There are some great keyword research tools available, some are free and some are not so free. Some such as Wordtracker have huge databases of keywords gathered from a mixture of search engines and others such as seed keywords let you ask your friends and contacts what they would search for to solve a given scenario.
However, there's another a great and free resource full of keywords at your disposal that you may not have tapped into, your own analytics data. I have spoken about this before but I thinks it's worth another mention and this time I'll make it into a check list because people apparently like check lists.
First off some background. To the inexperienced DIY SEOer Analytics can seem daunting. There's a lot of graphical and tabular data to wade through and it's not always clear what the data means. However if you click through to the keywords section, and if you are using PPC make sure you select only the un paid keywords, you can see the key phrases that have sent traffic to your site.
At the top of the list of keywords you may see keywords and key phrases that have sent many visitors to your site. If you carry out your own search using these keywords you may well find your site in page 1. Although there may be an opportunity to fine tune your pages that target these phrases the chances are they are already working hard enough for your site.
Further down the list you will find keywords and phrases that have sent only a few visitors to your site, these are the words and phrases we are interested in here and this is how to use them.
- Find phrases that have sent some traffic - anything from 1 to 5 visitors to your site.
- Carry out a search and see where your site is placed for these phrases.
- Create a list of words and phrases that have sent low levels of traffic where your site is on page 2, 3 or 4 of the search results. This is important, you don't want phrases that have low traffic levels where you appear on page one for a search using these words. This indicates a phrase that isn't used very often.
- Now create pages optimised for these phrases.
The rationale is simple. If a phrase has sent some traffic, even though your page is not in the top ten, then it's worth seeing what happens if your site has a page that ranks higher for the phrase. In an ideal world a phrase that's sending some traffic, even though your site has a low rank for that phrase, will send more traffic if your site has a page that ranks higher.
There are no guarantees but what have you got to lose? Analytics will show you if your efforts are sending more traffic and if you create 10 pages each optimised for one of these phrases the chances are some of them will bear fruit.