Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Choosing SEO Keywords

The success of a SEO strategy often starts with the right selection of keywords it will be focused on. No matter the size of your website, there's a limit on how many keywords can you optimize any page for, and you will be better focusing on a list of 10 to 15 keywords instead of trying to optimize for everything and getting only half way there. Learning how to choose SEO keywords will give you the best results for your SEO efforts.

Choosing the right SEO keywords starts with knowing your audience and what kind of keywords are they going to enter on a search engine query box when they are interested on your website products or services. The best way to start is making a list of all the words you would use to search for your products, even asking other people what they enter on a search engine when shopping for whatever you offer or looking for the information your website provides. It doesn't matter if it's a big list, since you will refine it later. At this stage, a keyword analysis tool such as the Google Keywords Tool can be useful as well, as it will suggest related terms that you may not have thought about, and you can use it later on to refine your search as well.

After you have the list you need to cut it down to about 15 words or sentences to focus on. There are two aspects that need to be considered, the competition and the number of searches for that keyword (though they are both closely related). Enter your full list of words into the Google Keywords tool, or if you are willing to invest some money use a commercial keyword research tool for even more information. This way you can see how many searches a month a keyword has, and how much money people are willing to pay for using it on a PPC campaign, which is usually a good guideline to see how competitive a keyword is.

Keep in mind that many one word keywords competition is really strong, and that most people never uses a single keyword to search for the things they need. For example, a person looking to plan a holiday will look for hotels in a particular city or area, and not just search for "hotels". Think of factors why people would search for your site, such as your location or distinctive things such as "growth locally" for food products, "quick delivery" on physical products or "direct download" for software if you offer that form of delivery. Do you offer a very specialist service, such as legal advice on a very specific area? That would be a good selling point and will improve your chances of selecting highly effective SEO keywords. Add those keywords to your existing suggested list, and look for long tail keywords (sentences as opposed to single words) that have a high enough volume of searches and not too much competition. This way you can reduce your list to about 20 keywords. You can Google Keyword Tool.

To finally choose the SEO keywords you want to focus on, take a look at the competition by doing a Google and MSN search for each one of them. There's some battles that are best not fighting over, and if you see that the top ten spots for a keyword are taken by really big websites such as Amazon or Ebay you may prefer to remove those from your list. Order your existing list of 20 keywords based on the amount of searches and how likely you are to overcome the competition that shows up on a Google search for those keywords. If all your keywords have very strong competition, you may want to go back to step two and choose different ones or think seriously about a really strong SEO strategy that would include adding lots of content to your site and a very strong link building campaign that may better be undertaken by a professional SEO agency.

After you have ordered your list you should focus on your first 15 options, and focus on about 3 for every page on your website. Since they all should be related to each other every page of your site will add value to the other pages, even if they aren't specifically focusing on the exact same keywords. After your website is optimized, remember that results can take a while to materialize. You should refine your SEO campaign by using a web analytics tool such as Google analytics and see what searches are sending you the right kind of traffic, and focus any further effort on them. The right kind of traffic is the one that actually stays on your site and fulfils the goals for your website, from registering to read your articles to actually buying your items.

53 comments:

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A great post to get the better rankings with some fine keywords. A great post to keep in mind for the seo professionals.

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Choosing an incorrect keywords and not really competitive will result a painful part in optimizing the site. The first thing is really competitive keyword must be in place before making in moves. As a professional search engine optimization services company we make sure that keyword play a vital role in optimization process.

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