It surprises me how often keyword research is overlooked when I hear people talking about optimizing their website, blog or other online assets for search engines. The thinking often goes that when you come up some keywords that represent your product, and you optimize your online efforts around these keywords, your target market will find you. I hear variations of this thinking often.
It’s a good start; however, this is only part of the equation. A key factor is missing, which is how many internet searchers are typing those particular queries into search engines. It is imperative that, before beginning any kind of search optimization, you find out what queries people are using to search for your type of product or service.
For example, you may think that “keyword research” is a great keyword. If you dig deeper, you would find that “keyword tool” and “google keyword” are relevant keywords which are actually searched more often in Google. Depending on the context, these may be better keywords to optimize for.
It’s the small step of gathering that intelligence which will make all the difference to your search optimization. It is surprisingly quick, easy and free to gather all of the information you need to make informed keyword selections. Here are six steps to keyword success:
- 1. Brainstorm keyword ideas and themes: Use your knowledge of industry jargon and key terms to create a basic list. Include everything you can think of that is relevant to your product or service.
- 2. Use a keyword tool: Take your brainstorming a step further and gather intelligence. The best keyword tool, in my opinion, is the free Google Keyword Tool. While other search engines exist, most SEO efforts are going to be focussed on Google search results. Where better a place to gather keyword intelligence than Google itself?
- 3. Build out a list: Spend some time with the Google keyword tool and build a list of every conceivable keyword combination that has search volume.
- 4. Do a ranking scan: Find out how you are currently ranking in the Google SERP’s for the most relevant keywords in your keyword list.
- 5. Look at your analytics: Log in to your Google analytics account and take a close look at what keywords your organic search traffic is coming from currently.
- 6. Analyze your keywords: Once you’ve gathered intelligence on your keywords, sit back and look for opportunities. For example, is there a keyword in your list where you are currently ranked 15th, that is already bringing decent traffic to your website and has big search volume (i.e. big traffic potential)? That’s probably a keyword you should target.
Keyword selection should be based on more than just what sounds good. It should also be based on search volume (i.e. traffic potential), current rankings and current traffic volume. Finally, of course, your keywords should always be as relevant as possible to the content of the page that you are optimizing. For, all of the non-relevant traffic you can get will not bring you results of it does not convert.