Keyword research is probably one of the most important aspects of website optimization. Without proper keyword research we may be barking up the wrong tree with all of our efforts to get some traffic to our blogs. So how do we do keywords research, what keyword research tools do we use and how to interpret that data? I think you all know that by now, if you don’t you can subscribe to my blog and download the Keyword Research Bible or you can go to SEOmoz as they explain it in a great way. We are here to talk about our website in the role of a keyword research tool.

Why Should You Use Your Website as a Keyword Research Tool?

I thought it might be better to first explain why you need to use your website as a keyword research tool. This will put things in perspective for you. The answer should be rather obvious, people are using certain keywords to do a search and some of them lead back to your website.

First of all you need to monitor which keywords are brining in traffic for you, second of all you need to discover new keywords that are brining in traffic without you optimizing for those keywords. That happens all the time, just look at your webmasters data and you will probably see plenty of keywords that resulted in a visitor without you making any effort to optimize your website on-page or off-page for that keyword. So, this actually tells us that we can use our own website as a keyword research tool. The reason why is simple, to take advantage of the traffic you are already getting,  but could get more if you only optimized for certain keywords that are right under your nose.

How to Use Your Website as a Keyword research Tool

This part is actually very easy; the hard part was getting your attention to the fact that you can use your own website to look for potential traffic getting keywords.

The first thing you need to do is login to your Google Webmaster Tools and open up the “your site on the web” section and click on the “search queries”. There you will be given a chart presenting keywords and the amount of traffic each one of them brought to you over a course of a month with your average rank and the number of impressions and clicks.

On the image above you can see 4 keywords my website ranks for without me having a clue why, you will have those, but these are not the keywords we want as they are not related to my blog. So make sure to recognize which keywords are relevant, you don’t want to go for number one ranking for the keyword “smart light bulb” if your blog is selling “Chinese paper towels”, you get the picture, those visitors will move right along. On the image below you can however see keywords I unintentionally ranked for and recently started getting some traffic from, these are related to my blog and these are the keywords I might want to investigate a bit.

SEO plan is a keyword that shows, I only wrote one post titled Creating Your SEO Plan, but since then I started receiving some traffic for the keyword and it keeps showing on all my analytics monitoring services I have set. So this is a keyword I wish to investigate. At the moment I am ranked 18 in Google for the keyword, but that means nothing if the keyword doesn’t have a good search volume, so I go to Google Adwords Keyword Tool and look up the search volumes for “SEO plan” and it shows 1,600 searches for an exact match and 5,400 for a broad match, which gives me a chance to experiment with variations to get maximum exposure for this keyword.

In other words, this is a keyword I might want to look into. But besides using Google keyword tool or other keyword tools to find possible variations I also love to use Thesaurus, the greatest keyword tool ever invented, so in other words I might go with “SEO blueprint”, “SEO checklist”, “SEO Game Plan” or even “SEO plan template” and “SEO layout” as well as ever popular “SEO strategy”.

So you can see how easy it is to use a keyword you already have a rank for, without effort, investigate it a bit and come up with several keywords that might bring you massive amount of traffic if you optimize your website and build some links around it. I would personally use one or two variations of the keyword on my blog, but would use all of the other keywords with solid amount of search volume for article marketing and link building. As you can see, no need to pay for expansive keyword tools or rely only on Google Adwords Keyword Tool, you can use your own website as a keyword research tool with great success.