Choosing Your Keywords Wisely

Getting found by search engines all starts with your keywords. If you have the right ones it can help move you ahead of your competition. If you have the wrong ones, you can be lost in obscurity. So when it comes to the all important decision of what to target and where, is your process for selection thorough enough? Here are only a few of the important steps in choosing keywords wisely.

Research

You may think you know your best keywords, but without doing some research, you may be wrong. The best way to get a decent snapshot of what’s being searched for in your market are keyword tools. Some really smart people have made some impressive tools to help figure out keyword volume and competition. If you have a sizable budget to invest in tools like Keyword Discovery or Spy-fu, that’s great. But if you don’t then you can get the same kinds of information for free, just without all of the bells and whistles. The Google Keywords tool is extremely useful for generating most of the same indicators. Just make sure to use numbers as more of a gauge than a certainty. By spending some time looking at different phrases and numbers you’ll be able to get an idea of what people are searching for in your market and target the most popular combinations.

Analysis

Once you’ve got a good list of core phrases, based on what’s popular you need to break it down into what’s practical. Take the competitive numbers from your research and combine it with a simple Google search of your own. Take a few major keywords and look at:

Your competition, who are they?
What strengths do they have and how difficult will it be to beat them?
Are there a lot of PPC ads in that space?

You may find one or 2 target terms are a little more reachable than others. Look at long-tail phases, questions and informational queries that incorporate those main words. Also if you are tied to a geographical area, look at all possibilities associated with your location. Finally, take into account your own inside knowledge of what adds the most to the bottom line. If one product or service sells better than another, or if something is significantly more profitable, focus in on that.

Testing

Getting the best results means on-going tracking of your work. Study analytics; look at the words bringing visitors in, check bounce rates and how people are responding to your content. Together all of this information is will paint a picture of which keywords are bringing traffic and meeting user intent and which ones are not. Take that information and test different things until you find your best combinations of words and pages.

Choosing the right keywords is one of the most important aspects of getting search engine traffic. So many sites fail to target the right terms in the right way. Or they optimize for certain phrases and then forget to measure their success. In either case it’s a missed opportunity. The potential traffic search engines can bring is immeasurable, and failing to capture any of it because of poor keyword targeting is just unfortunate. When you go through all of the steps of the process with attention to detail you can find the right keywords and hopefully a unique angle that gets you ahead of the competition.

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