Search Engine Tips: How to do Basic Keyword Research


“You say ‘Tomato’, I say ‘Tomäto”.

Grandma discovers keyword research

As it turns out, many of us speak differently. Different backgrounds, interests, internet experience, education, and even geographical location have a lot to do with the way we communicate. The internet is no exception. Everywhere you look you will find people who behave and type much differently than others. Before you create any content, you must figure out how people talk about your topic. 


One of my favorite keyword research examples is “Pop vs. Soda”. Let’s say I wanted to write a blog post highlighting the sales of carbonated drinks in Seattle.

My first step would be plugging keywords into the handy Google Keyword Tool:

Pop vs Soda Keyword Research Results

I would then ask myself which term I should use for my blog post. One might make the mistake of using ‘pop’ just because of the sheer number of monthly searches it gets. This is where you have to determine the relevance of the term.

When referring to carbonated beverages, I always say ‘Pop’. However, I assume that ‘Pop’ is too broad of a search term and will net many unrelated results.

Let’s try it out. As you can see, the first results are completely unrelated.

The keyword research results for pop

Same search using ‘Soda’:

Keyword research results for soda

As you can see, my hypothesis was correct. ‘Soda’ generated much better search results. It also included several news stories which means that Google has found those articles relevant and fresh enough to be placed on the first page for that term. This is a good indicator that Google recognizes that term and knows how to categorize it.

Don’t fall into the trap of targeting keywords just because they have a lot of search volume. If you’re trying to rank for “pop” or “soda,” you’re in for a struggle either way. Instead, consider targeting longer terms or even questions. For example:

  • All natural soda
  • Popular pop brands
  • Lemon-lime soda
  • Favorite soda brand?
While each of the above may generate far less search volume than “pop,” they’re also far less competitive, and far more specific. You’re more likely to rank for these terms without a significant undertaking. The traffic should also be of much higher quality, since it’s more targeted. It’s worth noting that by optimizing for “all natural soda,” you’re still optimizing for “soda” as well – a long-term benefit!

Soda and Pop Keyword Research

This simple experiment illustrates a vital component in search engine optimization – Keyword Research. Without thorough keyword research, your content won’t be found through search engines. If you are a die-hard ‘pop’ user, you would only be hurting yourself by using it exclusively in your content.

Always be mindful of your language. Adapt to your readers or potential visitors. Use this very basic keyword research analysis to create questions and scenarios to help you pick the best possible keyword combinations.


Check back often for more web presence management tips that will kick-start your website and keep it competitive – permanently!

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