Choosing the right keywords can make the difference between getting found in search and not getting found. That makes keyword research the foundation of any successful online marketing strategy.

The first step in creating an initial keyword list is to brainstorm as many keyword ideas as possible. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • List brands and product/service names.
  • Come up with variations of product- and brand-related words and phrases.
  • Ask clients what terms they used to search for your product or service.
  • Study your competitors’ sites.
  • If your product is location-based, consider adding geographic descriptors such as city, county or state names.

With your brainstorm list in-hand, enter your keywords into the Google AdWords Keyword Tool and you’ll get a battery of suggested search words and phrases. Once you’ve built an overarching list you can start to select the most relevant keywords for your site.