The value of any SEO effort lies in the keywords you choose. Keyword research should be the first step in any search optimization process of your Web site. The goal of keyword research is to:
• Discover new keyword opportunities.
• Fix missed keyword opportunities.
• Increase the relevance of landing pages.
Here we’ll go over some basic ways to do keyword research:
1. The first step in this process is to create a list of potential keywords.
• Brainstorm all the words you think a customer would type into SE when trying to find you.
• Avoid industry jargon. When describing your site or product, break away from industry speak. If you center your site on these terms, they’ll never find you.
• What is your site hoping to do or promote? Think of phrases that are broad and targeted, buying and research-oriented, and single and multi-word. Avoid overly generic terms like ‘shoes’ or ‘clothes’. These words are incredibly difficult to rank for and won’t drive quality traffic to your site. Focus on words that are relevant, but not overly used.
• Learn which terms your competitors think are important. Look at your competitor’s Meta Keyword tag. Keep a close eye on phrases being used in page titles, header tags, and alt attributes.
• Check out competitors backlinks. Click on some that look familiar and check out their PageRank and the anchor text they’ve used to link to your competition’s site.
• Use keyword research tools available at Google AdWords Keyword Tool (free), Overture, and Wordtracker. Keyword research tools show you how many users are conducting searches for that term every day, how many of those searches actually converted, and other important analytical information.
• Create a spreadsheet with each word’s conversion rate, search volume and competition rate.
• Carefully review your analytics data. Web analytics software will reflect you top referring sites and URLs, top search phrase, top search keywords. Web analytics software can also reveal words you had previously forgotten or synonyms you weren’t aware of.
• Combine many keyword research tools you are you’re not only checking to see if enough people are searching for a particular word you’re also trying to determine how competitive that phrase is in terms of rankings.
2. The second step is selecting keywords.
Understanding the competition tells you how much effort you will need to invest in order to rank well for that term. There are two things to pay attention to when making this decision: how many other sites are competing for the same word and how strong are those sites’ rankings (i.e. how many other sites link to them, how many pages do they have indexed)? Basically, is that word or phrase even worth your time?
Look at the search volume and advertiser competition of the terms. Keywords must be actively searched for and competitive. Include both long tail and short tail keywords.
3. Organizing keywords.
When you have your initial list of words it’s time to narrow down the field and decide which terms will be in your coveted final keyword list.
• go through and highlight the terms that most closely target the subject and theme of your web site. These are the terms you want to hold on to.
• Create a mix of both broad and targeted keywords. You’ll need both to rank well. Broad terms are important because they describe what your web site does; however, they won’t increase the level of qualified traffic coming into your site.
• made your list of about 10-20 highly focused keywords
• create or modify your existing content to use your keyword research results
• Assign 2-4 keywords per page
• Use your important keywords at the top of the page, within the first sentence or two of your introduction. Google will show them in SERPs. They should be relevant and interesting enough for people to want to visit your site.
• Keywords should also be used in several other elements on your site: Title Tag, Meta Description Tags, Meta Keywords Tag, Headings, Alt text, Anchor Text/ Navigational Links
The keyword research techniques described are viable and have been tested by professionals. There may be other advanced keyword research strategies, but you’ll only need and find them when you are familiar with the basics of keyword research. A proper, thorough keyword research should be a good asset to the overall website success, so it should be used carefully. And remember, keyword research and analysis is an ongoing process.