Keyword Research Part 3: How do I do Keyword Research?
Like a foundation for a building, there is one aspect of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that is more important than any other. Keyword research. Manually gathering all the information needed for keyword research would be prohibitively time consuming and in some cases, such as keyword popularity, impossible. Thankfully, there are people out there willing to help in a variety of ways. Some tools are free and others are not.
There are three commonly used keyword popularity tools:
• Google Adwords Keyword Tool (free)
• WordTracker (fee)
• Keyword Discovery (fee)
These are all online tools. Google is free and gets its information from Google’s own search data, but they specifically state that all results are “approximate” and many keywords have the result “Not enough data”. WordTracker and Keyword Discovery are both online tools that access a database of search data from smaller search engines. Each has a monthly fee, but keyword popularity info is pretty much impossible to come by for free, except for the Google tool. Even though the information is not entirely accurate it can give you a good idea of what keywords are worth targeting with your search engine optimization.
There are several tools available for helping determining a page’s competitive strength. Here are a few options:
• SEOmoz’s Page Strength Tool (fee)
• LifeTips Page Strength Tool (free)
LifeTips Page Strength Tool is currently free, but, as is often the case, you get what you pay for. SEOmoz’s tool is much better.
• SEOmoz’s Keyword Difficulty Tool (fee)
• SEOChat’s Keyword Difficulty Tool (free)
• Google Adwords Keyword Research Tool (free)
• WordTracker’s KEI Tool (fee)
• Keyword Discovery’s KEI Tool (fee)
• WordTracker and Keyword Discovery both offer the KEI information with their popularity research tool.
Professional SEO Experts:
If you’ve read all three keyword research articles, you may be thinking, “This is a bit over my head.” or “I don’t have time for all this.” Thankfully there are people who do this for a living. Hiring a professional SEO will save you a lot of time that would be spent learning how to do keyword research and then actually doing it. And assuming you hire a good one, they should be able to do it better than you can on your own. One potential downside of hiring a professional SEO could be the cost, but if you consider the cost to purchase all tools you’ll need just to research one site, hiring someone who already has the tools may actually end up being less expensive.
If you decide to hire someone to do keyword research or the entire SEO process, make sure you find someone who has been doing it for while. This industry has its share of “fly by night” companies. There are “professional” search engine optimizers who are really nothing more than a guy who just bought a book and set up a website and then there are companies with years of experience and practice at getting results. It may cost a little more, but if you go with the people with the experience, it will pay off in the end.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kurt Steinbrueck is the author of the Church Marketing Online blog. He has been Director of Marketing Services with Ourchurch.Com for over 5 years providing Christian search engine optimization services including services specific for church marketing solutions and private school marketing. Kurt is also a Deacon at his church.