When doing keyword research, one of the tasks before you is to differentiate between profitable keywords and keywords that are essentially junk.

Keyword research starts with an understanding of your target audience, as well as knowledge of your product or service and how it solves problems for and serves your target audience. It’s really an educated guess that you’ll use to get started; then you need to clean and organize the list of words and phrases to help you avoid using junk keywords.

How Many Searches?

Use a keyword tool like Google Search to establish how many searches there are for a particular keyword phrase or keyword. Use quotes around the keyword phrase to get searches only for that particular phrase. Write down how many pages are returned. A lot of pages returned can mean that the keyword is over used, or depending on the rank of the pages showing up it can show a problem with either the keyword or how it’s being used.

How Many Results?

Next use Google AdWords Keyword Tool to find out an estimated search volume, the cost per click, and to find out who your competitors are and how many there are. The more search results you see for any one keyword or keyword phrase, the harder it will be to compete. What you want to do is find high demand (lots of searches) low competition (fewer results) keywords. It’s important to dig deeper to find out whether it’s a low competition keyword or a junk keyword.

Check the Competition

It’s always a good idea in any type of research you do to check what your competition is doing, and that includes keyword research. Google will return some websites that are using that keyword based on page rank. The more zeroes you see, the better. If you see a lot of competition with high page ranks, over 4 or 5, then it will be that much harder to compete using that particular keyword or keyword phrase.

Use the Keyword Right

The best ways to use keywords are in the titles, anchor text and any HTML based text. If a lot of sites are using the keyword but are not using it correctly, it can be a great keyword to use because a lot of people are looking for it, but the competition isn’t targeting it correctly. You can fill the void. If they are using the keyword right, but the page ranks are still low, it might be because it’s just a junk keyword.

Keyword research uses a lot of assumptions, plus the science of numbers, to come up with a scenario that might work. The next thing you can do after determining whether a keyword has potential or not is to run a test. Create content using the keyword correctly, and see what happens.

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