Keyword Research

Keyword Research – The first step in any professional campaign is to do some keyword research and analysis.

Somebody asked me about this a simple white hat tactic and I think what is probably the simplest thing anyone can do that guarantees results.

The chart above (from last year) illustrates a reasonably valuable 4-word term I noticed a page I had didn’t rank high in Google for, but I thought probably should and could rank for, with this simple technique.

I thought it as simple as an example to illustrate an aspect of onpage SEO or ‘rank modification’, that’s white hat, 100% Google friendly and never, ever going to cause you a problem with Google.

This ‘trick’ works with any keyword phrase, on any site, with obvious differing results based on the availability of competing pages in SERPs, and availability of content on your site.

The keyword phrase I am testing rankings for isn’t ON the page, and I did NOT add the key phrase…. or in incoming links, or using any technical tricks like redirects or any hidden technique, but as you can see from the chart, rankings seem to be going in the right direction.

You can profit from it if you know a little about how Google works (or seems to work, in many observations, over years, excluding when Google throws you a bone on synonyms. You can’t ever be 100% certain you know how Google works on any level, unless it’s data showing you’re wrong, of course.)

What did I do to rank number 1 from nowhere for that key phrase?

I added one keyword to the page in plain text because adding the actual ‘keyword phrase’ itself would have made my text read a bit keyword stuffed for other variations of the main term. It gets interesting if you do that to a lot of pages, and a lot of keyword phrases. The important thing is keyword research – and knowing which unique keywords to add.

This example illustrates a key to ‘relevance’ on a page, in a lot of instances, is a keyword.

The precise keyword.

Yes – plenty of other things can be happening at the same time. It’s hard to identify EXACTLY why Google ranks pages all the time…but you can COUNT on other things happening and just get on with what you can see works for you.

In a time of light optimisation, it’s useful to EARN a few terms you SHOULD rank for in simple ways that leave others wondering how you got it.

Of course, you can still keyword stuff a page, or still spam your link profile – but it is ‘light’ optimisation I am genuinely interested in testing on this site – how to get more with less – I think that’s the key to not tripping Google’s aggressive algorithms.

There are many tools on the web to help with basic keyword research (including the Google Keyword Planner tool and there are even more useful third party SEO tools to help you do this).

You can use many keyword research tools to identify quickly opportunities to get more traffic to a page.

Google Analytics Keyword ‘Not Provided.’

Google Analytics was the very best place to look at keyword opportunity for some (especially older) sites, but that all changed a few years back.

Google stopped telling us which keywords are sending traffic to our sites from the search engine back in October 2011, as part of privacy concerns for its users.

Google will now begin encrypting searches that people do by default, if they are logged into Google.com already through a secure connection. The change to SSL search also means that sites people visit after clicking on results at Google will no longer receive “referrer” data that reveals what those people searched for, except in the case of ads.

Google Analytics now instead displays – keyword “not provided“, instead.

In Google’s new system, referrer data will be blocked. This means site owners will begin to lose valuable data that they depend on, to understand how their sites are found through Google. They’ll still be able to tell that someone came from a Google search. They won’t, however, know what that search was. SearchEngineLand (A great source for Google industry news)

You can still get some of this data if you sign up for Google Webmaster Tools (and you can combine this in Google Analytics) but the data even there is limited and often not entirely the most accurate. The keyword data can be useful, though – and access to backlink data is essential these days.

If the website you are working on is an aged site – there’s probably a wealth of keyword data in Google Analytics:

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