One of the questions I hear frequently from frustrated business owners who are trying to break into search marketing is “Where do I find keywords for my website?” Now, there are many methods and resources you can use to find traffic-driving and profitable keywords to target. Some of the most common include:
- Brainstorming: thinking up potential keyword possibilities
- A free keyword suggestion tool: type in a topic or keyword theme and receive a list of keywords
- Competitor analysis: examine a competitor’s website to determine which keywords they’re trying to rank for
- Your site’s own search logs: find out which keywords are driving traffic and sales for your own site that you may not already be targeting and author corresponding pages
So Which Method is the Best for Finding Keywords?
For existing sites, I feel that the best place to find keywords is in your site’s own, historical keyword analytics. The keyword research data you obtain your own website is highly relevant and actionable. What’s more, these are keywords that are proven to drive traffic and conversions.
However, if you’re launching a new website, this isn’t a viable option, since you have no preexisting query data. So of the remaining methods (brainstorming, keyword tools, competitor analysis), which keyword resource can you rely on if you’re launching a new website?
Well, brainstorming is probably the most flawed, since you’re coming up keywords you THINK people are searching for, rather than the search terms they actually use. Competitor analysis is a very effective strategy, but you have to be pretty experienced to audit a competitor’s website and accurately evaluate keyword competition in the search results. Also, there’s no guarantee that the keywords your competitor is targeting a) will work for your business model, or b) are working well for your competitor.
So in my opinion, if you’re not a seasoned search marketer yet you’re launching a new site, the best place to find keywords is to use the data from a free keyword tool. With that, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best keyword tools on the Web. These are tools I use frequently and, best of all, they’re 100% FREE.
Google Keyword Tool
The Google Keyword Tool gives you hundreds of keyword suggestions based on your seed keyword phrase. If you don’t have any historical site traffic data to draw from, then using the Google Keyword Tool is a very effective means of finding the best keywords for your website. Now, there are a number of great paid keyword tools, like Wordtracker and Keyword Discovery. But my feeling is why pay for keywords when you can get them for free from Google?
To use Google’s keyword tool, just type in your seed term (for this example, I’ll use “cleaning products”) and the Google Keyword Tool provides dozens of related keyword phrases.
The tool is also helpful for keyword analysis too. Once you’ve generated a large list of keywords, you can analyze specific data points such as search volume as well as competitive metrics like “advertiser competition” and estimated cost-per-click metrics, which are pay-per-click advertising metrics, but are still emblematic of how competitive a keyword is for overall search results, both paid and organic.