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How to Conduct Keyword Research

One of the questions I’m most often asked is how I perform keyword research. 

In this article, I will explain how I personally perform my own keyword research as well as some alternative methods. 

Let’s begin with an explanation how most people do it and why this is a BAD idea. 

First, most people use the Overture suggestion tool. This is a free solution which does give some useful info… if you know how to find it. I will explain this in a moment. 

I do want to stress why I don’t personally care for this. 

Keyword research is the foundation for your search engine optimization efforts. These are the VERY WORDS you are trying to have the engines rank you highly for. In my mind, this leaves little room for error, and by using the Overture suggestion tool, you are certainly leaving room for error. 

Let me explain… 

Overture assigns a search count to each one of the terms in their database. Unfortunately, these numbers are skewed. When ANY automated keyword search tool is used to query their DB for keywords, their numbers for that search term also increase. By inflating these numbers, it’s giving the keyword searcher false data. You see, the goal is to get the data on searched terms from the search engines, not by people researching them. 

Another downfall to the Overture system is that the search terms are often mixed up from the originally searched term. For instance, if I were to search for ’24 hour fitness’, I may actually get a result that shows ‘hour fitness 24’. If you optimized a page for the mixed up term, and you wonder why you’re getting little traffic (but have a number 1 ranking on that term), it’s because that term is very rarely searched for, despite what Overture may show. 

There are other negatives associated with the Overture keyword search tool, but the two I presented should be sufficient to warrant you to look for alternatives. 

Before I proceed, I do want to tell you that some innovative entrepreneurs have come up with solutions that use the Overture database in a fashion that’s MUCH better than using the database directly. 

I’ve listed them below. I suggest you check them out for yourself. I own them, and have used them in the past. 

Product Idea Evaluator - http://www.productideaevaluator.com/ 
Niche Finder - http://www.nichemarketresearch.com/ 
Better Keywords - http://www.searchguild.com/utils.html 

Onwards… 

This is how I personally do my own keyword research. 

It’s actually simple, but does require a paid version of http://www.WordTracker.com

For my most common use, I will use the ‘Keyword Universe’ feature. Note… there are occasions where the best starting point is the ‘Comprehensive Search’. Start there if you have a very generic starting keyword. 

Here’s what I do… 

I input my starting keyword into the Keyword Universe search box. I then drill down in the results that appear below this box and find the top 3-5 terms that best fits what I’m looking for. I then click on the first of those 3-5. All terms that are actually search on are presented in a results column on the right hand side of the screen. Beginning at the top, I navigate through each of the resulting terms and add any to my list that I find will be potentially beneficial to me. Wordtracker allows you to put these keywords in a ‘basket’ in order to use them for additional research. 

Once I’ve completed going though each list (for my 3-5 terms). I will continue to the competition search function within Wordtracker. I use Google and Yahoo as my market gauge. These are the primary two search engines I generally focus on, so I want to know how I may fair in their indexes. 

Now, most people stop here, I don’t. I use the export to email function of Wordtracker and email myself the results. Once I receive the email, I import them into a program called ‘Keyword Results Analyzer’ which can be found here: http://kra.ez-search-engine-optimization.com

Once I have these imported and sorted through this software, I extract any and all keywords with a KEI score over 10. 

Now, I have a list of keywords to work with. 

If you follow my method, you will consistently find yourself using keywords that have the greatest probability for being highly ranked in the search engines.

Copyright © 2005 Keith Baxter
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This article has been authored by Keith Baxter, the founder of http://www.topkeywordlists.com. If you wish to maximize your Adsense income and learn how to drive massive amounts of traffic to your website from the search engines, visit the site now.

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