If you don’t know what searchers are looking for, it’s hard for you to design your pages to be found by them. That’s why keyword planning is so important. Once you’ve coaxed the search engines to index your pages, it’s time to figure out what words you want to put on them.
Many free techniques exist to get your list of keywords going. You can brainstorm with your colleagues, check your existing search referrals, and look at the words on your competitors’ pages. By deciding which words are the important ones to target, you set your priorities for optimizing the content on your pages. But how do you know which ones are the most important?
That’s where keyword research comes in. Keyword research tools tell you how many searchers use your keywords.
Time was that Yahoo! offered the pre-eminent free keyword tool that showed you how many times a particular keyword was used the previous month. Unfortunately, Yahoo! stopped updating its tool early in 2007 it now yields an error when you try to use it. Problems for our penny-pinching heroes.
To fill the void, Trellian is offering a free version of its well-respected Keyword Discovery tool. Keyword Discovery is updated frequently, and does everything that Yahoo!’s tool used to do, except that there’s no way to project real keyword demand from its numbers, unless you upgrade to one of its paid offerings. Still, it gives you some idea of the relative popularity of different keywords and is a big help in determining keyword variations.
You can sign up for a free trial at Wordtracker, but that’s not a long-term solution. Google’s Keyword Tool can show you variations on the keywords that you enter to give you new ideas. We can show you step-by-step how to use Google’s Keyword Tool to forecast your keyword demand.
No matter what tool you use, coming up with the right list of keywords is critical preparation for the next step, optimizing your content.
Want more tips to raise your Internet marketing success? Check out Search Engine Marketing, Inc., which contains a complete step-by-step program for successful search marketing for your business. For more ways to improve your overall Internet marketing, take a look at Do It Wrong Quickly, an indispensable guide to the new ways of marketing on the cheap.