Figure out what people really want.

Qualify the traffic to your website.

Get proven data to build content on.

Using keywords that show some intent to do business with you is essential, because by using the right keywords and phrases, you can ensure your visitors are the right kind of visitors. Don’t rely on guesswork. When optimising your website, always check your assumptions and build on facts.

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Keyword Research is the Cornerstone of SEO

SEO can’t really be established without first checking what words people are actually searching for. Comparing those words with the presumed commercial intent of the searcher is crucial. Usually, highly refined search words or phrases provide better value traffic than broad ones. There are several Keyword Research tools available on the web, most can be used cost-free and without license.


For the last few years, search engines like Google no longer consider the “Keywords META” box as a relevant source of keywords for your page, because in the past this was heavily abused for the sake of SEO. Google now completely ignores this feature, so if you’re adding words in there it won’t make any difference to your rank or relevance. We recommend always weaving keywords into the text your intend to have read by visitors to your site.

Keyword Research for Optimising Website Content

Keyword Research How-To

We recommend using a keyword research tool such as the Google Adwords Keyword Tool.

To start this research, you begin with making some basic assumptions about what people could be searching for when looking for what you have to offer. The actual searches that someone types into Google for example, can be either a single word, or even whole sentences, which is why Keyword research is really more accurately called “Keyword Phrase” research. The SEO industry generally calls these all just “keywords”.

Using your assumptions, you test them in the research tool to get an actual statistic on how often your words are searched. You’ll get some great info:

  1. How many times is the phrase being searched
  2. How much competition there is for that phrase on the web
  3. How much it might cost you, per click, if you ran a Google Adwords campaign targeting that word or phrase.

The Google tool also offers links to geographic breakdowns of where these searches come from, but NZ often has too few stats for this to be helpful. It is great though, if you are targeting a global market.

Most keyword tools like the Google Adwords Keyword tool will also suggest other words or phrases that are related to the ones you put in. Maybe it will even suggest one or two you didn’t think of.

Basically, you build a list of words and phrases that have good numbers of searches being performed on them, and use them for the rest of your SEO steps. It’s very important to note though that the “commercial intent” should be examined with each phrase that you discover has good stats. You need to target and then use phrases that have very specific meaning – a meaning that says “the person who searched this in Google was actually looking for what I offer”. If you think carefully about a certain phrase you think is appropriate to refer visitors to your site, but can think of several other possible meanings, then your phrase is too Broad.

Often, phrases that you thought might refer to you, get no searches at all. This is a valuable stat to find out, because it demonstrates that people really are NOT looking for it. A warning: don’t be insistent that a certain phrase is one you need to use when the stats prove few if any searches for it.

Things to Note

Keyword phrases can be divided into three types: broad match, phrase match and exact match.

Broad match:

Includes part or all of your suggested phrase, but not necessarily in the same order, and not even all of the words. This means that while broad matches often show very favourable stats, they are simply too “broad” in meaning (hence the name), may be spelled slightly different and possibly not related to your offer.

An example of Broad match:

My phrase: frames (lets say I sell picture frames)

This will have a broad match to:

“was OJ Simpson framed?”

“where can I buy glasses with metal frames?”

“how do I install an iFrame into my website?”

As you can see, Broad matches are often not relevant.

Phrase match:

These are more concise, and have inherently smaller stats, however, it means that the phrase being searched in Google matches with the phrase you suggested, with the possible addition of other words before and/or after the phrase.

My phrase: “picture frames”

Phrase matches:

“where can I buy picture frames?”

“where can I buy picture frames made of wood?

“picture frames, Auckland”

Exact match:

These are usually highly refined and have the smallest stats, but the good news is that while the stats may be low, they are searches for precisely the phrase I think represents my offer.

En example of a great exact match:

[picture frames online] (I sell picture frames on my website)

This means that the stat for that exact phrase is almost certainly from someone wanting to buy picture frames online, so the perfect example of a “quality” referral to my website. I would want to optimise for this phrase if I sold picture frames on my website.

The screen shot below shows statistics for each of the three types of keyword: Broad match, [Exact match], “Phrase match”.

The more precise the match, the lower the statistic for that will be.