Proper keyword research is the most vital part of any SEO or SEM campaign. If you don’t choose the right keywords it doesn’t matter if you rank number one in the search engines, because the people who are finding you are most likely not looking for what you are offering. To help you out we have listed a few keyword research tips below.

How to Choose the Best Keywords
1. The first step in choosing the right keywords is to identify what products or services you are looking to optimize for. If you offer hundreds of products or services you need to narrow it down at first and pick the top ten that you want to optimize for. You can always add more as time goes on, but you don’t want to start off with too many keywords in your campaign at first. It makes things easier and it is more effective if you start out with a smaller number of keywords and then work your way up.

Once you have identified which products and or services you want to optimize for the next step is to find out how people are searching for those products or services.

The best way to do this is to use the free keyword tool created by Google. The Google Keyword Tool is the best keyword research tool out there for the price (Free!) I have read some blog posts by some so-called “SEO experts” that say not to use the Google Keyword Tool exclusively, or that it is not the best. In my opinion, if you were only to use one tool for keyword research it would be the Google Keyword Tool hands down. This tool tells you how many times keywords are searched each month using Google. If that isn’t a goldmine of information I don’t know what is.

Keep in mind that the information shown in the tool are estimates that Google bases off of previous search data, but these estimates are better than any other information you are going to find anywhere else. The data comes directly from Google so I trust that they have the most accurate information regarding the searches done using their site. There are other tools you can use such as Wordtracker, the Keyword Discovery, or the SEOMOZ keyword tool, but considering that Google is used for almost 70% of all searches, and they are offering their keyword data for free, the choice is simple for me and most SEO professionals.

2. After you have found the best keywords according to the keyword tool, the next thing I would do is check out my competitor’s sites and see what keywords they are optimizing for. It should be easy to tell which keywords a site is optimizing for just by looking at the title tags, the page’s source code and the text on the each page.

3. The next thing I do is think of ways that I would search for what my website is offering and see which of my competitors come up on the first page.

4. After that, my next step is to use Google Instant. Google Instant gives suggestions based on what people have searched in the past. Many people no longer type in their entire search query because they see it suggested using Google Instant. This has changed the way people conduct their searches. Take note of the Google Instant suggestions.