10 simple tips on how to source keywords…

Image from SXC.hu

When starting a new SEO campaign, it’s imperative to have a great collection of keywords to target. When I say a great collection of keywords, I would suggest you target the following:

  • Business name
  • Local terms
  • Broad terms
  • Long tail terms

Here are my top 10 tips to sourcing keywords for your campaign:

Google Adwords Keyword Tool:

Undoubtedly one of the best tools to find keywords is the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. We a vast amount of options you can find those hidden gems. One thing to note is the estimated traffic column, take this with a pinch of salt.

From my experience and most SEOs, we have found this to be inaccurate but a good steer as to whether a keyword is worth targeting.

Google Insights:

As quoted by Google:

“With Google Insights for Search, you can compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames and properties.”

This is a great tool to find up-and-coming keywords and establish whether or not a certain industry is suffering.

I entered a quick search into Google Insights for “Bing” (Microsoft’s search engine). You can clearly see when it was launched and when the buzz started.

The below graph shows the correlation with Bing and web searches for MSN started to decline around the same time.


In my opinion one of the best tools on the market but unfortunately the best version is the paid version (you can find the free version here). This can give you great answers when it comes to the competitiveness of keywords and, again like Google Adwords Keyword Tool, those hidden long tail gems.

Backlink profile:

When launching a website its imperative to check out what your competitors are doing. A great tool is the Yahoo Site Explorer. Not only can you find great website to gain backlinks but also the anchor text used on the backlinks – a great indication of what your competitors are targeting. Go to http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/.

Keywords META tag (on-page tactic):

Now, I’m fully aware on Google stance when it comes to the META keywords tag, but as a standard rule, many website still use it. I’ve found looking at this tag can reveal what your competitors are targeting or deem to be their most important keywords.

Check on-page H tags (on-page tactic):

As an on-page SEO rule, it’s always good to get your keywords in the H tags (example: H1, H2, H3 etc). Analysing these on your competitor’s website and removing broad words such as “the”, “and”, “we” etc can also be another good method, especially when looking for long tail keywords.

Keyword density checks (on-page tactic):

Although Google has stated that keyword density isn’t a major factor any more, it’s my belief there still needs to be a balance between keyword placement on-page which tells Google what the page is about. These should then be crossed referenced with synonyms which can be found using the tilde symbol so to avoid keyword stuffing. A great tool I use to check keyword density is the “Search Status” extension for Firefox.

Blog tags and categorises (on-page tactic):

Checking out blog tags and categories can also be another great method to sourcing keywords. Typically blog owners will use broad keywords or long tail keywords.

Footer links (on-page tactic):

A trend in web design is to have a footer with around 15+ internal links. Typically most sites with these will use this to leverage there internal linking structure, increase keyword placement and also help Google establish internal landing pages. Go check out what your competitors are linking to in there footer.

Analytics data:

A great way to source keywords is to simply analysis your Google Analytics data. And when I say analysis, check out the keywords which have brought low amounts of traffic to the site and then establish where that ranks – if its ranked on page 2 you will be able to increase traffic further by being positioned on page one. This is due to only 8% of Google users going to page 2.

and finally…

The above are just a few methods I use along with a collection of tools. Do you have any methods which aren’t mentioned in this post? Post your comments below.

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