Keywords are the foundation of search engine marketing. Whether you are going to do search engine optimization or paid search marketing you will need to research the keywords that your customers will be using in an attempt to find you.
Some of the tools to consider for keyword research are as follows:
The Google keyword tool
Years ago we used to use Wordtracker and Keyword Discovery more but there’s nothing like getting keyword data straight from Google itself.
Google Instant or “search suggest”
Google search suggest is the auto complete feature where Google takes your base keyword and displays other popular keywords that it thinks you might be looking for. Since Google sees these as related keywords it is a good idea to use them as well in addition to your main keywords.
While we don’t use Word tracker as much for simple keyword research anymore, we love it for its link builder tool that matches blogs, directories and news sites etc. to a keyword so you can reach out to influencers.
SEM Rush allows you to plug in the URL of one of your competitors and see what keywords are driving traffic to their website. This can give you great ideas for keywords that should be potentially driving traffic to your website as well. This tool also will tell you how many searches a month each keyword gets and how much the Google estimated cost per click is.
One of the biggest mistakes people make in search engine marketing is to become overly focused on what we call the head terms. Head terms are things like lawyers or even “Prevacid lawyers”. While these type of terms are certainly an essential part of keyword research and optimization they are also much more competitive in both paid and organic search.
Going for the long tail keywords
Longtail keywords are things like “what is the statute of limitations for mesothelioma lawsuits in California?” or “best Prevacid lawyer in Dallas Texas”.
Longtail keywords often convert really well because the user is being more specific. It is important to understand that there are different stages of the buying process and different levels of user intent. If you only go after the keywords such as “securities fraud lawyer” you will be limiting yourself to people at one stage of the buying process and one level of user intent.
It is said that 80% or so of the searches on the Internet are research based. If your law firm only comes up when people are looking to hire you immediately, you will miss a huge amount of people in the earlier stage of the process. So some longtail keywords will help you capture people in the early stage and others will be the ultimate highly converting end-stage terms. Since the bulk of keywords and traffic revolve around the longtail it’s something you can’t afford to miss.
It is said that around 20% of searches every day are new to the Google index (This percentage is referenced on http://www.google.com/insidesearch/playground/underthehood.html ). This means that at least 20% of what people search for cannot be researched. Therefore you not only need to map out what keywords you will optimize for on each of your pages and blog posts but you should be continually adding new content that gives you a better chance of ranking for a variety of things.