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SEO 101: Keyword Research Intro and Guide

by Topher

Searching for good Keyword Research No Gravatar

I am lending a SEO hand at my alma mater, the Art Institute of Atlanta. They do something called a WebRaising every year; it is much like a barn raising, but they build sites for nonprofits that have applied for the help.

With that in mind, I’m going to write some SEO 101-type content to help the teams as they build their sites. This one is all about keyword research, the cornerstone of a good SEO work plan.

The Cornerstone of SEO

The simple fact is, if you don’t take the time to figure out what the core keywords are for the site you are working on, you are going to have a hard time with meta description or title tags that will help people find your site in search engines.

With some time and effort, you can build a full list of core evergreen words that you can use for:

  • Content creation
  • Title tags
  • Meta descriptions
  • Section / page names

It’s powerful to spend time with some tools and a open Excel spreadsheet, which you can see in your ability to have the site’s pages and content found in the search engines.

How cool is that!

Tools

Speaking of tools, there are lots of free ones out there to help you research your keywords. This is a short list of ones I have used:

Once you have a set of tools that you like (I like to use two so I can get a different set), run the words that are the most prominent for the nature of the Web site.

Image you are doing the SEO for a site about homeless shelters. I would start with those words; then you can export or copy the list out of the tool and put it in the Excel document you have open. From there, move on to “soup kitchen” and do the same thing. Think of what you or your friends would use to try to find your site in a search engine, and that’s a good starting place.

Once you have a good base set in your spreadsheet, read over them. Are there ones that don’t belong? Get rid of them. You don’t want to water down the list with a lot of words that aren’t important to your site’s purpose.

We could spend a lot of time here talking about the long tail, but I think I will leave that for the 201-level post on keyword research.

More Resources

Hope this helps. If you want more, below is a list of some sites that have some good keyword research info, so check them out.

If you have any questions or comments, let me know below, and thanks for reading!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 KatieNo Gravatar March 19, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Check out Wordloo, it’s a cool new SEO tool.

2 TopherNo Gravatar March 19, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Nice looking tool and it looks free thanks for the heads up

3 KatieNo Gravatar June 29, 2010 at 7:19 pm

@ Topher I was on wordloo.com the other day and they’ve totally redesigned it. Now it’s even better, and still a free SEO tool. Check it out again!

4 Jarvis JaresNo Gravatar August 11, 2010 at 9:53 pm

I really like what you write about here. I try and come back to your site every day so keep up the good posts!

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