One of the most important choices you will make when building your web site marketing plan is the choice of the keywords you will target. Choose a keyword phrase that is too competitive and you will often end up frustrated when trying to break the top 25 results. Choose a keyword phrase that is too unique and you may find that no one actually uses that for their searches.
Below is the process by which I go about determining a keyword phrase. This process has served my clients well. However, there also have been times when we were totally off base. Remember, the key to a successfully web site is driving targeted traffic to your web site for a specific reason and then, once the traffic comes, achieving your goal at the highest level possible. This means that rankings mean nothing if they don’t drive users that convert. Your keyword phrase has to relate to what you are actually trying to accomplish (with a few exceptions) or people will just click on the back button and go away.
When analyzing keyword phrases start by trying this:
Write down your goal. Phrase it as the response to a question. People who are using the search engines are looking for an answer to their question. When I have back pain I don’t type in ‘back pain’ I type in ‘relieving back pain’. What are people asking when they are looking for you?
Create five to twenty terms that reflect the above. Then go to a few search engines and type in these terms. Review who comes up and then pick out the companies that are your competition. In your browser, view their source and see what keywords they target (this doesn’t mean that you should use those terms – we are just looking to make a complete list).
Print the top 25 search results for the top 5 to 10 terms you have. Then review the total number of sites that are returned, the number of your competition present in the top 25 and your ability to convert users who found you and came to your site using that term.
Other things to consider:
If you are selling on the Internet consider longer and more specific keyword phrases. Research shows that people who buy from web sites often found the site using a four to five word keyword phrase. People who use shorter phrases are often just browsing.
You do not have to make just one keyword phrase choice. However, each choice that you make needs to have its own page dedicated to it. This is because it should be reflected in the title tags, meta description and body text of the url (domain name submitted).
Don’t try to do too much with one page. Content is what matters. If you want to be found for a certain keyword phrase then you need to use it within your content. However, if you are trying to target multiple keywords on one page you may end up not ranking for any of them.
How do you know if it is working? It is vital to track the traffic statistics for your web site. Most good web site reporting tools can now tell you where your users came from and even what search terms they used in the search engines. There is always the traditional way as well. Survey the users who turn into customers about how they found you. Those results are the ones you want to build on.