SEO Basics: A Keyword Research Tutorial For Google Panda

Let’s face it, the last couple of Google Panda updates have thrown a lot of small time marketers for a loop. While Panda’s done a lot of great things for semantic searches, it’s definitely thrown a lot of websites into disarray. That’s the main reason I’m going to start a mini-series covering SEO basics for after Google Panda.

I assume that this information will remain relatively unchanged due to where I and a number of SEO experts see the world’s biggest search engine going in the near future.

I’ll leave that conjecture for another day.

Anyway, onto the main dish. Today I’m going to go over what I consider the best keyword research tutorial for Google Panda.

The Basics of Keyword Research

I’m going to make this tutorial very open for people, so I’m going to use the Google AdWords Keyword Tool and Google search engine for all of it. If you’re interested in tools that could potentially give you a leg up on a competition, then check out my posts detailing the best keyword research tools of 2013.

Anyway, here’s what my routine is for when I’m looking for new keywords to target.

First, I open up the Google AdWords Keyword Tool.

Then, I set up my environment to look similar to the picture below.

My Google AdWords Keyword Tool Setup

This is the AdWords Keyword Tool that I use for most of my small to medium-sized products during keyword research.

Next, I start brainstorming keywords. Then I search for results that have anywhere from 500 to 10,000 global monthly search results.

The brainstorming part is probably the most difficult.Get creative and feel free to look for synonyms. I use both the Keyword ideas and Ad group  Ideas features.

The last part of this process is to come up with a list of keywords that you like. At this point, you’re going to want to aim for a very, very long list of keywords because the next step is likely to cut your list in about a tenth.

Testing Your Keyword Research’s Viability

It’s not only important to have keywords that have a good number of searches, but it’s also important to be able to rank high for them. The ideal position is #1, as it’s the position that gets 20-40% of all clicks.

You’re going to go right to Google and enter your search terms. You should have your search results set to show at least the top 20 results.

You need to look for five key things:

  1. High Profile Websites
  2. High Profile Forums
  3. Yahoo! Answer Results
  4. Youtube Videos
  5. Web 2.0 Properties (Like Squidoo, Weebly, etc.)

If you’re missing the first two, then there’s a very good chance that you can rank for #1 with a moderate amount of effort.

If you’re missing four, then you should probably go after this keyword.

If you’re missing all five, then you’d be silly not to go for it. You should create these five listed things for that keyword.

Here’s What’s Different About Keyword Research With Panda

Google has shifted towards a semantic search engine. What this means is it no longer searches for the exact term “Lavender Grills”, but it now searches for every synonym of the word. In other words, you’ll see results for “Purple BBQs”, “Lavender BBQs”, and so on.

This is the reason a large number of website targeting long-tail phrases have seen rank drops. It’s also why some keyword choices are no longer viable in the ways that they used to be.

Conclusions About Keywords and Panda

That’s a bare bones insight on how I do research for keywords, and probably how most beginners should start out.

This ensures that you’ll find keywords you can rank for and that you’ll see some sort of results in a timely manner without getting discouraged. Remember that Google is changing a number of rules of the game, so stay tuned for my next update on SEO basics.

If you think that you’re prepared enough, feel free to go over to my post I detail the best keyword research tools of 2013.


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