Over the years, our keyword selection process has become quite sophisticated. If we look at the research we’ve done over the past few years, most of it is good, but it doesn’t quite match the 5-step keyword research and selection process my business uses today. The first and most important step in our research process is to identify the most important core terms of the website. If you’ve read the previous series of articles linked above, you’ll notice that our process has evolved slightly since then. The use of core terms (what we called “keyword themes”) came up earlier in our research process, but we’ve found that knowing all the main and/or relevant core terms can help you identify all the key phrases.
When identifying your most important core terms, remember that you’re looking for unique two- or three-word combinations, not actual search phrases. For example, “Tahoe Wedding” might be the core term, covering numerous phrases, including “Lake Tahoe Wedding.” Similarly, “renewal of vows” covers phrases for “renewal of vows,” “wedding favors” covers “wedding party favors,” and so on. We usually combine plural and singular variations into a single core term, but sometimes we separate them depending on the circumstances.
We start by crawling the site, scanning title tags, keyword tags, description tags, text, navigation links, products, etc. If you do this thoroughly, you will be able to identify all the important core website terms that have already been established. Browsing through products and product descriptions will yield a gold mine of core terms. Remember, we’re looking for unique two- or three-word phrases. For example, when looking at motorcycle battery products, you might pull “motorcycle battery” as your obvious core term, but you’ll also find that “Honda battery”, “solar battery” and “12v battery” all fit under the core term “motorcycle battery”. These will also spawn a number of unique phrases that you can target that don’t necessarily contain the word “motorcycle”. In the course of your in-depth research finding actual phrases you are looking for, many keywords will overlap with several core terms. You are better off duplicating than missing out.
Once you’ve gone through your website, do the same with a competitor’s website. Maybe they used a unique combination of words that you didn’t think of. After that, it’s time to jump to a few tools to dig up some more key terms. I’ve heard a lot of good things about keyword discovery, but haven’t had a chance to try it yet. I continue to use (and love) WordTracker, especially their new keyword research tool they developed. I have made some suggestions for improvement so far and some of them have already been implemented.
Helpful in developing my core terms, Wordtracker has a related keyword search tool. Type anything here and the results shown below are other phrases that may (or may not) be relevant. Go through these results and document any newly found key terms that are not already on your list. Google and Yahoo both have tools that provide similar information that will allow you to find such key terms and I also use L3xicon.com fairly frequently.
A keyword search on L3xicon returns results showing related words, definitions and even related websites. It’s the related words that concern us the most, and these results are divided into two sections, both of which can provide useful information
Running a search for “tahoe wedding” L3xicon returns some results that allow us to find some additional key terms that may not have been added to our list yet:
Wedding Chapel, Wedding Package, Wedding Planner, Wedding Ceremony, Wedding Services, Wedding Planner/Planning
These may or may not have already been discovered by browsing the website and competitor websites. Next we’ll try “outdoor wedding,” a phrase that probably came up in our WordTracker searches. Here are a few more relevant key terms from the results:
Garden wedding, wedding location
Now let’s click on the Garden Wedding link provided and see the results. see! Another core term we can use:
wedding on the beach
Let’s try going back and searching for “wedding venue”. From this list of results we can see:
Unique Wedding, Romantic Wedding, Exotic Wedding, Destination Wedding,
And the search can continue until you finally find what you think is a complete list. Then what do we do with this list? We send it to our clients for review to ensure we haven’t included key terms that aren’t relevant. For example, our client in Tahoe may not cater to any type of garden-themed wedding, so he tells us that this phrase is not relevant to his business. After that, you can start more in-depth research to find all related and actively searched phrases for each of these core terms, another time-consuming but rewarding task in the long run.