Keyword research is arguably one of the most important elements of your SEO Campaign. And yet it doesn?t always get the love and attention it deserves. Also it is not just the newbies who fail to see the true importance of keyword research. Many other members can admit to becoming lazy in this area at one time or another. This post is for anyone who would like to understand keyword research more as well as to discover some tools and processes for finding keywords that convert. What Is The Goal Of Keyword Research? There are many things that you can use keyword research for, and so everyone?s goals will be different. Your goal may be: To discover popular or profitable niches to target To choose content that people will want to read in that niche To post content that people want to read To writing ad copy that brings you the highest ROI For most on here it is to rank a website, which they can monetize to make some serious cash. One of the easiest ways to do this is to find the terms people are using not only in the search engines but also when discussing the topic on social media and forums. This will allow you to see inside the mind of your audience and discover the words they use. Keyword Structure Keywords are generally divided into three main parts. The head or theme keyword ? is generally a word or short phrase, very generic in nature, with loads of competition that won?t convert well Body or branch keywords ? are generally slightly longer phrases to start to divide your theme or niche into sub niches or particular areas of interest Long tail keywords - are longer phrases that are very specific. They generally do not provide a lot of traffic individually, but you will have a long list of this type of keyword which together will provide significant traffic to your site. They are also lower competition so they will be easier to rank for. As a general rule (not set in stone) I like to build my website around the theme keyword. Then I choose about 5 to 10 branch keywords that are related and can be grouped together. These will make up the pages of my site. Then I use the longer tail keywords to create super specific blog posts. This is a great system that works well for building and ranking websites in lower competition niches quickly so you can move on to other low competition niches. All Keywords Are Equal, But Some Keywords Are More Equal Than Others When you are doing your keyword research you should consider the nature of the keyword itself. That is because all keywords are different and have different potential for profitability. Consider the following You have a person search for your keyword who adds the word ?cheap? or ?discount? after it. There is a fair chance that this person is ready to buy. In fact they will have their credit card in hand just waiting to punch in their 3 digit security number. Of course these keywords are incredibly competitive, but nothing is impossible. Next you have a person who searches your keyword followed by ?free? or ?torrent?. You can tell this person is not going to convert into a buyer. They are a waste of time and effort. Finally you have the information seekers. This person will search for your keyword followed by something like ?info? or ?how to?. This person is not yet ready to buy but I?m ready to discard them altogether. In fact if I capture this person now, I can educate them on the industry, the market, the products and options available, etc etc. and when he?s ready to buy, it is very likely that I will covert him. Now this is by no means an exhaustive list. Rather it is intended to get the brain into gear when considering your keywords. You should have a clear idea of what your website is about and what you want it to achieve. Only then will you be able to have clear goals when it comes to keyword selection. Keyword Selection ? The Process Step 1 Create a niche cloud ? this is a simple mind mapping technique to identify as many of the niches in the market as you can. Set a timer for 10 minutes and start brainstorming ideas onto a notepad. Even if it doesn?t make sense, scribble it down. You want to be thinking about all the niches and ways to split the market into sub niches. If you have trouble initially coming up with any, do some quick searches on google and look at related keywords, look at keyword planner for keyword group ideas. Try searching on Wikipedia and checking out the table of contents or related articles. This will identify a small number of niches to begin your research Step 2 Expand on your initial research ? this is to uncover all the branch keywords you can use. Google keyword planner ? take your initial list and determine the popularity and competition. Often people recommend a certain number of monthly searches and competition. Try not to get too concerned with numbers set in stone. You may have a small niche where you won?t get a lot of searches but it can still be profitable because of the low competition. Or the competition could be high but you have a serious product to market that is better than anything else out there. Or you have a quality ranking strategy that will blow the others out of the water. The competition score is also a score for ad bidding and SEO?s generally only use it as a guideline. Next discover and research related keywords and ad groups. Keep drilling down to discover anything you never thought off. As you keep going you will start to see common words that are always grouped or connected together. This is a good indication you are on to something. I also use Market Samurai here to check out keywords on the competition module. This will give you a better idea of how hard you will have to work to rank that keyword. By now you should have a set of theme and branch keywords Step 3 Generate your list of long tail keywords. Again you can use Google planner and market samurai to identify longer keywords. Search forums and discussion boards. You can use these to find out how people are actually using keywords. People will ask questions in the forums as you know. And if they ask forums, they will ask google also. Are they using different language? Do you need to rethink how you use your keywords? Change them slightly to match how people use them. Search on social networks. Facebook and twitter have inbuilt search tools that can be very useful. Run your keywords using the search function and see how people are using them in social conversations. Some useful tools here include monitter, kurrently, topsy, 48ers. Use google homepage for suggested search terms. Run a search and see what they suggest. These can be related or other long tail keywords that you may find useful. Search term taggin plugin. You may have heard of this plugin for wordpress sites. It displays the terms that people used to find that particular site. Search ?incoming search terms? + ?your keyword?. This can give you a number of other related keyword ideas. Ubersuggest ? this is a great free online tool that you can use to uncover massive lists of long tail keywords. Scrapebox ? can be used in much the same way, enter your seed keyword, click on append a-z, choose the sources you want to scrape, click on scrape, click on remove duplicates. Step 4 Discover if your keywords are trending up or down. There is no point creating a website and content to focus on a keyword that is dying out. A quick look on google trends will allow you to see how many times a term has been searched for over a specific period of time. it allows you to search more than one keyword at once. You want ones trending up or at least have displayed staying power. Step 5 Competition analysis. Now is the time to see whether you have a chance of ranking for that term. You can use Market Samurai which has a quality competition module included. This gives you a good idea of what?s going on. Check the referring domains ? take top 5 results for your keyword and pop it into ahrefs. Gives you an indication of the number of incoming links to that page. Link profile of competitor ? check out what kind of links they have and where they are coming from. If they are all spammy and not from quality sites you can easily knock them off the top spot with a little work. If they highly relevant links from authority sites, you may need to think again. Although I would never discourage anyone, if you have better, newer, more quality content, and you are willing to put in the work, then anything is possible. Step 6 Turn your keywords into quality content. This post really got away from me, and ended up much longer than I was expecting. But anyway, I hope this helps some of you guys on BHW. How does it compare to your own keyword research?