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GOOGLE ADWORDS – KEYWORD TOOL
This is always my first port-of-call if I need to research keywords. You don’t have to be running a Google Adwords campaign to use the tool. It’s free and provides fairly reliable data on keyword searches performed in Google search. I’m probably not the biggest fan of this tool, but I use it none-the-less and rely on it most of the time, but I also turn to gut feeling about words and phrases because the data provided doesn’t quite have all the semantic analysis that’s needed to work out good phrases from bad ones. This is really where my experience and education comes into it; because the background knowledge of linguistics helps a lot. That’s not to say you can’t get some great data without having a degree in Linguistics. I’d just recommend you take the time and think carefully about keyword phrases that you discover using the tool – and try to put yourself into the shoes of the Google user, your prospective client.
Sometimes it’s possible to get your first clues of likely keywords by examining other websites in the genre that your is in. Especially the ones that rank well. Try a few searches for what words you think are relevant for your industry, and then read the content of the pages that Google serves in the top ten results, paying attention to words in the site other than the keyword phrase you just used to make the search in the first place. Take a note of the words and then add them into the Google Adwords Keyword Tool as a ‘seed list’. The tool will respond with words it thinks are related, as well as the actual stats for the seed words themselves. This is often a good starting point for using the tool if you’re a bit stuck for ideas.