One of the most important, if not the most important, part of search engine optimization is keyword research. Properly researching the keywords and keyword phrases is important for several reasons. Find out what people are searching for, which keywords are more popular than others, and focus your website’s content around those keywords. Here are five keyword research tips that will help your overall search engine optimization efforts.
1. Clarify Objectives
Prior to actually selecting your keywords, you want to make sure you do a couple of things to build a strong foundation for your keyword strategy. First of all, you want to clearly define your search engine marketing efforts. If you have an eCommerce site, the objective may be to increase online sales. It may be to increase online sales by increasing newsletter subscribers. Sites offering professional services will need to prioritize such objectives as lead generation and online visibility. These are markedly different objectives and you need to be clear on what they are.
2. Measure Performance
You also want to set up your analytics program to track goals. For example, you can set up Google Analytics to measure traffic visiting your contact us page, order page, order confirmation page, or a thank you page after they submit an inquiry. Tracking these metrics by keyword will be important in your allocation of resources, so this is an absolute must in implementing optimal keyword strategy.
3. Select the appropriate keywords
Selecting the appropriate keywords is an art. A big key is using the correct keyword tool. Also, realize, no one tool is completely accurate, so you have to use a combination of tools, including your own analytics data to optimally select target keywords. Here are a few tools you can use.
Google Adwords Keyword Tool – A free tool found at https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal
Wordtracker – This tool allows you to estimate search volume and competition.
MSN AdCenter Plugin – This plugin provides real-time keyword traffic stats from MSN searches.
Google Analytics – If you currently use Google Analytics, Google provides the estimated daily impressions figure which will be very valuable in estimating traffic potential by keyword.
4. Choose which pages will be optimized for each particular keyword
To determine the best page to optimize for an existing site, you want to take the keyword phrase you are targeting, and perform a search for site:domain.com keyword phrase. This search may list one or many pages on your site. The top result is the one google already views as most relevant, so you can begin with that one.
Once you have a keyword list, you want to check and see which terms have the least competition. For example, lets say the phrase ‘widget’ has 10,000 searches and searches for ‘blue widget’, ‘red widget’, ‘green widget’ each have 2,000 searches. You may determine that the general term ‘widget’ has considerably higher competition and it would be more cost effective to target the Level-2 terms. Many clients have come to me having spent countless dollars targeting keywords that are the most competitive and ignored where the real value is.