How to Locate Your Best Keywords

There is no shortage of free and paid tools out there that make lots of claims about finding lucrative keywords to convert for your product/offer.  I’ve tried a lot of them.  This is my favored way thus far, if you know what your product/business is about and just need to know which keywords will give you the most traffic.

naperville seo, google adwordsFirst up: Google Adwords Keyword Tool.  This great tool is intended to be used by folks who want to pay Google for search ads.  So it’s free.  But we’re leveraging it in a somewhat different way: to learn the exact amount of Global Monthly Searches for a keyword or keyword phrase.  Adwords advertisers are using it for that AND to see what the relative competition is in the Google Adwords space for that phrase.  We’re not interested in that last part, since competition in the Adwords space may or may NOT correlate with competition in the ORGANIC results listings.

When you log in to the Keyword Tool, FIRST THING, it’s critical to UNCHECK “Broad” search in the lefthand column, and CHECK “Exact” instead, to get the exact Global Monthly Searches you are interested in.

Then type in your keyword or keyword phrase (like: Chicago Pizza) and click “Search”.  You see there are 14,800 GMS for this keyword phrase, at the time of this writing.  That represents a serious demand for chicago pizza.  If you are a Chicago Pizza maker, this may be good news for you.

If you click on your bolded search term in the results below, you can then choose to Google Search it.

Depending on where you are physically located, and if/which Google account you are signed in with, your results will vary.  That’s because Google is forever collecting data about your online search activity, and using that knowledge to serve you results it thinks you’ll want, or it thinks you should want, or whatever.  In any event, look HERE for your likely competition, DON’T just depend on what the Adwords Tool says is your competition.  Remember, that competition was referring to how hard it is to get an Ad placed for that keyword.  You were using the Google Adwords Keyword tool after all.

Find in the results somebody that you’d like to see nuked out of their Search Engine Result Page position (SERP position).

seo naperville IL, ahrefs.comTo get a better feel for who you’re up against there, your next stop is  This paid subscription site is not without its flaws, but on the whole is worth it’s price.  Here, paste your chosen url into their search bar and, voila, we see a special view into how their site is connected to the rest of the internet, which is at least a significant part of why Google has ranked them as they have.

To be CLEAR, SEO is much more involved than just this, but a significant early indicator of their ranking strength as a domain for this particular keyword phrase is how many referring domains this site has.  The higher the number, the more connected they are in the world wide web, and at the risk of oversimplifying, the harder/smarter you’ll have to work to overcome them in the rankings.

As I’ve tried to underscore, this is but ONE of 200+ ranking factors Google looks at to determine a site’s relevance and authority to determine SERP positioning.  Other factors are: how high quality of sites are those referring domains?  Are they credible enough to pass useful “link juice” to their referent?  How many quality links from each referring domain?  Are they linked from images?  Ads?  Text copy?  How is the site’s backlink profile composed?  Entirely keyword anchor texts?  Entirely branded?  Does that profile strike Google having a “natural” enough balance?  Or again, how aged/authoritative is the domain?  Is it well-connected via social networking?  Is the site reviewed positively throughout the internet?  Does it have a Google Business Listing, and a properly connected Google+ Page?  How is the on-site optimization?  Unique title tags, meta descriptions, canonical urls, sitemaps, useful content?  And I don’t even think I’ve hit 200+ yet.

Perhaps these would each make useful blog postings?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.