Using Tools to Generate Larger Lists
There are quite a few tools out there that have proven themselves effective for researching keyword lists. I could list them all, but I want to get on to the juicy stuff pretty quick, so I’ll use one of my favourite tools – Traffic Travis. You can find it at www.traffictravis.com and it is free to download (though there is a premium version with more features). Once you install it and get it running, you’ll have a basic interface that looks like this: The tool itself is pretty much everything you’ll need to research recent search ranking data for keywords, get keyword ideas, generate long lists that can be exported to AdWords, and even research and review the ranking data for competitor websites. In short, it’s a highly valuable research tool that you’ll be coming back to again and again.
Using Traffic Travis
Just to show you how valuable this tool is and how much data you can get out of it, let’s use a simple term like “acne removal” and see what kind of data we can dig up for it. Start by entering the chosen keyword into the interface and searching. As you can see, there are dozens of responses, populating a relatively solid list of keywords (up to 200). You’ll then be able to order them to see who searches, how many per day, and what the data is for each of the major search engines. You can then choose to export all these keywords in a couple of formats. If you’re going to be using these for a PPC campaign, you’ll be able to run them through PPC analysis. You can save the keywords to a project, then switch to PPC analysis and check to see how well the keywords are performing among the different competitors. If you’re using 3,000 keywords for a PPC advertising campaign, this data can make the difference between success and failure.
Once you’ve run the tool, you’ll be able to see the specific advertiser sites for particular keywords. Each advertiser can be reviewed so that you can see which keywords they are marketing for, how many phrases they’ve chosen and their current rankings. In short, you can see exactly how many competitors you have, and if you’re interested, you can export those competitor URLs and analyse them separately to see how effective their sites are.
The really valuable thing here is that you can come back in a few weeks and see which terms and phrases are still being advertised by those particular competitors. If they’re still using certain ones, those keywords are obviously top quality and are getting them sales.
The goal here is to get the top keywords from your competitors so that you can analyse what they’re doing and how it will benefit your business in particular. PPC advertising is such a tricky business – if you’re serious about getting into it, you’ll need to have this kind of data on hand. Even if you’re not into PPC, you’ll need a good chunk of information to ensure you’re able to optimize your site properly.
Google Keyword Tool
Another free tool that can help you with general ideas on keyword generation is the Google Keyword Tool that comes with AdWords. The tool has been beefed up a few times over the years and while it still doesn’t have some of the gusto of other paid options, it gets the job done in terms of presenting you with relatively good traffic data, competition estimates and synonyms for your phrases.
When you’ve been researching on Forums and the like, going through Google Keyword Tool to make sure people are actually searching for the terms you’ve discovered is very important. This will allow you to create a good list of potential keywords that you can use later.
Analyzing Competition Levels
Too often people will think of a keyword or phrase, or Google it and see 15 million results and assume they’ll never be able to rank for it. Think again, my friend. The truth is that the number of results is practically meaningless. The real information you want to seek out is whether the sites that are already ranking for that keyword are competitive or not. That’s where research comes in handy.
Hop back into Traffic Travis and go to the SEO Analysis tool located there. Enter a few terms similar to “fast acne removal”. Wait a few seconds and the difficulty values will pop up from Google. These are calculated from the sites that already rank for that keyword.
If you browse further along the table, you can click to get a table for individual keywords which provides more details about how the difficulty was calculated.
Using a variety of different factors, the tool will tell you the overall difficulty of ranking for that keyword. The difficult it stats is how hoard Traffic Travis thinks it will be to get on Page 1 for that keyword. Now, look at the different pages that already show up for the keyword to see what you’ll need to do to reach Page1:
• Website Age
• Page Rank
• Backlinks to Page
• Backlinks to Website
• Links from .edu and .gov
• DMOZ and Yahoo! Directory Listings
• Title Tag and Header Keyword Placement
In short, the tool will analyze the pages for all the things that are generally recognized as important to Google. The green checkmarks will tell you how much of the different SEO tasks needed to rank have been completed by the site. The fewer green checks you see, the easier it will be to push your way into those rankings. The difficulty rating may not be accurate 100% of the time, but it is often very accurate and will give you a good idea of what terms to optimize for. Since a good website should only optimize for a collection of phrases, you can then choose which ones to narrow down to, usually focusing on a handful of easy, or relatively easy, terms and a few medium/hard terms.
Once you have your keywords in hand, put them into a chart so you can see what is most difficult and what will be easiest to rank for. Prioritize those keywords based on which ones get the most searches. For example, if you find that a keyword has 15,000 searches with a 4 star rating and another has 5,000 searches with a 4 star rating, the first keyword should be ranked higher in your optimization, presuming it is a valuable, targeting keyword.
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