SEO: How to hunt for keywords

Keywords are the foundation of on-page SEO

Before you begin any web project, you need to build your keyword list. Building your list means hunting down those keyword terms and phrases that your potential website visitors would use to search for your products and services.

As I have mentioned repeatedly in other posts: your goal when you compile your list is to match your list to your audience’s searches. You can compile your keyword list in a few ways.

Ways to build your keyword list

  1. Ask yourself: What terms would potential site visitors use to search for your products or services? Write down those terms.
  2. List multiple ways of saying the same thing.
    • Let’s use a thumb drive as an example. How many different ways can you say it? USB drive, flash drive, jump drive, USB key.  These are all the different ways that you can describe a thumb drive.
  3. Make sure you include all the variations on your keyword list.
  4. Poll your existing clients: Ask them “What terms would you type into Google to find my service or product?”
  5. Find out what terms “regular people” use to search. By regular people I mean those people outside your industry.  Clients can be so immersed in an industry that they know the “industry terminology” but regular folks wouldn’t search with those terms.
    • I have a client who performs marriage ceremonies. A common term in the industry is “officiant” and yet it is not a well known word nor is it searched as other typical terms for weddings.
  6. Now run your keyword list through a keyword tool. I use Google’s. If you don’t know how to use it, here’s how to use the Google Keyword Planner.
  7. You can also use Google suggests and Google Trends for more ideas for keywords.
    • As you type in the Google web search box, Google’s auto-complete algorithm offers search terms similar to the one you’re typing. The suggest terms are popular search terms and this will give you clues for your own keyword list.
    • Google Trends helps you identify patterns. Google Trends is particularly good for e-commerce and identifying and comparing different terms for the same product. You can search by region (down to the provincial level), by season and by year.

Happy keyword hunting!

How do you search for keywords? Any other tips?

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