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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Keyword Research: The Basis of All SEO

Without proper keyword research, your SEO efforts will be mostly wasted.
Keywords are the basis of all the rest of the search engine optimization you will implement, both on and off site. Spend plenty of time on this research - don't rush through it.
Using them you will build:
  • Titles
  • Meta descriptions
  • Headers
  • Content
  • Alt attributes
  • Bulleted lists
  • Links
  • Link text
How do you do this research? Below is a list of free tools you can use. There are many others that you can find online; some are free and some charge a fee.

1. Google AdWords Keyword Tool
2. Microsoft Ad Intelligence
3. Google Webmaster Tools for your site
Using one or all of these tools, determine which keyword phrases are searched for the most. These are your top tier keywords. There's usually a sharp decline in number of searches after them, and the following words are your 2nd tier keywords. The lesser searched for terms are the 3rd tier and long tail keywords.

Top tier keywords are the most competitive. If your site is new or has few links, and competition is high, you need to focus more on the second tier (although don't ignore the top tier keywords).
Assign 3-5 different keywords to each page of your site. You should have at least 3 and really 5 (or more) pages of original, unique content on your site. A site with only one original page is pretty much doomed.

Use these 3-5 keywords as a focus for your title, tags, and content on the chosen page. Don't use them redundantly. Don't make your title, header, and alt attributes the same. Mix it up, make it natural. You don't want anything on your site to look or sound duplicated or spammy. Put the top tier keyword phrases in your content, but again, you may have to focus on 2nd tier for your main keywords until you gain some traction in the SERPs (search engine results pages).

If you spend the time it takes on keyword research, carefully building your list, the rest of your SEO efforts will come together much more smoothly and your results will be immeasurably better.

About the Author: Kay Frenzer is an SEO Consultant , with years of experience in helping clients' sites reach the first page of Google for top tier keyword phrases. Read her blog at For more SEO tips and advice not found on the blog, sign up for the SEO Diva Newsletter.

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