To say that keyword research is the foundation of your internet marketing efforts is a HUGE understatement. Given the fact that it forms the BASIS for all your web marketing strategies, you’d imagine that business owners (or their web developers) would spend a lot of time and energy to get this right.
Yet, nothing could be further from the truth.
So how come so many people get this so wrong?
Because they don’t have the foggiest idea how to do effective keyword research.
And it’s no wonder why. Keyword research is not “sexy.” It’s NOT the most exciting or glamorous topic to discuss. And there are very few resources online discussing keyword research.
As I looked for “tags” using my keyword tools to use on this article, it became abundantly clear that very few people are looking for or know how to look for good information on this subject.
Know what? It’s hurting their online efforts. Big time.
So on that happy note, pull up your swivel chair, get comfortable, and let’s chat for a while…
Keywords for Websites & SEO
So how do you choose which keywords to target? Why not just pack ’em all in there?
Well, because that’s what everyone else is doing. So how will the search engines determine what your site is REALLY all about by looking at your keywords? And how will it compare your site to all the other ones using the same keywords?
Understand this point and you are well on your way to getting things right. Now, let’s address the two (2) main issues here:
- SEO keyword selection
- SEO keyword usage/placement
Case in point, I was speaking with a client yesterday and he had a number of questions about keywords. His problem and main stumbling block was with issue #1. So let’s discuss…
SEO Keyword Selection
For starters, you need to have tools to put together your keyword lists. Without tools, all you’re doing is guessing. Now, there are 3 tools that we use every day when doing keyword research for our business, and our clients.
They all have strengths and weaknesses. At the very least, go check out Google (if you haven’t already done so) and start using it. Did I mention it’s free!
So now what?
Well, it’s time to brainstorm. Think of all the ways someone might describe what they’re looking for. Then type these keywords into the tools to see what actually comes up.
Now here’s the critical part.
With the data you’re gathering (hopefully), how do you choose which keywords are good for you. Here’s an example to help you out:
A small business success coach client (the one referenced above) ran a few keywords by me that he had come up with. “Success” he said “gets 24 million searches per month. Shouldn’t I target that one?”
A common mistake when choosing keywords. Here’s a tip: don’t be seduced by the numbers.
As I pointed out to him, what is inside the mind of the searcher when they type in “success?” Can you tell? Is it clear how to communicate with someone like that?
Here are some possibilities (off the top of my head):
- a high school student wanting to succeed in sports to get a scholarship
- a stay at home mom wanting her kids to be successful
- someone recently laid off looking for a new income source
The list goes on. The point?
Generic keywords with “large numbers” are often so vague as to be meaningless. They don’t provide you with any insight into your market place. They give you no insight into the mindset of the searcher. In essence, they tell you nothing.
So find keywords with good numbers that actually describe something related to your core business. In the above example, small business success was a keyword (which is why I’m sharing some “link love” with my client.
Keywords that are descriptive of a problem needing solving is WAY MORE VALUABLE than some vague keyword with “millions of searches” per month.
SEO Keyword Usage & Placement
Okay, so you have your short list. Now what?
I’ll cover this in greater detail next post, because this article is getting a bit long. But here’s a quick checklist of “hot SEO real estate” as it were for your website (on site factors):
- Title tag (yes, search engines judge a book by it’s cover)
- Keyword in your “meta data” (super effective if your keywords occur in the other “slots”)
- Subheadings (yes, use them, because they matter)
- Link text (anchor text) on your site pointing to previous posts on your site (interlinking)
- Bold text
- The first couple of paragraphs (some say first 250 characters)
That’s about it for now. We’ll cover more ground next time, as well as discussing “offsite” SEO real estate.
Any questions? Comments? Did we hit a nerve?
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