Keyword Research The Foundation for a Profitable Website

By Charles Hopkins Published 06/14/2007 | Webmastering

Keyword research is the process of determining which keyword phrases will describe your website's products and/or services and are actually used in web searches. It is insight into the needs of your customers or clients. Bottom line it is finding out what Internet surfers are actually searching for.

Choosing keywords or keyword phrases can be very confusing for new site owners. If you don't have keyword or keyword phrases optimized on your web site, you will not get the traffic you want and individuals will not stay on your site, read your information or buy you service or product.

Keyword research can be broken down into a three step process. The first step is the discovery phase. In this step you want to focus on identifying as many keywords or phrases as possible.

Initially you need to sit down and brainstorm a list of keyword/keyword phrases that address the topic of your web site. Have a dictionary and thesaurus handy. At this point include every word or phrase that you can think of.

There are several keyword tools that are available to help you generate a keyword list. Some of these tools are free ( and Google Adwords Tool) while others ( are fee based. With these tools you will be able to generate hundreds of keyword phrases.

The second step in the analyzing phase. This step involves analyzing the popularity and competition for the keyword phrases. The quickest way to perform the analysis is to use one of the fee based keyword tools like Wordtracker.

Wordtracker is able to quickly take your list of keyword phases and give you the number of searches in the past 30 days and the number of competitive web sites for each phrase. Wordtracker also supplies a numerical value called a Keyword Effectiveness Index(KEI) that helps determine the competitiveness of a keyword phrase. A keyword phrase with a high KEI means it is less competitive.

From Wordtracker you are able to export your keyword list along with the KEI, search and competitive site data. This information can then be entered into Excel spreadsheets. This will allow you to make comparisons between various keyword phrases and do away with any unrelated or undesireable keyword phrases.

The third step is the selection of keyword phrases. From your analysis phase, you should be able to identify a number of high quality keyword phases that can accurately describe the qualities of your website.

In your final selection of keyword phases you need to look for phrases that have a high level of search activity, while the level of competitiveness is relatively low. For making your final selection of 15-20 keyword phrases you will want to do a Google search on the keyword phrases and view the top web sites listed for each phrase. Are the sites professionally designed? Can you design a web page that can move up into the top ratings for this keyword phrase? These are all important questions to ask.

When starting a new web site it's highly recommended to target only one unique keyword phrase per page. With your newly researched keyword list you can write your content with a balanced use of unique phrases that will help generate traffic to your web pages.