In my previous article Ten Steps of SEO: Step 1 Initial Analysis we looked at assessing whether there the market is out there to be attacked. Now we have established that there is, we will look at which keywords we are going to target.

Keyword research is probably the most important aspect of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). This is an area you should pay extra care and attention to. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get this right. All too often I see people dive into to an online marketing campaign targeting keywords that are far too ambitious. Don’t get me wrong, you shouldn’t be intimidated by competition, but equally you need to be realistic about where you can expect to rank within the search engine results. Remember, we are going to be up against some established authority sites.

The first thing we need to do here is produce a list of all the keywords you can think of relevant to your niche. I find it easiest to put these into a spreadsheet, as it allows you to filter the results later. Once you have listed all the ones you can think of, we will look to our trusted friend Goggle for a bit of guidance. Google has a very useful tool called the Keyword Suggestion Tool . This tool will suggest alternative keywords we may have overlooked. There are many other programs designed to do this, Wordtracker is amongst the best.

The next stage is to find out how efficient a keyword is. For this we use a tool called a Keyword Efficiency Indicator (KEI). There are lots of tools out there for this most of them you have to pay for but many have free 30 day trials. Again I find the one in Wordtracker good for this. Run your keywords through the KEI tool and put the search volumes, competition & KEI score into the spreadsheet.

Now if we sort the results in order of KEI, high to low, we can start to pick the best keywords. A keyword with a high KEI is better than that of a low one. However do not just go for the highest KEI’s. The reason being that if a keyword or search term has very high competition but also has very, very, large search volumes, the excessively high search volumes will throw the KEI results and and give a very high KEI. This may look an attractive score but in reality it’s just going to be too hard to crack. Best thing to do here is get rid of the keywords with high KEI that seem to have a much higher search and competition volumes.

Equally we also want to get rid of KEI’s with low score. Also at this point we should look at search volumes and get rid of anything with very low search volumes. After all there is no point targeting a keyword if nobody is searching for it. We should now be left with a number of keywords with mid-high range KEI’s of these we should take 5 to 10 keywords with the highest KEI score. I wouldn’t recommend working on more at the moment, but concentrate your effort on these. Once you are getting good results for these you can always add more. Now you have your list of keywords. Not the easiest and quickest of SEO strategies, but the effort you have just put in will be more than worth it.