Starting your search for keywords and how to identify competition for each keyword
This article serves as an introduction to starting with keywords. My very first website project was about water gardening. This project remains to this day unfinished in the sense that Im still discovering new keywords for use in this project. Whatever project you start in terms of what we are discussing here it is probably that it will never end unless you choose to ignore it.
I started as most people do by guessing at what I though important keywords relative to the project were and like everybody else I came up with the obvious single keywords like:
- And many others of a similar type.
None of these however was much use as a good keyword because they were too general and made it more difficult for me to compete with other similar web pages. And in any case, as I later discovered, anybody typing a single word into a search engine is far away from any important buying decision. Such searchers are best referred to as tyre-kickers you remember when you had nothing to do and to relieve boredom you took to kicking your cars tyres just to make sure they were still there. Well thats about the same interest searchers have in you and your products when they type single keywords into the search box.
Nevertheless they were good starting points. Lets take the word ponds and build upon this by doing a bit of brainstorming. This is the kind of list I came up with (you can ignore any capitalization for the sake of search engines):
- Garden ponds
- Fish ponds
- Lily ponds
- Koi ponds
- Concrete ponds etc.
All contained the word ponds but were far more specific and probably were more like the phrases being used by real people searching the Internet for information and products associated with ponds.
I then did the same with the word pumps and came up with a list like the following:
- Submersible pumps
- Low voltage pond pumps
- Pond pumps
- Waterfall pumps
- Fountain pumps etc.
This list was becoming more useful BUT it was also becoming longer and longer.
Take note here: YOU DO NEED A LONG LIST OF KEYWORDS. If your keyword list is only 10 to 20 words you have done a pretty poor job of selecting important keywords. If you have 300 keywords then that is not too bad not good mind you.
Before the end of this book I will show you how to automate this process to remove some boredom from the exercise. At the risk of overkill I must stress this keyword selection process is critical to success.
Potentially every keyword is the basis for a separate web page. What? – 300 web pages you are saying
My answer is yes maybe you do want to do 300 web pages but not all at once. So dont be put off yet. All will become clear. One thing I promise however is the more web pages you have the more success you will enjoy. This is one more reason for being able to do web pages yourself.
If you asked a web designer to do a 300 page web for you he would want to charge you a fortune.
You’ve got your 300 keywords, what’s next?
You must now select the best keywords (those you are going to focus on initially in order to get traffic from the search engines) from this list of 300. To be able to do this you need the correct answers to two questions for each keyword:
Are real people looking for this keyword and if so how many (referred to as POPULARITY)?
How much competition in terms of web pages (SERPs) found on a search am I facing for this single keyword (referred to as COMPETITION)?
Remember you are aiming to get to position 1 on page 1 for your future web page. You hope to lead the competitors on this keyword. Take a look at this next picture and especially the top right hand corner.
This image shows what is meant by competition.
Notice that youll read results 1 10 of about 385,000 for gold fish ponds.
What this means is that Google in its database has found about 385,000 potential SERPs for the search gold fish ponds. However it is only displaying the first 10 because Google has judged these to be the most relevant youll also see that number 2 in this list of SERPs is a page from my website practical-water-gardens.com. In essence I have managed to out compete all but 1 of the 385,000 in order to get onto this first page of Google for this single search gold fish ponds.
I would like to illustrate another important point here that was touched upon earlier the search for gold fish ponds is not the same as the search for goldfish ponds. Take a look below the competition is much lower so theoretically it is easier to compete for the term goldfish ponds than gold fish ponds.
If the answer for any keyword is that lots of people are searching ( POPULARITY IS HIGH) and there are only a few competing websites (COMPETITION IS LOW) then you have found a very good keyword (maybe a gold mine in disguise) on which to focus a web page design. The brass garden fountain was one of these possibly but we only had half the story we knew there was very little competition. We did not know if it was popular.
To drive this point home here are two keywords from the early days of my water gardening project showing these two search terms garden pond designs and aquatic information:
For the term aquatic information nobody was looking. For the term garden ponds designs 48 people per day were looking on the search engines and there was hardly any competition.
The more people looking for your type of product/service/assistance who visit your web page then the greater is your chance of making that sale especially if the competition is on the low side. Finding keywords that people are using every day is thus an important objective at the start of any Internet project.
This concept of competition is easily measured and simple to understand. However its not enough to just know how competitive a keyword is we need to identify whether the market is worth competing in. Using the table above there would have been little to be gained by competing in a market for aquatic information
This second component is far more elusive and difficult to understand so the next section will delve into internet markets and what actually comprises a market in the sense of internet marketing using the search engines to drive traffic to markets we choose to participate in.