Keyword Research

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This is something that every small business should be doing to find out what terms to target on their website. It may sound daunting at first, but the truth is you can pick up the basics pretty quickly. There are numerous tools out there to help you with this process, here's a list of our favorites:

Google Keyword Tool - Most folks use this for PPC, but it's also helpful for SEO as well. This can be useful for getting an idea of the relative amount of traffic different keywords are getting, as the numbers shown are not always extremely accurate. You can also put in a website and it'll spit out a list of associated keywords, which is great when you want to know what your competitor might be targeting.

Google Trends - Type in a term and you'll get a graph showing the relative search volume throughout the year. You wont find lower volume phrases here, but its very useful to get an idea of the seasonal trends that keywords go through. Also useful in conjunction with your analytics to diagnose the cause of traffic fluctuations.

SEO Book Keyword Tool - Many people use this as the main tool in their arsenal. While it does provide a lot of useful data, it is pulling from the Overture tool, which has its own inherent problems. A good one to use in comparison with another service.

WordZe - A relatively new player on the scene, they are starting to gather a loyal following. They get their results from ISP's, so in theory it should cover a broader range of the spectrum than other services. You can buy a day's worth of access, or subscribe on a monthly basis. The day-access is great for small businesses who don't need to spend a ton of time on keyword research.

And the ones you can pass on:

Wordtracker - They offer both a free tool and a paid service. The big complaint you'll hear about Wordtracker is that the information they are pulling the results from represents an incredibly small piece of the pie when it comes to overall volume. Still, many people swear by it.

There are others out there, but the ones listed here are what we've found to be the most useful. Your mileage may vary.

Once you've compiled at list of about ten to fifteen keywords, you'll want to work on optimizing each page of your site.