An idea has been formed for a new online venture -- you've decided to expand your physical storefront or take on the challenge of building an Internet startup. Where do you start?
If your goal is to build it and they will come, then you need to start with keyword research. The first step to building a Web site that will attract legions of new shoppers or users is to build pages that people are already searching for.
To find out what people are searching for, online marketing professionals use keyword research. But where does the small business owner start? Can they get a good idea of how to do it and what to optimize for without investing in expensive keyword analysis tools? In this article we'll explore some free keyword research tools that will help you get started without spending a penny.
Let's use the concept of a Web site for a new pizza shop in Brooklyn, New York.
Trellian Keyword Discovery Free Search Term Suggestion Tool
This tool gives us the best data. We don't get an idea of the volume of searches by engine, but we do see 100 great keywords and also the breakdown of where Trellian gets their keyword data from -- not by keyword, but overall for their database.
Aaron Wall has a great tool that can get you started on your way. It displays results from the U.S., Australia, and a good part of Europe. If we enter the term "Brooklyn Pizza," we receive a wide variety of results along with the monthly search volume of every term. Not only to we get results for our searched keywords, but we get suggestions for other keywords that might benefit our goal.
Based on these results, "Brooklyn style pizza" would be a good keyword, along with "Pizza Brooklyn," "Brooklyn brick oven pizza," and "best pizza Brooklyn." Let's try another tool.
Google AdWords Keyword Tool
This is a fairly good tool for determining the search volume and competitiveness of a keyword in the Google index. The one drawback is they don't give numbers in terms of "x" number of searches a day -- Google gives the average search volume in a bar graphic, but who knows what quantitative number that is.
Our search for "Brooklyn Pizza" returns a variety of results and is somewhat similar to SEOBook, but without numbers. SEOBook indicated the Google search volume for "Brooklyn Pizza" was 2,468 searches per month.
My favorite part of this Google tool is the "Search Volume Trends" column, which you need to add to the display in the "Choose Columns to Display" section.
This tool is not as beneficial from a hard number standpoint, but it's always nice to know what Google thinks you need to know about the search volume of a keyword.
Wordtracker Free Keyword Tool
Wordtracker offers a free keyword tool, and although they don't tell you what resource the data is pulled from, it does give an idea of how to prioritize the keywords you're finding. When we search for "Brooklyn Pizza," we see some good keyword ideas that don't include the chain restaurants. This helps us target a bit better. Here we can see a possibility of 34 searches from the three top keywords.
So, I've done a variety of research and come up with the following keywords that I definitely need to feature on my site:
- Brooklyn pizza
- Brooklyn style pizza
- Brooklyn bridge pizza
- Best pizza in Brooklyn
- Brooklyn coal burning pizza
- Facts about Brooklyn style pizza
We're not talking huge search volumes, but I'd still take a few minutes to run the top three or four terms through Google Trends to see if I get any hits.
So I see that in 2007 "Brooklyn pizza" far outdistanced the other two keywords in search volume, the trends are interesting -- a lot of spikes where I didn't expect to see them.
I cut out "Brooklyn pizza" and didn't get any results from Google trends. So, to get great search volume from these terms I need to have pages on my site that are optimized for those terms -- so I'd do something like this:
|Menus Page||"Brooklyn Style Pizza"|
|Testimonials Page||"Best Pizza in Brooklyn"|
|Location Page||"Brooklyn Bridge Pizza"|
|How It's Made/Recipe Secrets||"Brooklyn coal burning pizza"|
|What makes it special Page||"Facts about Brooklyn Style Pizza"|
We're looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of 246 impressions a day from these keywords. If I build and optimize my site correctly with a nicely structured user- and search engine-friendly design, we'll capture a good portion of this market share when our site starts to rank. Our top term is a bit competitive, so making sure you're giving searchers exactly what they're looking for is key to converting and capturing market share.
Hopefully you've been given ideas as to how a site is best structured via keyword research. To ensure the best results possible in a competitive market, have someone with a paid subscription check through the terms you've chosen. I did check our pizza terms in the paid version of Wordtracker, just to see the differences in data. The searches were not quite as high as even the free version of Wordtracker reported. I'm not sure why that would be, but it's an interesting "phenomena."
It's not simple, but it's not impossible. A lot of marketing is gut instinct, but a lot is also based on hard and fast numbers. If you can't afford to hire someone to do this for you, you can definitely make the basic steps yourself and send your design company a comprehensive idea of what you'd like to have them build -- saving them time, and you money.
SES Denver (Oct 16) offers an intense day of learning all the critical aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search advertising (PPC). The mission of SES remains the same as it did from the start - to help you master being found on search engines. Early Bird rates available through Sept 12. Register today!