Like every other form of marketing, research is one of the core components to success. Without market research, your content is no good. Without keyword research, your optimization becomes much more difficult.

Therefore, if you can master research techniques that are in line with your SEO efforts, success will come much more quickly and consistently.

Without duplicating an amazing resource that is already available, you should check out the following getting started guide focused at research (market & keyword):

Getting Started with Keyword Research

Before you even begin to create your content within your website, blog or article you need to perform keyword research to get specific data on these keywords first.

With article marketing, we do recommend that you go for keywords with less than 5,000 quoted results in Google, however with SEO in general you can attempt to optimize pages for multiple keywords and they do not necessarily have to fit within this criteria.

Obviously the easiest way to get ranked is to target keywords that have limited competition, but you also need to target keywords that get traffic as well. Without any traffic, what is the point in investing the time to optimize an entire page (the time and energy).

Thus, you should spend some time reviewing the actual traffic volume of keywords as well. To do this we offer a great keyword tool within WA:

Keyword Research Tool

Play around with the keyword tool a little. Notice anything?

If you did, you will have noticed that the longer the keywords are the less the competition they have...but also the less traffic. That is OK. The good part about this is that the longer the keyword is, the more relevant it becomes and the easier it becomes to target your audience with a specific sales message!

Anyways, back to the keywords. Kyle created an excellent tutorial outlining how to take a completely broad keyword and break it down to find longer-tailed, highly relevant search terms (which would be great for SEO).

How to Master Keyword Research (the long tail)

In the next section we are going to explain in further detail the importance of "copywriting". These are the words that when put together correctly, can lead the major search engines to "love your content". Researching the market for content is also going to be explained in more depth.

Leveraging Competition

What sites are better to look at than that of your competition. If they are ranked high within the natural search listings, then they must be doing something right. Ultimately you can take full advantage of someones efforts and leverage their content (and improve upon it) to obtain high search engine rankings.

Here is what you do:

Search for a keyword in Google that you are interested in getting listed for. For example, if you were looking to get listed under the search term "make money on the net", you would do a search for this term in Google (in quotes). Here are the top 4 results that were returned from this search:

The first thing you want to look at are the ads. The first line are the tags for the website and the remaining content is typically drawn from the meta tags (description or name) or the actual content, depending on which carries a higher display relevance.

The next thing you want to do is visit the actual page and review the content. Take some ideas from the actual density of the keywords from the top pages. You can take the content and run it through Rapid Writer to get an idea of the density. Typically you will find that the density will be between 2-5%, depending on the length of the content.

Lastly, you want to formulate your own unique mix of the content. You do not want to COPY, you want to emulate. This means you creating your own unique content, targeting the keywords in the same way as the top listings.

This is not a foolproof method of getting ranked, but it can definitely help!

Utilize tests

Search engines like Google can be pretty elusive, alternating and renewing their search engine algorithms on a regular basis. Marketers will never know the exact formula for search engine rankings, thus a level of "trial and error" should be implemented within every campaign

What we suggest you do is continually try new SEO tactics. Try one thing, review, try something else, review...record what works and what doesn't.

Seo is a work in progress and sometimes you will find some things that really work while some that don't offer any benefit. For example, getting a link from Site A to yours might give you instant rankings, or having pages that are 650 words with a 7% keyword density might rule the Search Engines.The key is to test and refine. Once you find a formula that works within the search engines, expand quickly.

There is an entire section dedicated to research, including techniques which can be utilized for leveraging research to tackle SEO for both audience and keyword research.

Research Category

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Good Stuff Carson.
wald Premium
"The 6 Important Ranking Factors" - there are only 5 listed on the Creating Content That Ranks tab as of this date
elizadeen Premium
"The 6 Important Ranking Factors" - there are only 5 listed on the Creating Content That Ranks tab as of this date
Outyonder Premium
Nice intro to SEO!
Ridemx Premium
Nice intro to SEO!