This is a guest post by Wes Burns. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
Knowing how to find valuable keywords is one of the most critical skills to being a successful webmaster. You can be competent in SEO and have great writing skills, but knowing how to find valuable keywords will bring you (and your website) to new levels of profitability.
Identifying valuable keywords is a skill that few people have. Take the time to develop this skill and your skills will be in high demand. Not only will you be able to make your own websites profitable, but you will find it easier to land jobs within the SEO industry.
1. Identifying Search Terms that Indicate Intent
There are certain keywords that indicate visitors are willing to take a desirable action when they reach your website. Knowing how to identify buy-now terms is part common sense and part experience. If you get into the habit of thinking about which terms indicate intent, you will get better at it over time.
Let me explain what I mean by “intent.” The nature of some search terms indicate that people are searching with the intent to purchase, download or sign up for something. For example, a person searching for “buy computers online” is obviously interested in spending money on a new computer. This search term is much more valuable (per visitor) than a search term like “how do computers work.”
Obvious keywords that indicate intent tend to be highly competitive. The “buy computers online” example from above is dominated by big-name companies and well-known brands. The trick is to find keywords that aren’t as obvious as “buy computers online.” It is much easier to go after smaller niches and dominate those keywords.
For example, a niche in the general computer sales category could be a website that specializes in gaming computers or a website that specializes in computers for people with disabilities. These are just random ideas off the top of my head, but that’s what I mean when I say “niche.” Every industry from online file storage to credit card applications has specific niches that you can attack.
2. Use the AdWords Tool to Find High Volume Low Competition Terms
High volume, low competition search terms are the holy grail of internet marketing. The Google AdWords Keyword Tool can be used to research the search volume and competition of any keyword in the world. Just type in a keyword and Google will return a report of how many people search for that keyword every month and how competitive that keyword is.
The Keyword Tool is often criticized for being inaccurate, but it will give you a pretty good idea of what to expect from various keywords. You will see the most accurate results if you uncheck the “broad” option and check the “exact” match option.
You probably won’t stumble on any massive keywords with little competition, but that’s OK. You can still make plenty of money by searching for intent keywords (explained above) that have low or medium competition. Keywords that indicate intent do not need the massive search numbers that generic search terms require for profitability.
3. Use Google Webmaster Tools to Find Breakthrough Keywords
Google Webmaster Tools is a must-have for internet marketers. You can set up a Webmaster Tools for free on any website. Just visit Google and search for “Webmaster Tools” to find the official link. You can then sign up for an account at the Google website.
Next, log in to your Webmaster Tools account and notice the “search queries” section. Click on the “more” link to see a full report of search terms and your average ranking for each term. You can use this report to find high volume search terms that you are really close to breaking in to prime positions.
For example, I recently found a search term at one of my websites that generates 75,000 impressions per month with an average ranking of 9.5. This is a keyword that I am already ranking well for but it needs a little boost. If I can get into the top 3 for this keyword, I’ll have a significant bump in traffic.
Breakthrough keywords are nice because it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to improve their rankings. If you’re ranking anywhere from 5 through 15 for the term, it means Google likes the page at least a little. Add a little content to that page, send a couple of internal links to that page and build a couple of external links to that page.
Breakthrough keywords are valuable because you can easily improve page rankings at minimal cost to you. You are not starting from scratch on a new keyword; you are improving upon a page that is already ranking well for that keyword. In other words, you get a great return on your investment when you invest in breakthrough keywords.
About the Author – Wes Burns is a tech writer and full time internet marketer. His latest project, www.OnlineFileStorage.com, is devoted to all things related to storing and backing up data in the cloud.