Having the right keywords and key phrases are paramount to an effective SEO campaign.
SEO starts with your chosen keywords.
If you don’t have the right keywords, don’t expect much in regards to the traffic you receive from the search engines.
In this section we’ll cover how to pick the right keywords to bring in valued traffic from search engines.
Understanding Your Target Market
Choose keywords that your target market would associate with your topic, not what you associate with your topic.
The secret is to find the variation of keywords for your niche that are searched for the most in search engines by your target market.
Make sure your keywords relate to your website and that those words don’t have double meanings (ex; depression can be both a mental state and a financial state).
There are tools to help you find the best keywords that we’ll go into later. Just understand that you want to choose the words from your target markets perspective.
The Long Tail Theory
The long tail is basically the longer variable key phrases of a given simpler phrase. (Ex; the main keyword of BMW has a long tail with words such as BMW 1 series, BMW 2 series, etc.)
Although you may not rank number 1 for “BMW” you may rank high for “BMW dealerships” and other variables. The combined traffic of the long tail may be more then the traffic coming from “BMW”
You’ll want to pick key phrases that have long tail attributes.
The traffic from long tail keywords are generally better customers since they have a better idea of what they want.
Tools To Find The Best Keywords
Google by far has the most dominating keyword tools out there on the market… and best of all… they’re free!
The following tools are provided by Google and are extremely easy to use:
There are other tools out there; one that we like to use is Microsoft’s demographic prediction tool:
The demographic prediction tool is useful in that you’ll get a better idea of who’s searching for those keywords so you can have a better idea of your market.
Yahoo! Site Explorer is another useful tool that can give you information on a website as it pertains to the Yahoo! search engine. It can be found here:
One of the best features of Yahoo! Site Explorer is that it allows you to see what websites are linking back to a website (very useful when researching your competition).
Picking Out The Best Keywords
The best keywords are ones with a good long tail… but because a lot of words can have multiple meanings make sure that the long tail primarily consists of phrases relevant to your subject.
You’ll also want a word with very little competition per search volume. Essentially you want a keyword that is searched for a lot but lacks websites covering it.
The easiest way to find out how much competition a keyword has is to type that keyword into Google and see how many results come up.
Study the top 20 or so websites that come up for a keyword so you can see what you’re up against. You want a good keyword but you don’t want a lot of competition.
The relevant keyword with the least amount of results per search volume should be added to your keyword list.
Although a general but relevant keyword will have lots of competition, it will hold value in the long run since eventually with enough work you may rank high for it.
Keywords that have low competition but high search rates should be on your list since they’ll help in the short term.
Having A Master Keyword List
You should write down all the good keywords along with each ones search volume and number of results.
We recommend using a spread sheet to keep all this data as it will be easier to manipulate.
Having a master keyword list will come in handy when creating content and it’s important that you review the keywords every once in a while to keep yourself focused.
Google’s AdSense keyword tool has an option to export your chosen keywords into a txt file (which can then be imported into Excel. It can be found here:
Inspect The Competition
Always keep a close eye on your competition… chances have it they’re also inspecting you.
See who ranks #1 for a certain keyword and try to deduce what they do to get there.
Do a search for your keywords in Google and Yahoo! and examine the top 10 or so results, those are your competitors.
If you installed SeoQuake mentioned earlier in the lesson, you’ll be able to get some interesting information on your competition.
You can use a Yahoo! Site Explorer to see exactly what pages are linking back to your competitors.
Upon doing research you’re likely to find that a lot of your competitors actually have bad SEO and that the only reason they rank high is because of a lack of competition, if this is the case, you’ll have no problem ranking high.