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Elephant Toenail Disease
This picture is in no way related to the rest of the article

One of the most important aspects to content writing is having keywords that people actually search for. You may have the most interesting article on various forms of elephant toenail disease, but when the search engines get absolutely no queries for this string, you are not likely to drive much traffic. That is where adequate planning comes into play. Today I will walk you there the steps on where you should look for the keywords with which to craft your article around.

 Know Your Topic

Before you even begin you have a topic in mind. For instance, this post is just one of many under the search engine optimization topic. However, that category is so broad I have narrowed it down even further to finding (and using) keywords. If you have yet to get started, I suggest going back and reading my SEO posts about Content, Internal SEO, and Backlinks. After you have chosen a topic, the rest of the keyword research is fairly easy, and it all begins over on the Google AdWords page.

 Using Google AdWords for Keyword Research

First of all, if you do not have an account for Google AdWords, you need to make one. This is not to say that you need to start an ad campaign, but in order to use the keyword planning tool you must have an account. The process is straightforward and easy, just make a campaign and cancel it immediately after.

When you launch AdWords, you will be taken to the home screen. From there you can research and analyze the data from your ad campaigns if you like, but for this tutorial we are looking just at the keyword tool. Across the top you see that there are four tabs, “Home”, Campaigns”, Opportunities”, “Tools”. Select “Tools” and then select “Keyword Planner” from the dropdown (click the pictures to enlarge).

Keyword Research

Inside the Keyword Planner there are 4 subsections. Each one gives a unique twist on your keyword research, so I suggest playing around with them. However, the top line that gives you ideas for keywords is the most valuable. It is here that you will be able to find out how good your topic is, and what keywords you should craft your content around.

Using Keywords

The interface is simple to use. Just type in the topic that you wish to pursue (in my example I wanted to see how well “finding keywords” would work out. So I put that into my search box. From there the options opened up to determine exactly what my keywords should be for this page.

Keyword Planning

As you can see the list of results is incredible. In fact, you can keep scrolling and scrolling getting data for multiple different words and word strings. Now there are a few different pieces of information that you will want to pay attention to in order to maximize your keyword research.

Google AdWords

First, notice how many monthly searches there are for any given string of words. For my example they range from just over 40,000 to just a couple hundred. You will want to choose a keyword that has a higher number, as long as it fits into your niche and topic. As you can see in the picture above, the highest keyword string is “Adwords Tool.” This page is not really about AdWords, so that doesn’t really help me. However, the next highest is “Keyword Research.” That is exactly what I wanted to talk about, so it fits nicely.

The next thing you will want to notice is the competition column. Since you aren’t buying an ad campaign this isn’t incredibly important, but you should keep in mind that keywords with “high” competition means that more people are trying to get traffic from that keyword string. Optimally you will have a high number of searches and low competition.

The rest of the numbers and ideas on this page are not relevant to doing keyword research. Feel free to look around, but unless you are actually running ad campaigns, much of this information won’t do you much good.

Optimizing Your Site with Keyword Research

Knowing how to do something is only half the battle. That is precisely why so many people in the US are in debt; they know what to do but they don’t do it. The same goes for your website; you can have all the knowledge in the world, but if you don’t apply it, then it means nothing.

If you don’t have time, don’t want to learn, or for whatever reason you can’t, then hire this aspect of your website out to someone else. As a writer in Billings, Montana, that is my whole job. I do keyword research, craft high quality SEO content, and even offer services to post it to your website for you. That frees you up to doing what you do best, and takes one more worry off your plate. Email me or call me at 406.860.4407 to learn more.

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