The first part of keyword research is popularity, how often are keywords actually searched for. There are several tools out there that offer keyword popularity estimates. Google has a free tool that provides popularity estimates. WordTracker and Keyword Discoveryare two other tools provide that information. Unfortunately, none of the tools are very accurate, but they can give you an idea of what keywords are more popular.
The second aspect to keyword research is competition research. Competition research starts with analyzing your web pages to determine how competitive your page is both in general and for specific keywords. This is sometimes referred to as page strength. The next step is to examine the keywords themselves to see how competitive they are. This is sometimes called keyword difficulty. Determining keyword difficulty is done primarily by examining how competitive the pages are that rank well for this keyword, though other methods can be helpful as well. But this can be tricky for two reasons.
- No one other than that search engine designers knows how each search engine determines how competitive a site or page is and the search engine folks aren’t talking.
- Each search engine has a different way of determining how competitive a site or page is. So, even if you could figure out one, it wouldn’t necessarily be so with the other search engines.
Despite these difficulties the search engines do give us some general information about what makes web pages competitive (what determines page strength) and through testing we and other SEOs have figured out a lot more.
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Next, let’s take a look at what makes a page competitive.