I just checked my Google Webmaster Tools account and noticed “+1 Metrics” for the first time. I’m sure you’re already aware of Google’s most recent venture into social media called “+1″, which is pretty much the same thing as a Facebook Like button. Over time, the site that has more +1 votes will surely outrank other websites that do not have any +1 votes. I wouldn’t be surprised if these social media factors, including Google’s +1, Facebook Likes, Twitter ReTweets, Stumbles from StumbleUpon, Upvotes on Reddit, Diggs on Digg, and so on end up replacing the importance of simple backlinks from other websites, which is the lifeblood of Google’s algorithm and PageRank formula. Obviously, Google knows that backlinks can easily be spammed to manipulate the rankings, so putting more weight on actual “trust” factors from actual humans voting that they like a particular page will aim to solve that problem. However, I can see an entire new industry propping up offering services to vote up your site just as there are tons of linkbuilding services around today. It’s basically the neverending game of cat and mouse so it will be interesting to see how this all plays out!
Best Keyword Research Tools for SEO
I have been doing search engine optimization (SEO) for many clients for about eight years now and I am often asked questions about how do I know which keywords to target and how do I know how many times a keyword is searched and so on. To which I reply that I have several keyword research tools at my disposal, many of which are free and available for anybody to use.
First off, I just wanted to point out one of the challenges I frequently come across in dealing with SEO clients. Oftentimes, a new client will come in and demand that they rank #1 on Google for a random keyword phrase such as “buy uber profitable biz now for sale” simply because that’s a keyword that they thought of on their own. Then I calmly explain to them that I can certainly work on getting their website to rank #1 for that phrase, but I guarantee nobody is searching for that phrase besides him and thus there’s going to be no benefit in ranking for that phrase besides his own vanity. And instead of having to waste my breath on trying to convince him, I simply plug in that phrase into my keyword research tools and show him that nobody searches for that keyword phrase and provide him with some other more popular options.
The primary keyword research tool that nearly every competent SEO will use is the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Why? Because it provides keyword data directly from Google, which is by far the world’s most used search engine. Also because it is 100% free. Now, it’s a little tricky to use correctly for SEO.
The first step is to go to https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal.
Next, enter in your keyword ideas in the form at the top. Most of the time you will want to tick the checkbox that says “Only show ideas closely related to my search terms.” Then click the Search button.
Next, you should get a list of keyword phrases in a table. Now here is the most important option in using this keyword research tool for SEO – Scroll down on the left hand side of the screen where it says “Match Types” and only tick the checkbox that says [Exact]. This means both Broad and “Phrase” match should be unticked!!! Otherwise, you are wasting your time.
Next, sort the table of keyword phrases by “Local Monthly Searches.” Pay no attention to the Competition column because that only applies to AdWords, not organic rankings which we are trying to target for SEO. Now you will have a list of the most popular keyword phrases related to your original keyword and the approximate number of times that keyword is searched in the United States each month. Copy and paste the most relevant keywords to a spreadsheet.
Next, take those keywords and search them in Google to determine how competitive they are. It would be awesome if you could get your site to rank #1 for all of the keyword phrases, but 99% of the time, the most popular keyword phrases will be very competitive and thus will take a lot of effort to rank highly for. The goal is to find those keyword phrases that get a decent number of searches but have low competition.
Which is what I will teach you in Part 2 of this post, coming soon!