SEO 101: Keyword Research Simplified

SEO Advice from ArcIf you’re looking to improve your Search performance but are just getting started with SEO, my  series of SEO 101 articles may be able to help. Last time, we covered Link Building Basics. In today’s session, we’ll kick the tires on SEO Keyword Research.

Keyword Research informs all of your SEO efforts. It serves as the basis for all performance tracking. It is, in fact, the key to an entire optimization effort.

But how do you do it? How do you choose the right phrases for your goals?  What even makes a good keyword in the first place?

Let’s try to simplify.

Think of Keyword Research like this: the Search query (the keyword) is the connective tissue between the Searcher and a website. To make the Searcher connect to your website, you need to consider three key elements.


What is your website about? What are your webpages about? Start jotting down the key terms that you want to appear in the search results for and then check to see if you have the content to support them. And if you don’t, well, you better start writing! When you hear about relevancy, this is in essence what is means: is your site relevant for the terms you want to rank for?

Search Volume

In addition to relevancy, you’ll need to get a handle on what keywords are most frequently used in searches. Search Volume is Google’s measurement of how often a particular keyword is queried, and you can find it by using a free tool like the Google AdWords Keyword Tool.

Competitive Analysis

Being relevant for a highly searched keyword means nothing, however, if you can’t make a dent in the rankings. Perhaps there’s a site (or 10) that are more relevant than yours for a given keyword. You’ll need to start examining the competition, and that means evaluating the webpages that already rank for your preferred keyword(s). What does their content look like? Do you think you can displace their listings? If not, consider optimizing for a similar keyword with less competition for short-term growth while optimizing for the hyper-competitive keyword over the long-term.

Relevancy, popularity and attainability should guide all of your decisions when deciding which keywords to target.

Now, go do some keyword research and get your optimization efforts started!

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