SEO Guide Chapter 3: Keyword Research

Keyword research is nothing like it used to be. Before, all you had to do was start with a single concept in mind and use a keyword tool to get a list of keywords. You would simply build a site that focused on these keywords and bam you had a site.

Nowadays, keyword research has advanced due to the introduction of the “Hummingbird” update. Instead of focusing on specific keywords, you want to focus on a topical approach.

The Importance of Concepts

If you search “sports news and highlights”, you’re probably going to land on However, ESPN has done nothing to actively market their website for those terms. Instead, Google realizes that the two concepts “sports news” and “sports highlights” both relate to ESPN and therefore, you get ESPN in the search results.

Remember, while you’ll still want to optimize your site for the best “buying” keywords, you should want to hit long-tail terms. Essentially, the days of building small affiliate websites or exact match websites is gone. Instead, you need to focus on building a brand with a broad range of concepts that target dozens of different keywords and topics.

Finding Profitable Keywords (Riches in the Niches)

At the end of the day, what matters to your business are sales. It doesn’t matter if you rank at the top of search engines if you aren’t getting sales. To find profitable keywords you need to:

1. Find keywords with a buying intent

Knowing search users’ intent is half of the battle with SEO. Ranking for “payday loans” is certainly not nearly as profitable as “get a payday loan.” Why is this? If a user is searching for payday loans, he or she might want a payday loan. On the other hand, the user could of seen an advertisement and is just looking for information about what a payday loan is.

On the other hand, when a user is searching for “get a payday loan,” he or she has made purpose clear. They want a payday loan. While ranking for both might make you money, ranking for the second term will convert much better and might be an easier team to rank.

2. Niche Context

The second aspect to finding profitable keywords is looking for niche or local keywords. For example, ranking for “plumber” isn’t going to do you any good if you live in Atlanta and the search user lives in Dallas. However, if you target keywords like “Atlanta plumber” or “Plumber in Atlanta,” you’re much more likely to convert users into customers.

Keyword Research Tools

Before Google limited their data to users, they were the single best source for keyword research. Today, there are several tools that you can use for keyword research. We recommend looking at several of these tools to find the best tool for you.

Some of the keyword research tools on the market include:

Suggestion based tools:

* Google Suggest
* Ubersuggest

Proprietary tools:

* Keyword Spy
* Wordstream
* Soovle
* SEMrush
* Google Display Planner

Of course, you can always use search engine tools like Google Adwords Keyword Planner, Google Trends, and the Bing Keyword Tool.

3 Common Keyword Mistakes to Avoid

Mistake #1 – Optimizing a page for one keyword

This strategy may have worked a few years ago but Google has really begun to target this style of SEO. Instead of focusing on one keyword, optimize your site for long-tail terms and general concepts that will bring you a significant amount of traffic.

Mistake #2 – Keyword Stuffing

Despite repeated announcements from Google against keyword stuffing, many SEOs think you still need to mention a keyword so many times in a page. What really happens is – readers are turned off by your content and Google will most likely penalize you for overusing keywords.

Mistake #3 – Falling for the Keyword Density Magic Formula

There is no magic formula as to how many times you need to use a keyword in your content. Instead, use a keyword as many times as needed for your content to read natural to your users.

Keyword research is vital to the success of your SEO efforts. While keyword research isn’t what it once was, you still need to take some time to find profitable keywords related to your niche before you begin a project.

or go back to last chapter:

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