Selecting the right keywords to get visitors to your website is one of the key aspects of Internet marketing.
If not done correctly, you will waste time, resources and money ranking for search terms that are either too difficult or do not provide enough quality traffic to generate revenue.
There are a few basic steps you need to go through when hunting out the keywords you are going to use on your website.
Today we are going to cover:
What makes a good keyword good, and what makes a bad keyword bad?
There are a few criteria that we can use to find good keywords. These include:
What defines too much competition? There are no hard and fast rules. But using the Competition Checker in Traffic Travis will give you a good idea of whether a keyword has significant competition.
Traffic Travis uses multiple factors to calculate competition, and provides a difficulty rating on a scale from "very easy" to "very difficult."
In this example, (found using the Traffic Travis Competition Checker, under the SEO tab) you can see that "dog training" is going to be very difficult to rank for, while 'problems with training dog' will be much easier.
There is no point ranking highly for a keyword if nobody is searching for it. Generally, the higher the search volume the better.
However, this needs to be balanced with the level of competition. A good minimum to aim for is 200 global "exact" searches per month (we will cover what "exact" keywords are in a moment).
Most websites are based on a theme or niche. You want the keywords you are building your site around to be relevant to the topic.
For example, if your website is about dog training, then keywords about training your hamster are going to be of little use.
There is a big difference between browsers and buyers. You want keywords that attract buyers (for higher conversion rates) rather than those who are simply browsing for free information — even though the search volume for buyer keywords is usually much lower.
An example of a browsing keyword would be "free dog training tips," compared with the buyer keyword "best dog training book."
If you are going to be marketing your website using pay-per-click advertising like Google AdWords, then you want keywords that won't cost you a fortune to build an ad campaign on. If your site sells a $30 product, then it's going to be hard to make money if you are paying $5 a click.
On the other hand, if you plan on monetizing your site with pay-per-click advertising like Google AdSense, then you want keywords that command a decent price, since you will get a portion of that cash.
Traffic Travis features a powerful keyword research tool that offers different ways of searching for keywords.
From the dashboard, click on "Research" then "Keywords" to open up the Keyword Analysis. You can then search for keywords using a "broad," "exact," or "phrase" search.
Access this Keyword Match Type' menu by clicking Advanced Settings from within the Traffic Travis Keyword Tool (see image below).
"Broad" keywords are not very specific. If you use this option, Traffic Travis will display keywords that are loosely related to your initial phrase or word. Searches for these deliver the widest possible range of results. However, broad keyword searching can also deliver less-relevant keyword ideas.
"Phrase" searches contain your initial phrase, but with other possible words included. This brings more specific and more-targeted results than a broad search.
For example, a search about "dog training" could bring back results on "dog obedience training" or "dog training for obedience."
"Exact" keyword searches contain your initial phrase in its exact order, and are the best for finding closely related keywords that you might also rank for. Use the Traffic Travis keyword tool set to "Exact" (like in the picture above) for the most accurate search volume results and best potential keywords.
Below is an example of "Exact" keywords found by Traffic Travis for the phrase "dog training." Notice how they are all highly relevant to the original phrase. Also notice that "dog training collars" is one of those potential buyer keywords you should look out for; it has 8,100 global searches per month (well over our 200 count minimum) and mentions a specific product type.
Read the Google AdWords' guide to keyword matching options to learn more about broad, phrase, and exact matches and how they relate to keyword research.
If you are building a site based on a local business or service, or specific to a particular area (city, region, or country) then you want to be searching for keywords that are localized.
From the "Keyword Match Type" menu under Advanced Settings in the Keyword Research Tool, you can pick keywords by country and language too (see image below).
For example, if you have a website called "Dog Training in California" it would make sense to search for keywords related to dog training coming only from American search engine users. Traffic Travis allows you to select keywords based on location and language.
For those of you building a website in a language other than English, make sure you tell Traffic Travis what language you want keywords for.
Now that you know how to pick keywords, it is important to build those keywords into your site. Picking a domain name (e.g., www.example.com ) with your main keyword phrase is one way to increase your chance of ranking well in the search engines.
There are two schools of thought about domain names and keywords:
Exact Match Domain: If you are using this method, ideally you want to pick a domain name that is an exact match for the keyword you are targeting.
Example: If your keyword is "dog training collar," then you would want to purchase the domain "www.dogtrainingcollar.com."
The problem with this method is that in 2012 Google made its "Exact Match Domain," aka EMD, update to the ranking algorithms. It was in response to low-quality sites ranking at the top of the search results just because they had acquired the domain that matched their keyword exactly.
Later, Google slowly dialed back this penalty and many quality EMD sites regained their rankings. So, this method still works but just know going in that this is something on Google's radar.
Branded Domain: With this method, you want to pick a domain name that reflects the name of your site/business. You can still include keywords, but they shouldn't be exactly the same.
You still get exposure to the keywords, but you avoid over optimization, which can lead to a Google penalty (we'll explain more later).
Things to Avoid: When picking a domain name, do your best to avoid dashes between the words. Tacking on meaningless numbers or letters before and after the keyword is another thing you shouldn't attempt.
Traffic Travis has a domain finder tool that enables you to look up domain names based on your keywords. You can instantly see whether the .com, .net, or .org domain name extensions are available to buy.
To do this, access the Domains tool from the Research panel of Traffic Travis, and then add keywords you want to consider domain names for. You will see something similar to the image below:
You can access the Domains tool from the Research panel of Traffic Travis. You can even shortlist and purchase domains from within Traffic Travis — this is a very useful time-saving feature.
You may also notice that Traffic Travis only offers to show .com, .net, or .org domain names. These top-level domains (TLDs) are the best for getting high search engine rankings, especially if your site is aimed at a global or US-based market.
Here are the answers to the most common questions or problems that people experience when researching keywords with Traffic Travis:
To recap, today we have covered:
In the next newsletter, we'll take a look at optimizing your website content for high search engine rankings.
In the meantime, have a go with the Traffic Travis keyword research tool and find some great keyword ideas for your website!
Wishing you every success, till next time,
The professional edition of Traffic Travis can find keywords 10 times faster than the free version.
With the free version, you are limited to five keywords per search using the keyword tool (and 200 results per search). Professional lets you enter up to 200 "seed" keywords at a time, and gives you up to 2,000 results per search.
"I doubled my SE traffic in just 2 weeks!"
I'm a full time SEO consultant, currently working with a couple of SEO firms and earning a very decent income, but I wouldn't be if it wasn't for Traffic Travis, which is, in my humble opinion, the best SEO research and tracking tool.
In December (2010) I decided to test my theoretic knowledge and create a micro niche site. I thought it would be pretty easy to rank it.
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