How Professionals Do Keywords Research

Keywords Research

Do you have the right keywords for your business? Most people don’t know how to target the right keywords, or simply pick keywords they think relate to their business. However, if you want to have real success with SEO you need to pick keywords that are going to benefit your site and give you a good return on your investment and time – not generic keywords.

A lot of people think keywords research consist of sitting down and thinking about their website and then writing down five or six words that relate to their website and then optimizing for those words. Not only is this completely false, it’s a great way to spend a lot of time going absolutely nowhere in your search ranks.

Proper keyword research should take a decent amount of time (I always spend at least an hour), and should have you measuring a number of important factors.


  • Keywords researchBuild A List – The first thing you need to do is build a list of all of your potential keywords.  Open up notepad and type out as many keywords as you can think of, then use a tool like Ubersuggest to generate hundreds of more options for you.  Use as many variants of your keywords as possible as well as niche lingo and phrases. Putting all of these into ubersuggest or the google keyword tool should help you build a massive list of appropriate keywords.
  • High Converting Keywords – The next piece of the keyword puzzle is narrowing your list. You should have three to four hundred keywords. Go through and find keywords that are likely to result in conversions for your business or market. For example, if you run a car repair shop you don’t want to target the phrase “oil change”, but you might want to target the phrase, “changing your own oil”.  The people searching for ‘crisis terms’ like that (or “stop child aggression”, “stop misbehaving children”) are people that are looking for a specific item or service that you can help with, and there is always a chance to upsell.
  • Competition – When going through your keyword list, you should take notice of the keyword competition (adwords will show you).  Pick lower and medium competition keywords that still have a high search volume and are high converting in nature. These keywords are specialized and will be easier to rank for. If you can grab a low hanging fruit, you should. However, don’t think you should never aim high, as ranking for high competition keywords can result in massive boosts.
  • Volume – Always pay attention to the global and local monthly search volumes.  If you have any affiliate ventures on your site (and every site should) then global monthly searches are important – as money made online has no respect for national boundry. If you’re a small business, local monthly search volume should also be important, as you want to drive locals to your physical business. Aim for a GSV of 300ish or more, and a LSV of 50 to 100 or more.  Too many searches is too much competition, too few searches is not enough business – find a balance.
  • Pay Per Click – The final way to weed your keyword list and narrow it down is by paying attention to pay per click costs. If you’re smart, you’ll run an SEM campaign and buy paid spots on Google and Bing. You’ll want to pick keywords that are high converting, have a decent global search volume, low competition, and aren’t expensive as far as cost per click advertising.  The more money you invest in your PPC campaign, the more of a return you want on your investment. Specialized, targeted keywords with decent volume and a low CPC allow you to invest more money and see better results and higher ROI percentages. In essence, you want to buy the best converting traffic at the best price.

This is the secret sauce to keywords.  I’ve given you the detailed steps I personally use to come up with targeted, high converting keywords for my clients time and again.  Choosing the right keywords is 90% of the SEO battle, and keywords themselves are the heart and soul of optimizing a site. If you keep these core concepts in mind, you should do well with your keywords.

Derek Schmidt


  1. Anne Croft on December 26, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Great explanations of the value behind some of these metrics!! thank you!

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