Online Marketing TipsSeo

Keyword Research


You must research your keywords before optimising your website.

There is software available to take the workload off you when carrying out keyword research. Here I am going to deal with the manual technique. I will also guide you through the Keyword Efficiency Index.

Keyword research software can be expensive and may only be cost effective for seo companies who don’t have the time to manually carry out keyword research. If you have only one or two websites to optimise for, the manual method is very effective, and free.

1. Draft a List

First things first, you need to draft a list of your desired keywords in order to have a starting point. Then you need to expand that list, without prejudice, until you have an extensive list of keywords and phrases to narrow back down. Do this keyword research you need to have a look at your competitors keywords, asking co-workers, and use Google Adwords which will show you variations of your entered keywords.


2. Use 2, 3 and 4 Word Phrases

When compiling your list you need to include multiple word phrases in order to better your chances of ranking highly in your sector. 2, 3 and 4 word keyphrases are easier to optimise for than 1 single keyword.

Think about it. Try optimising for the word “dog”. Woah! Don’t even go there! You will be up against everyone in the world with the word “dog” in their website, including Wikipedia! At the time of writing, there are 1,190,000,000 results for the word dog.

Why not try a more specific phrase like “organic dog food”. Now you have narrowed the competition down to 26,900,000. That may still be daunting but that represents a lot less websites worldwide. But don’t get too caught up with those numbers. Google uses location and personal preferences when it comes to spitting out results so it’s not like their is a single search results page for the word ‘dog’.

The more specific your keyword phrases are, the more targeted your audience will be. If you optimise for ‘organic dog food’ then someone who is looking for’ cheap dog food’ may pass your site by. And that is a good thing. Targeted clicks on your website mean a lower “bounce rate” (people leaving your site after only one page visit due to irrelevance) and a higher chance of a click converting to a sale or lead.

3. Calculating Keyword Efficiency Index

Eh? I’ll explain… First though, open a new spreadsheet. You’ll need it in a minute.

Keyword Efficiency Index is a number that is given to a particular keyword or phrase that scores it on the basis of worth. You can do all the keyword research you like but if you don’t use the following method you are not going to be fully informed.

I got this fantastic  formula from It shows how good a keyword will be in getting traffic to your site. We use 3 elements;

  1. Relevance
  2. Search Volume
  3. Competition

Set up a spread sheet with 5 columns. You first column is for the keyword. The next 3 are for the following:

  • Relevance: You score a keyword to estimate it’s relevance to your site. 1 for Excellent, 2 for Good, 3 for Poor.
  • Search Volume: Go to Google Adwords to check the average monthly search volume for a word. You can also get localised search results so if you are ‘country specific’ it is a good idea to see what the search volume is in your area.
  • Competition: Type in the keyword in your search bar. Google shows a numeric result at the top of the search page. It says “about 694,000,000 results (in 2.6 seconds), or whatever. That figure represents the amount of websites worldwide that are optimised in some way for that keyword.

The last column is for our KEI result that is calculated automatically using a formula, which I will show you in a second.

In the meantime your keyword spreadsheet should look like this:

keyword research sample page

You can see that the last row shows that less than 10 people search for ‘organic dog food ireland’ per month.

That doesn’t mean that nobody in Ireland is looking for organic dog food, it just means that they aren’t using it in their search term. So there is probably no point in trying to optimise for that specifically. The KEI result confirms this with a score of zero. Your ‘Contact us’ page will place you in Ireland in any case, and possibly your domain extension.

Now lets look at the KEI column. The highest KEI is the most valuable. Because of the numbers entered, including relevance, we can see that the highest scoring search terms are ‘dog food’, ‘pet food’ and ‘organic dog food’ in descending order.

So our formula has told us what keywords will drive the most targeted traffic to our site. We don’t want the ‘cheap pet food’ guys because our product is a bit pricey. We also want to vary our phrases between ‘organic dog food’ and ‘organic pet food’ because both ‘dog food’ and ‘pet food’ are the highest scoring keywords. When you stick ‘organic’ onto either, you will be targeting your potential customers.

If you start to include lots of other keywords you will see very quickly which are the ones that are valuable.

Are you ready to see the formula? Here it is! 


Just copy and paste that into each cell in the KEI column and it will give you your result. Obviously you must make sure your columns are placed from A to E and there are no empty columns to the left of your table, otherwise the formula won’t apply to the correct cells.

4. Using your Keyword Research Results

Now you have your keywords research done, make sure you apply the results effectively. If you cover more than one topic on your website, I suggest you use more than one spreadsheet, one for each topic. If you have a section on your website for ‘dog beds’, then that should be treated separately.

Sort the data on your spreadsheet so the KEI column is being displayed in descending order. Now take a look at the top 5 keywords. If there are very similar results in the top 5 like plural variations, ignore the duplicates and move down the list. You will end up using these naturally in your text anyway.

With your top 5 list you are now armed to optimise some pages of your website. I would take the 2 most important keywords and optimise my home page with them. Then optimise your other important pages with the other keywords.

Make sure you are using these keywords in:

  • Url structure
  • Page titles
  • Meta descriptions
  • H1 H2 & H3 tags
  • First paragraph of body text
  • Rich text i.e. bold, italic, underlined
  • Anchor text i.e. link titles from blog posts to target page
  • Image alt, title and descriptions

Don’t overdo it. Don’t stuff as many of your chosen word into the page. Google will pick up on this and penalise you. Always optimise for the reader first, then the search engine.

Happy Researching! Or let PixieWeb do it for you. Contact us here.

3 thoughts on “Keyword Research

  1. Thank you for your diligence and how you have not held back on the details in this post. A lot of articles seem to fall short of getting to the ‘nity grity’ of the matter but this post has helped me a lot.
    Cheers Jacqui.

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