his very . Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Facebook.

New to SEO? You can learn How to Win Users & Influence Google.


29 Comments for this entry

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