Depending on what type of website or business you have you will most likely be conducting different types of keyword research during the initial onsite search engine optimization process. If you have a smaller service based business with ten pages on your website you will take a different approach than if you have an ecommerce site that has a thousand pages. Either way, I recommend that you use a professional keyword research tool, such as Keyword Discovery or Wordtracker.
When conducting keyword research for an ecommerce website you have to take into account all your categories and products. Don’t assume the search volume is going to be generic across the board. There will be many different types of branded keywords along with category based keywords that you will come up with. The goal is to not overwhelm yourself. If you are relatively new to the search engine optimization industry take things slow at first. Start with all your high level pages and maybe category pages and make a column for each URL in your spreadsheet. Now start conducting keyword research while thinking really hard what a person would type to make it to that specific page. If you are feeling good about it you can include all your product pages as well and get it all done in one swipe. Get ready for very large lists of keywords though. Don’t be surprised if some pages generate thousands and thousands of keywords. It will take some time to really sift through all of them and chose the cream of the crop. Remember that you should never target more than 5 keywords per page so if you see a page is generating hundreds and thousands of keywords and you feel confident with what you already have will work feel free to move onto the next one page.
Keyword research is a very important step when optimizing a website. Don’t worry though because if you find out later on that you missed a really good phrase or word to target you can easily introduce into the website at that point in time. In fact, I typically recommend keyword research is completed (after the onsite optimization is completed) every 1 to 2 years. This is because of the long term nature of SEO and also this will give you enough time to gather data about the keywords that you have incorporated on your website.
Some industries keywords change all the time because of new industry buzz terms springing up frequently. Imagine what those websites must have to go through. For the most part though once you optimize a website you don’t have to do it again unless you change your content or find that there are new buzz words in your industry that have made their way into search volume.