7 Steps to Effective Keyword Research

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When researching keywords for a particular website, there are best practices to help you find the best keyword phrases. I will explain several keyword research methods and provide some hints to help along the way.

It is important to remember that getting ranked for a keyword phrase is based, in part, on how relevant the content is within your website around any sought-after keyword phrase. In the following steps, we will identify and create a keyword list for a law firm. This list will contain three groups of keywords representing your GEOGRAPHICAL AREA, your PRACTICE AREAS and general TERMS. We will merge those keywords then apply your new keyword phrases to Google ADWORDs to research the value of each keyword phrase.

Keyword Research Steps

1. Understand your geographical area.

Are you targeting keyword phrases locally, regionally and or on national level? If you support one or all of these regions, then create a list of keywords. Remember, search engines know where you are located so claiming you represent a location that you do not will hurt your ranking.

2. Identify keywords based on your website content.

Your practice areas contain a rich supply of keywords which should be woven throughout the content of your website. Content based around keyword phrases is deemed more relevant by search engines and will help your ranking. It also creates an area of knowledge that gives search engines and searchers confidence.

3. Add keyword suffix terms.

The general terms you will use should be based around your specific business. For lawyers, use the terms “lawyer,” “lawyers,” “attorney,” “attorneys,” “law firm,” and “law firms”.

4. Organize your research results.

I use Excel for the ease of gathering and containing my research results. Create the following column headers: GEOGRAPHICAL AREA, PRACTICE AREAS, TERMS, MERGE, ADWORD, GOOGLE SUGGEST, UBER and RESULTS. Insert the keywords you have compiled from steps 1-3 into your Excel document.

A screenshot of an Excel spreadsheet with columns labeled: "GEOGRAPHICAL AREA," "PRACTICE AREAS," "TERMS," "MERGE," "ADWORD," "GOOGLE SUGGEST," "UBER," and "RESULTS" highlights the importance of 7 Steps to Effective Keyword Research for organizing data.

5. Create keyword phrases.

Now that you have created a list containing your keywords, the next step is combining all of your keywords to create keyword phrases. Essentially, you are combining the keywords from the geographical area column with the keywords from the practice area column and the keywords from the terms column.

A free useful online tool for this task is Mergewords with its three column field waiting for your input. Placing each of your keywords into one of Mergewords’ columns in any order will yield different results; you will get (GEO/PRACTICE AREAS/TERMS or PRACTICE AREAS/TERMS/GEO etc.) results that are being sought in Google or you will find that no one is searching for that specific keyword phrase. Once you’ve added your keywords to mergewords, click the “Merge!” button. Place the new keyword phrases into your Excel document under the column heading of MERGE.

Screenshot of Mergewords tool interface showing options to combine words for domain registrations or Google AdWords. Three input boxes are provided for words with a "Merge!" button below them, perfect for following the 7 Steps to Effective Keyword Research.

6. Check your keywords in Google Adword.

Next, take the newly merged keywords and find their value within Google using Google Adword. Google ADWORD is another free online tool to determine if your keyword phrases are being sought after. Signing into Google will save time. However, you can only search 100 keyword phrases at a time. Checking the keywords will save them so you can download all of your choices at the end. You can also view the “Google Suggest” list. Checking them will save them to a separate document. Adding all of your newly found results to your Excel document helps keep all of your research in one place.

Google AdWords interface showing the "Find keywords" tool, where users input words or phrases to generate keyword ideas. Options for website, category, match types, and filters are visible on the left side, aligning with the principles of "7 Steps to Effective Keyword Research" for optimal results.

7. Follow up with Ubersuggest.

If, after all of these possible keyword choices, you would still like to pursue other suggestions try using Ubersuggest. Adding a keyword here will take advantage of Google’s own suggest tool and show you what searchers are typing into Google.

The user interface of Ubersuggest includes a search bar labeled "query…" and drop-down menus for language selection ("English USA") and search type ("Web"). For further optimization, consider the insights from "7 Steps to Effective Keyword Research.

Remember to save your research. Comparing results over time will allow you to see what keywords worked and what keywords need work.

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