Manually gathering all the information needed for keyword research would be prohibitively time consuming and in some cases, such as keyword popularity, impossible. Thankfully, there are people out there willing to help in a variety of ways. Here are some tools you can use. Some tools are free and others are not.
There are two commonly used keyword popularity tools:
Google claims their estimates are based on actual search data, but also are adamant about the fact that they are just estimates. Note: The Google term is only supposed to represent traffic in Google, not in other search engines. WordTracker and Keyword Discovery are both online tools that access a database of search data from smaller search engines and then extrapolate from that data what the estimated total search traffic for the keyword would be in all search engines. Each has a monthly fee.
There are several tools available for helping determining a page’s competitive strength. Here are a few options:
- SEOmoz’s Keyword Difficulty Tool (fee)
- SEOChat’s Keyword Difficulty Tool (free)
- Google Adwords Cost Per Click Research Tool (free)
- WordTracker’s KEI Tool (fee)
- Keyword Discovery’s KEI Tool (fee)
WordTracker and Keyword Discovery both offer the KEI information with their popularity research tool.
Professional SEO Experts:
By now you may be thinking, “This is a bit over my head.” or “I don’t have time for all this.” Thankfully there are people who do this for a living. Hiring a professional SEO will save you a lot of time that would be spent learning how to do keyword research and then actually doing it. And assuming you hire a good one, they should be able to do it better than you can on your own. One potential downside of hiring a professional SEO could be the cost, but if you consider the cost to purchase all tools you’ll need just to research one site, hiring someone who already has the tools may actually end up being less expensive.
If you decide to hire someone to do keyword research or the entire SEO process, make sure you find someone who has been doing it for while. This industry has its share of “fly by night” companies. There are “professional” search engine optimizers who are really nothing more than a guy who just bought a book and set up a website and then there are companies with years of experience and practice at getting results. It may cost a little more, but if you go with the people with the experience, it will pay off in the end.
As a shameless plug, I’ll mention that OurChurch.Com offers Christian Search Marketing Services.
Photo by Novartis AG
Do you have any questions about keyword research?
What tools have you found to be most effective?