The search for keywords related to your Web site, and the analysis of which ones yield the highest return on investment (ROI).
Keyword research consists of at least three major steps:
(1) discovery – finding as many keywords as possible relating to your Web site. Online tools exist to speed up the discovery process by allowing marketers to search for related keywords and their relative search popularity.
(2) ROI analysis – finding the most valuable keywords for your Web site. The most generic keywords are the most widely searched, but also the most competitive, and sometimes bring mediocre conversion rates. Generally, phrases that most accurately describe specific qualities of a site yield the highest ROI.
(3) competitive analysis – analyzing the strength of competitors for potential keywords. Competitive factors include how attentive sites are to optimization issues and the number of relevant inbound links they have received.
Google AdWords Keyword Planner – requires signup to Google AdWords. Uses Google’s search query data.
Bing Keyword Research – requires signup to Bing Webmaster Tools. Another source of search query data.
Google Trends – compare keyword popularity over time, across geographies, vs. other terms, more.
SEO Tool Feature Matrix – direct links to key features at the major search tools.
SEO Courses – compare at the big list of online courses.