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E-Marketing Performance Blog

The Lawn Mower’s Guide to Keyword Research

quick keyword research

I’m going to tell you how to do keyword research quickly.

“What?” You say. “Quick keyword research? Is that kind of thing even possible? Or legal?”

Possible? Yes.

Legal? Who knows.

Since I’m no lawyer (and the world is better off for it) I can only address the possibility of doing quick keyword research. Now, normally, keyword research is a long and in-depth process. And, unfortunately, there is just no getting around that.

But what you can do is break keyword research down into chunks.

Let’s use an analogy. Keyword research is typically like mowing your lawn.  You can do your lawn in chunks, but what is left undone still needs to be done. If not today, then tomorrow or the next day.

That doesn’t sound like a good strategy, but it is. Here’s why: You’re not dealing with a small lawn here. In fact, when it comes to keyword research, your lawn isn’t just your lawn but it’s every lawn in a 100-mile radius. Of course, you can’t do all that mowing in a single day, so what do you do? You break it into chunks. You’ll do some lawns on Monday, some on Tuesday, some on Wednesday, and so on.

When you break your keyword research into chunks, you’re merely focusing on an area of keyword research that you can use at any given moment. Obviously, you can’t optimize your site for every keyword in a night, so you don’t need to do all your keyword research in one night either.

Keyword Research Phases

Keyword research should be broken down into phases. If you try to do it all at once, you’ll get buried in work with no time to utilize the research you’ve just done. Instead, do a phase of research and use it before you move on to the next phase. It works a little something like this:

Core Terms: Start with the broad topics covered by your site. The goal is to not get too granular but to hit on the high-level areas that you service. Pick out the unique ways people search for what you offer, minus all of the qualifiers. For example:

  • Good: snow pants, winter jackets, mittens, snowmobile gear, etc.
  • No Good: fur hooded ski jacket, red parka jacket, waterproof long jacket, etc.

It’s not that those ‘no good’ keywords are not valuable to your site, they just aren’t valuable to you right now.

These topics provide you with ideas for content that your site needs. Maybe you already have some good content that fits these topics, or maybe you’ll find that you need some new content to target as wide of a (targeted) audience as possible. Use this research to map out your content strategy for both your main site and your blog.

Targeted Phrases: Once you have your content strategy, you can start diving into further keyword research for each page of content you plan to create. This is where the ‘no good’ phrases from phase one become gold nuggets of value. Researching each core term/topic can produce hundreds of phrases related to that topic. It can also produce dozens of new topic ideas.

It’s generally a good idea to only do targeted phrase research for one core term at a time. Take the information you receive and spend time creating and optimizing content until all of the valuable keywords you discovered are utilized. Only then should you move on to the next one.

Depending on how many topics you have, the targeted phrase research can go on almost indefinitely. There is always another lawn to mow. But if you do one at a time, you can actually get a chance to use the lawn you just mowed, or in this case, the keywords you just researched.

If you do all your research at once, by the time you get to optimizing, things may have changed and you’ll have to freshen up the research before you got a chance to use it. While it’s always a good idea to revisit your keyword research and optimization from time to time, you save yourself a lot of hassle if those revisits come after you’ve had a chance to get some value from your work.

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

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