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Keyphrase Research

“Keyword research” should more properly be called “keyphrase research.” When dealing with SEO and pay-per-click you almost always are dealing with phrases and not individual words. Since it is the standard to use “keyword research,” that is how it will be referred to here.

Keyword research is done to find the phrases that each page in a site might target or to find phrases to bid on (or include as a negative match) in a pay-per-click campaign. The most popular research tools are WordtrackerKeyword Discovery, and Google’s keyword tool.

Pure Visibility uses a manual process to generate a keyword list for a site. This process is outlined below.

Analyzing Your Site

To begin keyword research, Pure Visibility looks through each page of your site to find the keyphrases that a user might search to find that page. We note these phrases and also note which page these keyphrases belong to.

We include general phrases and specific phrases. We then go to your competitors’ sites and look through their pages and identify the phrases they seem to be targeting. If it makes sense we list these phrases as well.

We make searches in Google and Yahoo! for the general keyphrases we’ve listed, and see what pages come up. We see if the search results are dominated by companies in your field for each particular phrase. If not, we determine if it is practical to target those phrases.

Using Keyword Tools

Next, we go to a keyword research tool, enter your phrases and try to find more specific variations. We note all the variations that are relevant to your site. We also note the variations that are not relevant to your site; we might include these as negative match terms in a pay-per-click campaign.

We search synonyms and related phrases as well. We search Wordtraker’s “keyword universe” for possible variations, and then do a simple search on these phrases. Once we have a healthy list we go through it again and filter out phrases based on how competitive they are versus how competitive your company wants to be.

We also filter out words using other criteria, such as a your pay per click budget. This portion is probably most important. We determine how competitive a phrase is by looking at the bids they generate in pay per click campaigns and by analyzing the sites that come up first in search results.

We ask: what kind of links are going to these sites, is the phrase in the anchor text of these links, is the phrase in the site’s title and body text, is the phrase in the site’s URL, etc.

Finding Misspellings

After we’ve determined the phrases your site should be targeting, we consider misspellings as well for inclusion in an AdWords campaign or for a meta keywords tag. We also use Wordtracker to find popular misspellings.

We always have it in mind to target specific phrases on each page of your site, not single site-wide words.

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