Keywords – the key to all doors
This article takes a look at how to select the right keywords.
Keyword research is certainly the most important phase in Search Engine Optimization process. Whether you hire a SEO company to do the job or you are doing the SEO process in-house, take your time during this process. You should not be a spectator, but you should be an active part of the decision making process.
Try to think as a customer
Before to start the keywords analysis & research process, be sure that you know how you should perform this process. Try to think about your keywords as a customer. How would you search for your product or service? Which keyword or key phrase would you use? Think about which words or phrases describe your product or service best.
Generic keywords vs. highly targeted keyword phrases
Surprisingly many companies still believe that increased traffic will necessary lead to increased sales. Unfortunately this is very far from the truth. If traffic is not well targeted, visitors will not find what they are looking for, and they won't order anything.
Many companies still make the mistake to attempt to get ranked for generic keywords. This is often a costly mistake. You will simply waste your time, money and resources to get ranked for generic keywords. Chances are that if you are in competitive industry you won't succeed to achieve top ranking. In many cases, even if you succeed to get high ranking for generic keyword you won't benefit much from that. Let's elaborate this with an example.
Key phrase “shoes manufacturers” will return worldwide results, and your competition will be very strong. Even if you manage to rank high, “conversion to sales rate” will be fairly low. Some of the people would actually search for “shoes manufacturers” which are located in Asia. They might visit your site, and they will leave without ordering anything. You will get more traffic, but you wont increase your sales or establish new business contacts. None of your goals will be achieved.
That is because your product or service is not exactly what the people are searching for. Key phrases like “UK shoes manufacturers” or “EU shoes manufacturers” will have better conversion and you will get high a rank faster. Why? It's easier to get ranked for these key phrases because of smaller number of competitors. Therefore, because your traffic is better targeted your conversion rate would be higher.
The best approach to finding the right keywords and phrases is to start with your generic keyword, and add a qualifying word to it. Using this approach you will be able to find your most important key phrases, and target your traffic more efficiently. Key phrases are usually two to five words long.
In different countries people use different terminology for same product or service. Be sure that you check your terminology for your main keywords. Different terminology for your keyword might be used in Canada, or in Australia. Follow your site statistics, and if a particular country is missing, something might be wrong with your terminology.
How many keywords do you need
The number of the key phrases for which you will optimize your pages will depend on your budget of course. But be sure to create a long list to select from. Initial keyword research should end with at least 70 - 100 keywords or key phrases.
Your first thought here might be "how are you going to find so many keywords"? Creativity and a good knowledge of your industry will do half of the work. The tools will do the other half. Wordtracker has a free trial which will tell you how many times the key phrase was searched for last month. In the full version (you can pay for one day only, if you want to use this tool once) it is a much more powerful tool of course.
Overture also has a free tool for keyword research, which will give you useful suggestions. These tools may provide you with suggestions that you may not have thought of, and tell you how many competitors you have for every keyword.
Next phase should be customizing some of these suggestions. After creating the main list, start the elimination. Have in mind that your chances are better if you select a greater number of keywords.
It is always a good strategy to optimize each page for one primary and one secondary keyword. Optimize your main page for your most important key phrase.
Final selection will depend on your budget. You can always optimize more pages later, so keep the initial keyword list. Best option is to start to optimize your pages for less competitive key phrases first. When you achieve a high rank for these key phrases, then go after the more competitive key phrases.