Your guide to keyword reseach and keyword analysis

Taking Care of Your Keyword Lists

As website owner or someone who run a site, I believe that you understand the importance of keyword list for their websites. But are you giving your keyword list the attention it deserves? Is your keyword list getting a little shaggy around the edges? Are your keywords becoming old and out of date? Is your keyword list not behaving at its best, possibly due to neglect?

To properly care for your keyword list you need to understand its different needs and functions. We can divide the keyword list into several broad categories.

1) Master Keyword List – this list has all the keywords of your website theme that you can come up with for your particular need. All other lists are taken from this Master List.

2) Pay-Per-Click List /SEM Keyword List– this is a subset of the Master List and will vary depending on how you are using PPC and which search engines you are buying positions in.

3) SEO Keyword List – this subset of the Master list and is more targeted to dominate the search engine. These keywords are used for search engine optimization purposes. These keywords are used to help people find your site in search engines. This SEO List can divide into two lists:

  • Content Keyword List – This list also helps you write powerful content on your site. And don’t forget to refer to this list when setting up the Alt tags for your images (you are using Alt tags aren’t you?).
  • Tag List – this list helps you fill in those Meta Tag fields. Although many search engines are not currently paying much attention to Meta Tags, that could change at any time and the search engines will not let us know if or when they begin watching Meta Tags again. So the safe bet is to still keep these tags properly populated.

4) Email Keyword List – Are you using keywords in your email? You should be. Your marketing should be addressing what are words people are actively searching for, and your keyword list shows you what they are looking for. Just like creating copy on a web page, use the keyword list to target your email campaigns as well.

So how do you go about creating the Master Keyword list? You first have to decide what you need from your keywords. Most likely you will have a product or service that will dictate the broad category for the list. As an example I will use “iPhone” as my starting point. Maybe I have a site that specializes in information about iPhones, or I have a store that sells iPhone products, or maybe I sell applications that would complement iPhone. These questions and more will begin to focus your keyword search.

Start by building a basic list using this approach, you don’t need to capitalize, leave everything lowercase.

iphone, iphone apps, iphone video, iphone review

Put down the basic keywords that spring into your head when thinking about your subject. This does not need to be an exhaustive list, just a starting point.

We now need to expand on this list by using keyword tools freely available on the internet. My personal favorite is Google AdWords External Tool. This tool will give you a list of keyword searches on Google over a one month period. Simply type in your keyword and hit the button. You will get a list of keywords including the keyword you typed in and the number of searches performed on the keyword.

A search for “iphone” came back with 150 keyword possibilities. Depending on your original keyword search you may have to clean this list up a bit before using it, deleting keywords that is not suitable for your site. This Google keyword tool allows you to download the list as a CSV file for use in Excel or another program, so you can manipulate it as you like. Each month you may get a different set of keywords on Google Keyword Tool, so don’t just do this one time and forget it. Keep on checking back to add more keywords to your list.

There are many other sources for keyword lists. You can find other keyword tools mentioned in this site as well.

And finally pay attention to the log files for your web site. You will have a list of searches people used to find your site. This is a very targeted list of keywords that were actually successful in driving traffic to your site.

Now that you have a huge list of keywords you are ready to create your Master Keyword List. Place all these keywords into a spreadsheet and clean out the inappropriate keywords. Then arrange in order from most relevant to least relevant.

You need to weed this Master List down for your PPC campaign and creating SEM list. You may find that this advertising keywords near the top of your list are the most expensive and that the ones in the middle may have a better cost to sales ratio. But the more keywords you can use on PPC, the broader your exposure.

To create your SEO list, you have to select 10 the least competitive keywords from the top 25 keywords.  The top 10 keywords are your sales words for your web site and email campaigns since these are the most tightly focused keywords in the list.

Don’t forget that the needs of your list will be changing as the market place shifts. Every month or so do a new search for keywords to keep your keyword list up to date. Trim out the words that are either no longer appropriate or effective. Be sure to keep an eye on your log files. Keep your sub-lists current. And give your keyword list the care and attention it needs to make your website current.

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