7 Secrets to Finding the Best Keywords

Finding the Best Keywords

Search engine optimization is constantly changing, but you still need to include keywords in your content. But how do you find the best keywords?

With the tools and tricks of experienced search engine marketers, of course. Use these secrets to find keywords that help you pull in lots of profitable traffic.

Look for Long-Tail Keywords.

Long-tail keywords are really phrases of 3 to 5 words and sometimes more. They work because people searching for longer key phrases are usually closer to the purchase stage in the buying cycle. So even though the overall search volume is lower, long-tail phrases attract targeted traffic that you really want on your website anyway.

And because long-tail keywords usually aren’t as competitive as shorter keywords, they can be much easier to rank for, meaning they are more likely to send you some traffic.

How to Find Long-Tail Keywords:

Product titles are a good place to start. Search your brainstormed list of product or service keywords in the Google Keyword Tool, making sure you’ve checked the “Exact Match” box.

Use Latent Semantic Indexing.

Known as LSI, this secret to finding the best keywords involves using related terms in addition to your main key phrases.

LSI works because search engines are getting smarter. If a page talks about cars, for example, search engines expect to see related terms like makes, models, and car parts. The more semantic words they find, the more relevant and authoritative they assume you are. So you rank better for more keywords.

How to Find Semantic Keywords:

Search your main keywords in the Google Keyword Tool with the “Broad Match” box checked. This will present a list of search queries that are similar to your keyword, often in different orders or with different word endings (such as -s, -ed, -ing). You can also brainstorm related words yourself, use a lexical database, or search in Google with a ~ before the keyword to see related results.

Keep an Eye on Trends.

Trends show you what’s popular on search. If any of the trending search queries or topics are related to your niche, or if you can effectively newsjack a trending topic, you can get a lot of traffic very quickly.

How to Find Trending Keywords:

There are a lot of tools available to help you discover trending search queries, but the most well-known is Google Trends.

Incorporate Location-Based Keywords.

Adding a country, region, state, or city name to a main keyword can help you stand out from the crowd and show up higher in local search results.

Local keywords work best when you have a physical location for your business. That way, your business shows up in Google Maps and you can encourage prospects to buy from you either in-store or online.

You can use local keywords without a physical location to capitalize on your target market’s desire to shop locally, to offer fast shipping, or if they will want to meet you face to face.

How to Find Location-Based Keywords:

Using various keyword tools, filter your results by location. Many will automatically filter by country, but try filtering by your state, city, and zip code. And don’t forget to add your listing to Google Places.

See What Works with Analytics.

If you’re already getting some traffic to your website, use your analytics data to find good keywords that are already working. Then use variations of those keywords and repeat what works. Why reinvent the wheel?

How to Find Keywords with Analytics:

Drill down until you can see just the search traffic each page gets (no direct, referral, or ad traffic). Look at the keywords that are attracting the most traffic for each individual page and across the whole website. Use these words and variants of them more often.

Prioritize Keywords According to Profit per Sale.

The best keywords attract visitors that eventually buy from you. So one of the secrets to finding great keywords is to know which phrases will affect your bottom line.

How to Find Profitable Keywords:

First, research your keywords and separate them into related lists. Then list the cost of each product or service you offer and try to determine which products might lead to a multi-item sale. Finally, use this information to determine which keywords are worth more, which of course you will you use more. This article from Search Engine Watch explains the process.

Check the Competition.

Risk-taking business owners might want to optimize for the highest competitive keywords right from the beginning, while more conservative businesses might prefer aiming for low-competition keywords and building on success over time.

Either way, it’s always a good idea to know the competition level for your keywords so understand how much work it will take to get results.

If you use a paid or in-house keyword research tool, a lot of the competition research will already be done for you. If not, use this basic method:

1. Log out of any Google properties such as Google+ or Gmail.

2. Search your keyword in Google.

3. Add up the PageRank values of the first 10 natural results. Videos are acceptable unless there are more than 10 results on the first page; in that case, do not count YouTube videos since Google owns YouTube.

4. Divide the total PageRank value by 10 to determine the average PageRank of the results for that keyword.

5. Use the table below to assign a competition level to the keyword.

Best keywords competition

The higher the average PageRank, the tougher that keyword is to rank for. When you know the competition level of your main keywords, you can organize them by color to see their competition level quickly.

A smart strategy is to choose one highly competitive keyword and several related low- and medium-competition keywords for each page to start building up authority for the high-competition keyword.

What are your secrets to finding the best keywords?

Help everybody out by sharing your experiences in the comments below!

Do you know anyone – a business owner, a marketer, a blogger – who could use these secrets to find keywords that work? Share this article with them using the social media buttons to the left. You could be helping them in a big way!