Before you create content for your website for the purpose of ranking in the search engines, you must first take the time to conduct proper keyword research.
This way, you are targeting a specific keyword phrase, which you can then optimize your page for, including it in your page title and content.
Ideally, you should have only one primary keyphrase in mind for each page of content on your site. You can also add a couple of related keyphrases, or synonyms, which can also help your on page SEO ( you will usually add these naturally, though, as you write your articles ) – these are called secondary keywords.
It is vitally important that you pick the right keyphrases.
You can use the google keyword tool to help find potential phrases to go after, but the real question is, what should you actually look for when selecting your keyphrases?
Firstly, the keyphrase should be highly relevant to your content, and descriptive of what you’re offering.
Do not target an irrelevant phrase just because it appears to have high search volume – even if you do get ranked highly ( which is unlikely these days, with the sophisticated search engine algorithms ), your visitors will more than likely bail out of your site very quickly in search of more relevant material.
To illustrate: If you are a hair stylist, based in Los Angeles, select a phrase like “Best LA hair stylist”, this way you can write content that accurately describes what you do. You can also lead your readers to a relevant call to action which will be more likely to result in the desired action, such as: “Call the salon now to book your free consultation.”
You will find that this approach will work far better than targeting off-topic phrases and trying to make them fit in with your content.
Secondly, select a phrase with low competition. Look for a low number of competing pages ( when searched with quote marks ). The lower the better – usually aim for less than 10,000 pages.
More importantly, though, assess the page one competition strength.
Here’s how to do this:
Install the firefox browser, with the SEO quake plug-in, and analyse the pagerank and incoming link volume of the competing pages in the top 10 – look for low pagerank pages ( ideally pr0 or pr1, on average ), and few inbound links ( less than a couple of hundred links ).
The older and higher the pr of your own domain, the stronger the competition you can take on.
Thirdly, target search phrases that have the potential to drive traffic to your webpages – depending on the nature of your business, you may not need huge volumes of visitors in order to make a positive impact on your business.
If you are a solicitor for example, 5 new leads per month could make quite an impact on your bottom line.
It is difficult to get accurate data on keyword search volume, so ppc ( pay per click ) testing may be a good idea – set up a pay per click campaign on google adwords and load up your keywords, then allow the campaign to run, and assess the traffic data.
Whichever phrases get you the most clicks are the ones to target for your SEO campaigns – keep in mind that if you get high search engine rankings for your target phrases, you will get loads more traffic than you get with a ppc campaign for the same keywords.
You can use the google keyword tool for traffic data, but be warned that their figures are often totally inaccurate ( for example, the google keyword tool could list a certain phrase as receiving 3,000 searches per month when in reality it is only getting about 200 searches per month – it does happen! ).
PPC testing is much more reliable, and will save you time and money in the long run.
So, to sum up, use the google keyword tool ( or an excellent paid tool, like keyword elite ) to find highly relevant, descriptive keyphrases to target.
Select phrases with low competition, and test for volume using google adwords. Select the phrases with the highest volume of clicks, and use these phrases as the basis of your SEO campaign.
Any questions? Let us know below!