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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!

Keyword Research Funnel

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.

Ready to get started with your keyword research? Sign up for a free WordStream account for unlimited access to all our free tools, including the Free Keyword Tool, Keyword Niche Finder and the Keyword Grouper.