Keyword Research Basics


Selecting keywords that best fit your audiences intent is the foundation for a successful SEO strategy.  It can appear overwhelming to select successful keywords that are effective and efficient.  However, if you break this process down into a few steps it will make more sense and produce valuable keywords.

The first part of this process is always brainstorming.  Get a group together in your firm and start thinking of keywords and phrases that a user might enter into a search engine.  Let’s assume you are a used car dealer in San Diego. Your brainstorming session will most likely produce broad keywords like “used car dealer”, ‘used cars in San Diego”  and  “used car dealer San Diego.” Work on getting a list of 10 of these broad terms.  

If we conduct a search for “used cars San Diego” we get 289,000,000 results. As you’ve probably guessed by now, trying to compete on these broad keywords is nearly impossible.

Now it’s time to start doing some research.  Look at competitors in your area and find out what keywords they are using. Always look for sites that are similar to yours and competitors that rank high in your industry. A simple way to figure out what keywords they are using is to click the right button on your mouse and choose “select page source”, this will show you the HTML language used on the site. Then click “Control F” to bring up the find function. From here you can enter keywords to see if they are being used. You can also simply scroll down the HTML page and look for keywords. 

We know “used cars san diego” is too broad of a keyword to keep us competitive with SEO, so next start making the keywords more specific. Assume we have more used fords than any other brand on our lot, so let’s try “used ford cars san diego”. We get 21,400,000 results, much less than our broader search but still a lot.

To narrow it even further, we know that Ford Trucks are very popular and we have quite a few of them so we are going to try the keyword phrase, “used ford trucks san diego”. Now we’re down to a much lower number.


Next we know that black is the most popular color of Ford Trucks, so we are going to research the keyword phrase, “used black ford trucks san diego”. In this case we actually get a higher number of results.

Now we can try a specific year, “used 2018 black ford trucks san diego”. This gives us the lowest number of results.

Keyword research requires thought, research and applied methodology.  Using too many keywords (keyword stuffing) or by using keywords and phrases that are too broad you are setting yourself up for SEO failure.

If you want a little free help for keyword planning, you can access the Google Search Console (Google Search Console). There are also several paid sites that will help with this but frequently using your own research is just as effective!

If you have any questions about developing a successful, comprehensive Marketing Campaign, please feel free to schedule a call with me!

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