There are a few ingredients for getting the right visitors to your website. One of those is SEO keyword research. 

Knowing the keywords that people search for is essential for generating visitors that actually convert into revenue. 

While making use of professional SEO expertise like PosiRank to do the bulk of the legwork is essential, doing keyword research on your own can help immensely.

You'll want to measure the value of your keywords, use a variety of tools to measure search volumes, and test keyword profitability using paid search advertising. 

To do SEO keyword research successfully, try these tactics. 

Identify The Most Relevant And Competitive Keywords 

It's easy to tell whether a keyword is popular. When you search on Google for using your keywords or search phrases, they usually come with plenty of AdWords ads. This signals that the keyword is profitable and highly competitive.

Doing keyword research will inform your SEO strategy, whether you're targeting difficult keywords that may take years to rank organically, or targeting ones that are within your reach. 

Measure The Value Of Your Keywords By Stealing From Competitors

Rather than start from scratch, you should look at the keywords that your competitors have success with, and refine them. Here are the steps:

Open the AdWords keyword planner.

Click the Tools tab in Keyword Planner, copy the URL of the competitor's website and paste it in the Your Landing Page field. Then click Get Ideas. 

When the results page shows up, click on the Keyword Ideas tab. Right away, you'll see full list of every word that your competitor's site ranks for.

Once you have the keywords that your competitor ranks for, you need to search their website for instances where the keyword appears. 

Look at their actual content to see what how they use their keywords by identifying meta data like page titles, H1 tags and canonicals. Here's a list of free SEO tools to help you do this. You can also use tools like Moz or Screaming Frog (shown below). 

Now you can choose an online tool that tells you how your competitor's site ranks for each keyword. Here's what Moz's looks like.

Test Keyword Conversion Rates With Paid Search Advertising

Using paid search ads can help identify which keywords will drive clicks. If it brings in actual conversions, then you'll know which keywords on your list you should be targeting in SEO. 

Using paid search, calculate your actual revenue for each keyword.

First buy a sample campaign for a set of keywords using Google Adwords or Bing Ads. Then track conversion rates over the course of several hundred clicks. 

You can use tools like Bizible to connect first click data with revenue data inside your CRM.

Make sure ads are specific to your product lines. For example, if you make notebooks and journals, and find that a competitor ranks for the keyword phrases "leatherbound notebooks" and "Moleskine notebooks," target these keywords through PPC testing to understand whether they will convert for you.  

For example, if click through rates from paid search ads generate 100 visitors a day, and 5 visitors converted for a total of $500 in revenue, then that keyword brings in $5 in revenue for every visitor you generate. 

Once you identify profitable keywords you're ready to use SEO and inbound marketing tactics to generate site traffic, and revenue.

For the past several years, Alex Miller has been on the top of all things SEO. His clients have included some of the most successful brands in the health & fitness industry, and he's worked side by side with the "who's who" of the business since 2007.