All of the search engine optimization in the world won't bring you search engine traffic if you are not optimizing for good keywords.
Choosing the best keywords is a critical success factor for search engine optimization, and the key to choosing the best keywords is research.
Keyword research consists of two types of tasks:
1. Brainstorming keywords
2. Keyword validation
Brainstorming is a creative process where you attempt to think of new keywords that relate to your web site.
The creative process can be assisted by using resources which help to focus your mind and trigger the formation of new ideas.
Here are a few resources which are useful in the keyword research process:
Browse through the eBay categories that are relevant to your web site. Look for keywords that eBay sellers are using to highlight their goods.
You can also use eBay Pulse to discover current hot trends in various eBay categories.
Browse through the DMOZ listings for other web sites in the same categories as your web site.
Try to find the keywords that your competitors are optimizing for in their DMOZ descriptions.
Read books on topics related to your web site. As you go through each book, write down every keyword which you belive could be a good one for your web site.
Read magazines on topics related to your web site. As you go through each magazine, write down every keyword which you belive could be a good one for your web site.
Make a list of your web sites top competitors. Browse each of those web sites, making note of what keywords each of their pages is optimized for.
A thesaurus can be a useful resource for finding synonyms for keywords that you have already identified.
Google AdWords Keyword Tool
The Google AdWords Keyword Tool is designed to assist AdWords advertisers in finding keywords to advertise for, but it works almost as well for web publishers.
Once your web site has been running for some time, your web server log files become an invaluable asset for keyword research.
Using your preferred reporting tool review the keywords that actual visitors are using to find your site. You will find that you are receiving traffic on keywords that you had never thought of. Build new pages optimized for eachof those keywords.
Once you have a few pages of keywords, it's time to validate them.
Validation is a process where you attempt to identify keywords that meet two main SEO requirements:
1. The keywords should be popular with web searchers.
2. The keywords should not have strong competition from other web publishers.
Keyword validation is somewhat of a black art. Until you build a web page optimized for a certain keyword, you will never really know how competitive that keyword phrase is.
Here are a few web tools which are designed to give you guidance in validating your keywords:
- Wordstream Free Keyword Tool [review]
- Google Insights for Search [review]
- Google AdWords Keyword Tool
- Google Search Based Keyword Tool
- Google Trends for Websites [review]
- Google Trends Labs
- Google Hot Trends [review]
- Google Sets
- Google Zeitgeist
- Google Global Market Finder
- Yahoo Search Assist
- Yahoo Search Clues [review]
- Microsoft Advertising Intelligence [review]
- MSN adCenter Labs: Entity Association Graph
- MSN adCenter Labs: Keyword Group Detection
- MSN adCenter Labs: Keyword Mutation Detection
- MSN adCenter Labs: Keyword Forecast
- MSN adCenter Labs: Search Funnels
- SEOBook Keyword Suggestion Tool
- Webmaster Toolkit Keyword Research Tool [review]
- Digital Point Keyword Suggestion Tool
- Cool SEO Tool
- goRank Ontology Finder - Related Keywords Lookup Tool
- Niche Watch [review]
- NicheBot [review]
- Keyword Discovery
- Keyword Spy
- Quintura [review]
- SpyFu [review]
- Wordtracker GTrends [review]
- WordTracker Free Keywords
- Spacky [review]