Three Ways To Perform Manual Keyword Research

Writing by Pay Per Click Journal on Saturday, March 1, 2008 Comments Off

Do you do all of your keyword research with a keyword research tool or do you do any “manual picking?” Let me tell you why you should do both.

The advantage to using a keyword research tool is that the process is automated. It’s a lot quicker to use a tool or a service, but the disadvantage is the most keyword research tools are not exhaustive. While most tools can help you narrow down your list of keywords through extensive Web crawling and finding synonymous terms you haven’t thought of, most of them will overlook other terms that you could use that are likely appropriate for your business and could be very profitable.

That’s why I like to also suggest that you do some manual keyword research on your own. It’s not hard. There are several methods for doing this manual keyword research.

  • Study the competition
  • Perform keyword searches
  • Take a poll

There are other ways, of course, but I’ll focus on these three for right now.

You likely know who your competitors are. Visit their websites. Go to each page on your competitors’ websites and view source. Look at their keyword meta tags. But don’t just stop there. Use a competition spy software like Secret Page Spy to find out what keywords they have on each page of their website. This is an invaluable tool.

Another way to do manual keyword search is to make a few keyword searches at each of the search engines for terms that you deem important to your business. Try to pick keywords that were not found by your keyword research tools. See how many websites pop up as available for your search term. Click on a few of the listings to see what comes up. Is it a competitor? If so, revert back to method No. 1 above.

You want to search for keywords that you think people would use to find your website. This method works real well for niche topics that are not necessarily very popular. If it is an obscure topic that only a few people might be interested in then you’ll have to think like the target customer you are going for. If you don’t find the right keywords for your niche it could be because you are choosing bad keywords, but it could also be because no one else is filling that niche. If that second one, you could carve out a particular niche for yourself and be an early leader in that niche area.

Thirdly, if you an e-mail list or a website that you can place a poll on, then design an online poll asking specific targeted questions of your niche audience and ask them what they’d like to see. You can get valuable information from people who fit your target audience. All you have to do is ask.

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