Keyword research is an integral part of any SEO campaign. I will layout a step-by-step plan below using the Google Keyword Tool for finding good keyword phrases, but let’s start with some general pointers on Keyword Research:

– Try to use keywords that are in your URL. For example if I am building links to this page, I might use the keywords “keyword research” or “Google Keyword Tool”.
– Keep keyword density around 2-3%. So if you have a 500 word article, ideally you would mention your keywords around 10-15 times maximum. Anymore and we risk “keyword stuffing” which maybe be seen as spam by the Search Engines.
– Try to target keyword phrases that get a decent amount of traffic, with low to medium competition (we will walk through a step-by-step example using the Google Keyword Tool for this later). Remember, the higher competition for a keyword phrase, the harder it will be to get ranked high in the search engines.
– Try to include your keyword phrase in the first 60 characters of your article. This is what is crawled by the Search Engines. Closer to the beginning of the article, the better.
– Use longer tailed keyword phrases. For example, if I’m optimizing for Web hosting. “Web hosting” itself would not be a good choice (too much competition); “cheap Web Hosting” would be better, but still not great. “Cheap and Reliable Web Hosting” would be best, providing search frequency is good and competition is acceptable.

Google Keyword Tool – A Step-by-Step Example

Our good friends at Google have given us a great free tool – the Google Keyword Tool! It’s the best, because it pulls information directly from Google itself, no third-party interface. You can find the Google keyword tool by searching for “Google external keyword tool” in the search engines.
The idea of this exercise is to find several keyword phrases that we can optimize our web pages and articles for. Firstly, think of the single most relevant keyword or keyword phrase applicable to the page you are doing keyword research on. Heck, seeing as this article is all about keyword research, let’s use that in our example. Here are the steps to use the keyword tool:

1. Open the Google Keyword Tool and enter your keyword phrase.
2. Fill in Captcha if applicable.
3. Click on the “competition” column heading (twice) to sort the results starting with Low competition.
4. Identify 3 keyword phrases within the Google keyword tool results that are low competition, relevant and get decent traffic (500+ searches per month).

Next, you need to analyze the data from the Google keyword tool. Here are a few options I found from the resulting search of “keyword research”. I’ll elaborate on why or why not they are good choices:

– Keyword Research – too high competition
– Free Keyword Research – Too high competition, little low on the searches too.
– How to do Keyword Research on Google – Not enough searches.
– Overture – Low competition, high searches but irrelevant!
– How to make Keywords – its good! Relevant, low competition, acceptable search volume.
– Keywords and Phrases – sure, I could include that term a few times
– Google Keyword Tool – as this article uses the Google Keyword Tool a lot, pretty relevant. Low competition and a mass of monthly searches.

Should I optimize my Pages for 1, 2, 3 Keyword Phrases?

This is essentially your call. If you can write a legible article that doesn’t sound like you are spamming your keyword, then great! This is sometimes harder than it sounds! I try to find keywords that are low competition, high volume and focus on the best keyword. In this particular instance, I would focus on the Google Keyword Tool because of the high volume of searches Google gets on this at relatively low competition.

And not by coincidence, this article has a healthy 2.1% density for the keyword phrase “Google Keyword Tool”, without sounding too spammy! Don’t ever say I don’t practice what I preach!

Stephanie is the co-webmaster of – a site dedicated to helping you build a successful website.

For more information related to this particular article, please see How to Begin a Website’s page on Keyword Research using the Google Keyword Tool

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