Researching your current and future keywords and having an excellent understanding of what’s what, is always recommended before targeting any specific keywords.

You should always run through at least the three most important steps when considering any new keyword, and it certainly doesn’t help to go over your existing keywords and campaigns on an ongoing basis.

Three simple steps in keyword research

Analyse your planned keywords

When picking a keyword, it is important to also pick relevant keywords to target – not only will this give you a better reach overall, it will also make it easier to ensure you do not overdo your keyword density – our recent article on Keyword best practices briefly touches on optimal densities and how to avoid over-optimisation.

Once you have compiled a list of target keywords, check out how many results there are for those keywords, check how your competitors are ranking for these keywords, and whether or not they are doing anything in particular to rank – even if you don’t intend to follow the same path they have taken, it’s always good to know exactly what you’re dealing with. Find out how many searches per month your target keywords and phrases have – dominating the serps for a phrase with 100k searches per month will be a lot harder than one with 100 searches per month – but remember, just looking at those numbers cannot tell you which is more valuable to you, 100 visitors who all purchase are obviously more valuable than 100k visitors who do not buy!

Check out common mis-spellings of your keyword choices, if there is a large search volume for these, then it is important to not only identify, but also target these mis-spelled keywords as well as the correct spellings, but keep in mind Google’s spelling correction system when doing this.

Assess, and set your baseline

Once you’ve selected your keywords, and done some research on competitors rankings, search volumes and result volumes, you then need to set your baseline – this will be where you’re at presently with the terms you intend to target, whether you do not rank at all, or you’re on page 8 of Google, it’s  important to find out where you are here and now, so that you can track your progress over the coming months.

Check your rankings, and of course your traffic every 30 to 40 days and compare them to the last period and see how you are improving, track everything from rankings, to traffic increases (or decreases) as well as conversions if you are selling a product or service – all of these are important factors in how well a keyword or keywords are performing.

Plan, and monitor your goals and main objectives

It is important to have goals and objectives from the outset so that you can not only monitor your ranking increases, but also whether or not you’re meeting targets – goals could be anything from making 10 sales of your product every month to 20 sales every month, or from having 100 visitors land on a page to 300 visitors land on a page – these goals can be elastic and change from month to month, but they are particularly important if you are paying for an SEO service – this way you can ensure that the ROI works for you both short term, and of course long term.

Always, always, always review and never leave it to chance, if you see sales are up, this doesn’t necessarily mean it is due to your keyword work, that is why keeping track of all aspects is so important.

Plan your keywords, plan your goals, plan your objectives, and then monitor each of these both individually, and as a larger overview, and remember not to tweak anything until you’ve allowed sufficient time to establish a new baseline. 3 – 6 months is an average timeframe we’d look to use when changing baselines.

We hope this helps you out on future and current projects, keep an eye out for our future posts!