Posted Sunday, November 28, 2004
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 best your product or service.
Generic keywords vs. highly targeted key 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 found 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 costly mistake. You will simply loose your time, money and resources to get ranked for generic keyword. 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 enter on your site, and they will leave without to order anything. You will get more traffic, and you want 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 ranking faster. Why? It’s easier to get ranked for these key phrases because of smaller number of competitors. From the other side, because of better targeting your conversion rate would be higher, because your traffic is better targeted.
Best approach to do find right keywords and key phrases is to get your generic keyword, and add a specific word to it. Using this approach you will be able to find yours most important key phrases, and target your traffic much better. 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 statistic, and if some country is missing, something might be wrong with your terminology.
How many keywords do you need
Number of the key phrases for which you will optimize your pages will depend from your budget of course. But be sure to create 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 you will find so many keywords. Creativity and well knowing your industry will do half of the work. The tools will do the other half. Wordtracker has free trial which will tell you how many times the key phrase was searched for last month. Full version (you can pay for one day only if you want to use this tool once) is much more powerful tool of course. Overture has also free tool for keyword research which will give you useful suggestions. These tools will give you suggestions which you might not come to your mind, and tell you how many competitors you have for every keyword.
Next phase should be customizing some of these suggestions and make the re-check after that. After establishing the main list, start the elimination. Have in mind that your chances are bigger if you select bigger number of keywords. It is always best 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 from 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 high ranking for these key phrases, then go after more competitive key phrases.
About the Author
Search Engine Positioning Firm