Keyword research has to do with finding out the words people use while searching for information in your niche. To fully understand the importance of keyword research tools, you have to be familiar with the way search engines rank webpages.

When a search engine spider crawls your site, it takes note of all the keywords and links in your pages and stores them in a database. Now when people search for information in the search engine, the search engine will look into its database and bring out sites that contain the search terms. The algorithm of the search engine, which is complex, will then determine the webpage that will come first and the one that will come last.

The search engine uses its algorithm to determine the importance of each page. A page will rank high for a particular keyword if it is well optimize for that keyword. This optimization is onpage and offpage search engine optimization. Onpage search engine optimization involves having the keyword in the following locations:

  • in the meta keywords and meta description tags
  • in the title and subtitles of the webpage (i.e. headings tags: h1 to h6)
  • several times in the page content.
  • in alt tags for images
  • in bolded or italicized texts
  • in URL or page file name

Offpage search engine optimization have to do with the number and quality of back links to your site. The more quality back links a webpage has, the higher it will rank in search engine result.

Now you’ve seen a little part of how search engines rank pages, let us see why keyword research tools are important.

Keyword Research Tools Helps You To Find Those Phrases Your Customers Are Using In Search Engine

Keyword research tools are very important because they draw their data mainly from search terms surfers type into search engines. When customers want to search for products or information, they do so using different variations of search terms. If you can find and use these search terms in your contents, your customers can easily find your web page through search engines. Also, don’t forget that 80% of all online sales begin with someone typing a keyword into a search engine.

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Keyword research tools help you to discover popular and profitable keywords to target in your niche. For example, if your general market is weight loss, you’ll see that people searching for information in that market will do so using terms like:

  • lose weight
  • burn fat
  • fat loss
  • dieting weight management e.t.c.

But one thing you have to understand is that some of these terms are more popular with surfers than others. For example, the monthly search for “burn fat” might be 200,000 while that for “weight management” might just be 300. This means that the term “burn fat” is more popular than “weight management”, though they have similar meaning. If you use popular keywords in your website content and in the anchor text of quality backlinks, more people will find your website from search engines (i.e. your site will rank high in search engine listing).

Keyword Research Helps You To Find Keywords With Low Competition

Finding popular keywords is one thing, but finding keywords that have low competition is another thing. Keyword competition has to do with the number of websites that are fighting to rank high for a particular keyword. Websites that are competiting for a particular keyword are websites that are well optimized for that keyword through onpage and offpage search engine optimization.

Your aim is to make your website to rank top in Google for the keywords you’re targeting and the best way to achieve this is to choose low competition keywords. But how do you know if a keyword has low competition? This is how I know:

I’ll type the keyword into Google and take a look at the 10 webpages that appear on the first page of Google search result. These webpages are your main competitors. The next thing I’ll do is to check the back links each of my competitors has through a site like Backlinkwatch.com. Just enter the URL of the first competing site into Backlinkwatch.com and take a look at:

The anchor text of the back links

The page rank of the URLs where those back links are coming from.

These two parameters will tell me if I can compete successfully with that webpage. A site that is not well optimize for my keyword will have the following characteristics:

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It will have no or very few number of back links that contain my keyword in their anchor text (the actual number depends on whether you can build that number of back links).

Those back links that has my keywords in them comes from webpages with low Google page rank (this depends on the quality of back links you can build). The site will not have the keyword in its URL or page filename (this is not a big issue).

If you search for your target keyword in Google and the sites that appear has the characteristics I mention above, then that keyword has low competition. Like I said above, the competitiveness of a keyword depends on you. It depends on the fight and resources you’re willing to sacrifice in order to outrank your competitors.

Now you’ve known the importance of keyword research tools, let’s look into some keyword research tools.

  1. Google Adwords Keyword Tool (free): This keyword tool helps you to know the monthly search volumes of keywords, thus helping you to know how popular a keyword is. It can also suggest other keywords for you base on a keyword or url you type into it.

One limitation of this tool is that it does not tell you how competitive a keyword is. You can access it at www.adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal. To get more on how to use this tool, visit this page: Keyword Research: Google Adwords Keyword Tool

  1. KeywordSpy (Free and paid versions): This tool tells you the keywords your competitors are using in their advertising campaigns with different advertising systems such as Google Adwords, Microsoft Adcenter and Yahoo Search Marketing. They also provide you with information like marketing analytics, SEO, PPC, and Affiliate intelligence, advertisement copies, and other information you need to skyrocket your ROI.

They have a very large database which they get by indexing PPC keywords, affiliate keywords and organic terms and phrases.

They have a lifetime free trial which you can sign up for at www.keywordspy.com/trial.aspx. But to get the most out of it you have to upgrade to Pro.

  1. TrafficTravis.com (free & paid version): TrafficTravis helps both your SEO and PPC campaigns. It gives you keyword suggestions and daily search counts for keywords in your niche. TrafficTravis can also tell you how competitive a keyword is.
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You can also use it to spy on your competitors; it tells you their rank in search engines, the keywords they use in their PPC campaign etc. TrafficTravis also shows you your rank in popular search engines and web directories for the keywords you are targeting.

  1. KeywordDiscovery (free & paid version): This tool helps you to discover the best keywords to target for your website or blog by compiling keyword search statistics from all the major search engines. It tells you the search phrases people use to find products and services, helping you to: optimize your website content and meta tags and to maximize your pay per click campaigns
  2. Spyfu.com (free and paid version): As the name goes, you can use this tool to spy on your competitors. If you can find out what your competitors are doing and do better, why can’t you win?
  3. KeyCompete.com: This is yet another spy tool. It recognizes the keywords your competitors use in their pay-per-click campaigns and reveals the competitors that are bidding on your keywords.

Which of these tool is the best? You may ask. In my own opinion, my answer is none. It just depend on the one that gives you the end result you want. I like using the free Google Keyword Planner, Traffic Travis and Spyfu.

Before i call it a day, i’ll like to explain what keyword density is and how to apply it.

After doing keyword research, you’ll come up with a list of keywords with high search volume and low competition. With this powerfull asset you’ll start writing articles in which you’ll incorporate the keywords. The recommended keyword density to use is 2 to 3%. A keyword density of 2% means that for every 500 words, a keyword will appear 10 times and in the case of 3%, a keyword will appear 15 times. Avoid keyword stuffing (i.e. stuffing your article with a particular keyword). The penalty for this offense will be sanctioned by search engines – they will regard your site as spam and rank it low.