Keywords are the terms and phrases that your target market uses when searching the major search engines and directories for the products and services you sell. Your keywords are used in everything you do and are the key determining factor in how you rank in the search results along many of the major search engines.
A critical step in natural search engine optimization is to select the right keywords for your business, products or services (including descriptive words), and your target market. Understanding what you are targeting and building your search engine optimization efforts around your audience.
You need to choose keyword phrases that are going to bring sustainable targeted traffic contracting of potential customers – not just anything and everything. What you may think is the perfect keyword phrase may not be used at all by your target market in their questions, which is why it is so critical to research and validate your keywords.
Ideally, each page of your web site is going to focus on a different set of keywords that are specific to the content at hand. If you are to focus on the same sets of keywords on every page, then you would only hit only one small portion of your market potential. Because you are only going to hit those same keywords over and over again – it is self-defeating.
First you want to gather a master list of all possible keyword phrases. To make the data easier to manage, you can create different keyword list profiles that represent individual topics as opposed to trying to cover all topics in a giant master list. For example, if you have two product lines, you can create a keyword list for each. Naturally some keywords are shared across the lists, but it is important to understand that the people looking for one topic (for instance, "jobs") are not necessarily the same people looking for another topic (let's say "trucks"), and as such they are going to use a different keyword combination in their searches.
Here are four solid techniques for generating a list of potential keyword phrases:
1. Brainstorm, survey, and review promotional material:
This is simply gathering all the keyword phrases within reason, sit down with a pen, a team member and (thinking in your customer's shoes), jot down all that you can. – the sky's the limit.
Here are 4 questions that often help:
What business are you in (for example automobile parts or in construction?)
What is the focus of your web site (a guide, resource or a store?) What would people search for if they were on a site like yours?
If your customer were to take a guess at your web address. what would it be? Remember that they do not know who you are, but they know what sort of products and services they are looking for.
What products and services do you sell? What are some of the descriptive words or benefits (buzz words) of your products and services that might be familiar to your target market.
2. Review competitiveness and industry leading web sites:
Check out your online competition, including those who do not compete directly with you. You want to see what sites are in the top 10 positions and understand them: By reviewing top-ranking websites, you start looking for themes and patterns in the sites that gives you a good indication of what they are going after and how they are doing it. Then simply apply.
When reviewing you should look for the following keyword placement areas (where their most effective ones are placed):
Title tags (page titles)
Keyword and description meta tags
Alt tags for images
Between the "NOFRAMES" tag of framed sites.
3. Assess your web traffic logs:
Your web site traffic logs can be an invaluable source of keyword information. You can view your traffic logs to see what search terms and search engines users are using to locate your web site and to help you fine tune search engine optimization efforts.
However the search terms displayed may not be the most relevant, they just happened to be the search terms people are executing to find your site at the time. Applying new SEO techniques with relevant keywords changes how people look for your site. The traffic analysis of more a measure of the effectiveness of your campaign.
4. Use keyword suggestion and evaluation tools:
There are a number of services available that can help you with selecting the most appropriate keywords for your site. These services base their suggestions from actual search queries. Wordtracker (wordtracker.com) is an example of such a service.
Such research tools can help you meet your current needs, whether you're looking for a place to start, are flat out of ideas or feel there's something you're missing.
As you work your way through the list of techniques, you want to cycle back to some of the techniques because you will come across search terms that can expand the scope of your original efforts and open the door to new, more targeted phrases that you may have missed the first time around.