Keyword research was among a few things I never really understood how to do when I first began PPC campaigns. I basically used the keyword tools in Google and Yahoo, dumped a bunch of keywords into my account, and later refined my lists, deleted poor keywords and raised bids on better performing keywords. It was a ‘wait and see’ strategy.

This strategy wasn’t really working out too well. I was spending more time refining my keywords afterwards than if I were to spend a little time doing keyword research before activating my PPC account. In this post I’d like to give you some insight from Wordtrackers Guide to keyword research case study on the best ways to approach keyword research in order to get the best results in the least amount time (and with the least amount of work!).

As with any marketing project, it’s important to understand your prospects before you begin doing any work on your account. Here I’ll outline a three step process to help you achieve keyword research success.

Step One: Understand Your Prospects

According to Bryan Eisenberg from Future Now, Inc., there are two types of buyers:

  1. Methodical/Logical

How to improve my dogs’ diet? How to find healthy dog food?

What is the highest quality dog food? What are the ingredients?

  1. Emotional and Relational

Best tasting dog food, best performing dog food, healthiest dog food, extending a dogs life.

“The terms typed into search engines reveal a surprising amount about visitor intent” So think about your visitors intent. Add keywords that closely match your visitors’ intent.

Step Two: Think Broad and Wide

Once you have found a few keywords that match your visitors’ intent, implement those into your keyword research tool to research more specific terms that match your business. Target quality keywords over quantity says Bryan.

Step Three: Prioritize Your Keywords for Conversions

Prioritize the keywords not just on the amount of potential traffic, but by clear intent. “They asked and you had their answers; that’s how to convert”, Says Bryan Eisenberg.

A great example that Wordtracker gives of good keyword research is a woman selling vegetarian dog food. She performed keyword research on “vegetarian dog food” but Wordtracker didn’t show many searches for that particular keyword within the past 60 days. But what she realized by doing her keyword research was that people weren’t looking up vegetarian dog food, they were looking up “healthy dog food” or “natural/organic dog food.” These were additional recommended keywords Wordtracker retrieved from her original ‘vegetarian dog food’ keyword.

Through Wordtracker she was able to determine her top three most frequently searched keywords. Therefore, she included those top three keywords in her titles, alt text, landing page copy and descriptions. Wordtracker also helped her find her top competitors in addition to tie-ins and partnerships with sites in other areas that are relevant to her product.

According to Ken McGaffin from Linking Matters, there are four steps to initiate your keyword research. They are as follows:

  1. Build an initial set of keywords.
    • Find out which keywords have the most traffic potential but that are closely related to your product/services. Remember, think quality not quantity! With keyword research tools you can find the most popular keywords and how most people spell them. For example: is it ‘dog food’ or ‘dogfood’ that people type in?
  2. Conduct research on search engines using these new keywords.
    • By doing searches using these new keywords and analyzing the results, you can quickly build a clear picture of the online marketplace and define who your competitors are.
  3. Scan the sites returned in the results for more keywords and content ideas.
    • Browse the sites you have identified and draw up two lists: Keyword phrases they use and ideas for content and articles that you could write.
  4. Build a definitive list of popular keywords and merge these with content ideas.
    • Enter your newly expanded list of keyword phrases into Wordtrackers exact/precise search tool and you’ll get counts of how often each keyword phrase has been used.

With these steps you should be well on your way to performing better keyword research, and getting more in return for it. If you haven’t read the Wordtracker Guide to Keyword Research yet I highly recommend that you do! Below I have listed several other free keyword research tools that may help you along in the process.