Q: What should I do to begin my keyword research? Should I use any specific tools or guidelines?
Selecting your keywords is not just about a tool. Keyword selection is a process. First you must use as many tools as you can to find results for specific terms and then you implement and test and tune!
Use all the tools available that you can and compile results. Many people use the Google AdWords tool and Overture Selector Tool. Additionally we have used WordTrackers free tool and Web CEO’s not so free tool.
Tools such as Wordtracker and Keyword Discovery may also help you find keyword phrases as well but these will be more rare, but again cost money.
Let you competition do the work for you too. If you come across spammy sites that are ranked well in the search engines for your selected keywords, you can let them do some research for you. If one competitor keeps showing up for keyword phrases you can see what types of keywords they are using by reviewing their source code or by using tools like KeyCompete or SpyFu.
An article I once read said “The highest value market research data you can collect is collecting how the market is already reacting to your site. If you listen to your site you are not only going to find unique keyword phrases that do not show up on other tools, but you also know that real people are already searching for them those phrases convert (if you track conversions) you are already trusted in some search engines for those phrasesIf you use your own logs and tools like HitTail you can uncover entire categories and keyword baskets where there is little to no competition.”
So basically, use your sits statistics to see what kind of traffic is coming to your site. Its easier to optimize for terms you are doing somewhat well in that other terms. Once you get the op rankings, your traffic will increase significantly from just hose few ranking places.
Don’t let any one of these tools be your deciding factor. You must use your best judgment to make selections form all existing results and them implement to test and tune. You will need to re-evaluate in a few months to see if you should be changing or replacing any keywords.