Although you may be aware that your chosen keywords are important, you may not realize just how important they are in the overall optimization of your site. Many experts believe that the selection of your keywords may well be the most important stage in the entire optimization process, and that choosing the wrong keywords and keyword phrases can keep your website from ever reaching its potential. Choosing the right keywords, on the other hand, can maximize your return on investment, have readers flocking to your site, and move you up in Google’s ranking with the speed of lightning.
Isn’t Choosing Keywords Just Picking the Most-Searched Phrases?
It is this specific misconception which derails the keyword selection stage for many. First of all, choosing the most-used keywords could actually send your site reeling to the bottom of the heap rather than climbing upwards. As an example, if your business involves installing solar components, then choosing the keywords solar installation might seem like a good idea. However, this is much too broad a term, and will return hundreds of thousands of results in a search. If you add your location, as in “Austin solar installation,” you have immediately narrowed the field, and landed closer to the top just by virtue of the elimination process. Even better might be “Hill Country Solar Installation,” narrowing even more. When you are looking at your own keywords, try to determine how you can use the popular keywords—with a personal spin.
Phrases which are Considered “Buy Phrases”
If you are selling a particular product or service, then you have to guard against keyword phrases which will bring you tons of traffic, with little of that traffic turning into true conversions. If you are looking for a buy phrase, then consider the example above. First of all, the term “solar” would garner you so many search returns that you wouldn’t even know how to start. Adding “installation,” narrows the field, but it is still fairly broad. What if you add the word “services,” along with your location—as in “Hill Country solar installation services?” You have just added your “buy word,” which should target those people in the Hill Country who want to have solar panels installed on their home, and are ready to pay for those services.
The problem with using “solar” as one of your keywords in this instance is that people who type in the word “solar” may not even be remotely looking for someone to install a solar panel on their home. They could be looking for solar nails, a car which runs on solar energy, a school for solar training, or could merely be interested in the solar system—as in the stars and planets in the sky. It’s important to step outside yourself when determining keywords, and look at it from the point of view of those people you hope will be searching for your company. Promotions which target multiple “buy phrase” keywords will ultimately end up being much more successful than simply using a phrase based on the number of searches it turns up. You want to decrease your competition while increasing your conversions and ROI.
Knowing Which Phrases are Most Often Searched
There are some very good tools out there you can implement when determining your keywords, such as the Overture Search Term Suggestion Tool or WordTracker. Overture can tell you which search phrases had the most searches during the prior month, however Overture’s downside is that it counts singular and plurals as the same, and corrects misspellings, while search engines do not. WordTracker, on the other hand, differentiates between plural and singular searches and does not correct spelling, meaning it gives you a much more realistic number.
When choosing your keywords, remember that just because you know your own industry inside out doesn’t mean the average layman does, so think of the terms you might type in if you knew little about the industry. Don’t target too many phrases, rather keep yourself and your keyword list highly focused—which will also keep your website focused. Spend the necessary time choosing your keywords, and you will reap the rewards in the future.