Tips for Choosing the Best Keywords
You’ve probably heard of people claiming significant traffic to their site after achieving a top ranking on Google or Yahoo. But sometimes you hear from someone else who also achieved a similar top ranking but they were disappointed when no one arrived at their site. How can two people achieve a top ranking and have such markedly different outcomes?
Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to brainstorm your own list of keywords, only to find out later that they are not as popular as you first thought. Keyword popularity is essential to success in search engine marketing. The question to ask yourself is how do you really know if you’re optimising your pages for keywords that Web surfers are looking for?
Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience.
For example, you may have a “clothing business” where you “sell clothing.” While those phrases describe what you do, they are not necessarily the words that your audience would enter into a search engine to find you. How many times have you went to Google and typed in “sell clothing” in order to find a particular shirt or hat?
While “mens clothing” in the previous example may be one of the most popular clothing related searches, it unfortunately has a lot of competition. If you do a search on Google, you’ll find it returns over 1 million results for that phrase. While this type of phrase may gain you a lot of traffic, achieving a top ranking may prove difficult and time-consuming.
Brainstorm for keywords in your category
There are many ways to brainstorm new keyword phrases. You can examine the content and the meta tags on your competition’s Web site to see what phrases they consider important. While this is a good place to start looking for ideas, there’s no guarantee they are targeting the best keywords. You must check these keywords against the corresponding popularity and competition factors.
Choose only relevant keywords
Just because a keyword is popular with a low competition factor, doesn’t mean you should target that keyword or phrase. The phrases you target must be relevant to what you have to sell. It must also be applicable to what you have to offer on the specific Web page you are optimising. How many times have you searched Google, landed on a page, and then backed out within 5 seconds of arriving? That page had a top ranking, but it did not have what you were looking for.
Perhaps the Web site did have what you wanted, but the product resided elsewhere on the site. Unfortunately, your visitor may never know this. If you target a keyword or phrase, then the page they land on must offer the products, services or content that they expect, or you’ll be wasting your time and your visitor’s time. At the very least, the page should offer direct links to the potential products and services they may expect to find there.
Understand that keywords can have multiple meanings
If you have a travel business, then your first thought might be to target the word travel. However, if someone is searching on just plain old “travel” are they:
- Helping their child with a paper on some aspect of “travel?”
- Looking for the “travel channel?”
- Looking to plan a vacation cruise?
- Preparing to take a business trip?
- Day dreaming about time travel?
- Looking for driving directions for their travel across the country?
- Looking for a travel club such as AAA?
- Looking for the perfect backpack or hiking supplies for a travel expedition?
If you own a travel agency that specialises in vacation cruises and optimized your site for the single keyword “travel,” only a limited number of the people identified in the example above would be qualified prospects. This of course assumes that travel was not too competitive to begin with.
While a top ranking on travel would yield a great deal of visitors to your site, many of them would select the “Back” button in their browsers, turn around and effectively walk out of your store! That’s not the outcome you’re looking for. When you select more targeted keyword phrases such as “Alaskan Cruise,” there is a much higher likelihood that you have focused in on exactly the right audience. It’s the difference between attracting actual buyers versus tire kickers.
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