Home >> Keyword Strategy and Research >> Keyword Research

Get Inside Your Consumers Mind With Keyword Research

In Internet marketing, keywords are the words and phrases people use to represent needs, desires, problems, solutions, products, and services when they use search engines to look for information.

If you found this site through a search engine, you used keywords to find it. Maybe you searched for keyword marketing, keyword research, or another related phrase related to keywords or Internet marketing.

Keywords are the words and phrases people use to find information on the web when they use search engines. It is that simple.

How do you determine keywords?

You already have the basic keyword research process in your mind. Keywords enable you to function during the day. You may associate keywords with different times of day:

  • Business attire, breakfast cereal, traffic jams, computer crashes, fast food, happy hour, Monday Night Football, homework

Holidays and seasons:

  • Halloween candy, Spring Break, ski vacations, beach houses, Christmas presents,Bat-Mitzvahs.

Shopping trips:

  • Discount DVD players, leather jackets, hair care products, children's toys, health food, marketing books.

In each and every case, your thoughts, needs, problems, and desires are associated with keywords. In the off-line world they may remain in your mind or be sculpted in into sentences used in conversation with coworkers, store clerks or family members.

Internet search engines are still primitive creatures. They can't read your mind, they can't talk to you, and most can't even make sense of a question you type in the search box. They simply accept keywords and phrases that you type in the search box and try present a list of web pages that best match your search.

Most people think and process information in similar ways. When they want to use an Internet search engine to find information, they have to use keywords.

When you perform keyword research, your job is simply to put yourself in the shoes of your site visitors and identify keywords that they will enter into search engines to find that which your site offers.

  • What brand names will people find on your site?
  • What categories of products, services, or information are on your site?
  • What problems can your site or that which it offers solve?
  • What seasons is your site associated with?
  • Is your site relevant to any particular geographical region?

At this point your job is to brainstorm. Think of ALL the different ways people may search for your site. Anything goes in the brainstorming session. Record all your ideas. Identify single words and phrases up to five or six words that people may use to search for your site.

So far, the process is creative, straightforward and easy.

The next step in the initial stage of the keyword research process is to determine what people actually search for using one of the following keyword research tools.

Overture keyword tool (free)
WordTracker (Requires a paid subscription)

Simply plug the keywords from your brainstorming session into one or both of these tools and identify those that show up in the database of keywords. Chances are some of your keyword combinations will not show up in the database, but related terms will. You may discover novel search patterns you'd never even thought of.

Take your time, pick as many keywords as you'd like. Once you've got your list you are done with the preliminary keyword research. Depending on the size of your site, you may narrow down your keyword list at a later date, and may delete some of the most competitive keywords. For now, keep them all in a text file, spreadsheet or database if you've got one handy.

Search engines are primitive creatures. They use two primary methods to return search results.

  • Advertising engines (like Overture and FindWhat) award rankings to the highest bidder. Editors review the listings for relevancy but cold hard cash determines who comes up first.
  • Real search engines (like Google) scour the Internet for web pages and analyze the text on and links between web pages. Rankings are based primarily on the text on the web page and the links that point to that web page.
  • Other pay per click programs like Google AdWords require payment for listings but base your exact placement on a combination of factors which includes but is not solely dependent on the amount you pay.

It's time to make a choice

If you have no plans to make immediate changes to your site and just want to get the paid keyword ads up and the traffic flowing, go check out the section on buying keywords.

If you are planning to build a new site, go check out keyword wireframing and keyword optimization. If you want to increase you chances of attaining loads of free search engine referrals, the search engine optimization process should be an integral part of the planing process.

Remember if you target the wrong keywords, ALL of your optimization efforts will be in vain, and you will waste a ton of money buying keywords. Do it right the first time!

Back to top of page

Special Reports
Reader Testimonials