For the rest of the week, we'll be posting excerpts from a new free white paper: Seven Steps to a Better Search Campaign. Click here to download the full white paper now .
If you've got seven days, you've got the time to create a hard-working, high-performance search campaign. Whether your focus is organic search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, also known as paid search marketing, these seven simple steps will help you build a comprehensive, relevant, dynamic keyword database that will drive traffic and revenue through search. As soon as next week, your business will start to see:
- An increase in traffic
- More qualified leads
- Lower search marketing costs
These are just a few of the benefits you'll experience with more effective keyword research, organization, and management. Let's get started and see how it's done!
Step 1: Start Broad with Extensive Keyword Research
Whether you're launching a new website or optimizing the one you've got, it's a good idea to start broad and develop an extensive keyword list.
Broad keyword research  puts you in a position to target a variety of keywords, so you can see which terms and phrases actually drive the most traffic and revenue for your business. The most critical part of keyword research is refining your targets; you can then focus your time and marketing spend on the best performers. But you'll never know which pockets of keywords work best for your business if you don't start with a broad base. Your best performing keywords are often non-intuitive!
To generate an extensive, but relevant, list of keywords, it's important to aggregate keywords from multiple sources. To do this, you'll want to look at your company's:
- Past – Use a free analytics package such as Google Analytics or a custom analytics package  to see the various ways people find and reach your website, as well as which keywords drive the most traffic. Your historical site logs are a goldmine of relevant keyword data, and too often underutilized.
- Present – Talk to peers and colleagues. Look at your competitors' sites (or use a competitive keyword tool like the one in WordStream for SEO ). Pay attention to what your customers say when they talk about you on blogs, review sites and social networks like Twitter.
- Future – Use free keyword tools to get an idea of how much potential traffic a keyword opportunity represents. WordStream's Keyword Niche Finder  can help you uncover profitable pockets of related keywords that you may be neglecting.
Combining the forces of past, present and future data will provide you with a strong body of keywords to test and learn from. However, a vast amount of keyword data is only valuable insofar as you maintain the ability to control it.
In Step 2 of our guide, we'll discuss strategies for organizing keyword research so you don't get lost in your own data.