Select The Right Keywords for Your SEO Plan

by YC Ng on February 9, 2011

KEYWORDS are the cornerstone of search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM).

right keyword for seoEvery successful SEO Plan is designed around the keyword phrases that will be targeted.

Do this right and you’ll likely get the results you are looking for… improved rankings for the terms you’ve optimized for and an increase in targeted traffic.

Do this wrong, however, and you will have wasted a whole lot of time and money too!

Go slowly and select carefully!

Keyword research is what separates novice online marketer from true professionals. Most can find keywords using a tool that provided by Google but few know how to sift through the junk to find the treasure.

Search Volume

Behind each keyword phrase, there is an associated “search volume.” The search volume is an approximation of how many times the keyword phrase is searched upon in an average month.

So, if you optimize a page around a term that has a listed search volume of 100 searches per month, you can’t expect a first page ranking to bring you much traffic. After all, you should never expect your site to receive all of the available “clicks.”

I’ve seen lot of SEO companies charge low fee to optimize for extremely low search volume keywords that not many people search for. This is a pretty easy job for SEO company but it does not bring any benefit to their clients.

Keyword Intentionality

When choosing keywords it’s important that you try to get inside the mind of the person doing the search. You may think that the keyword phrase clearly conveys what the searcher is looking for but this is not always the case. Recognize every keyword is kind of customer.

There are many sophisticated techniques used to determine the “intentionality” of each keyword phrase but here’s a simple tip… enter the keyword phrase into the search engine you care most about and look at all of the results.

Are there a number of sponsored ads on the page? This can indicate that the keyword phrase has a “commercial intent.”

Are the organic listings what you expected to see? If most of the listings are relevant to your business, you’re on the right track. If they’re not, you probably don’t really understand the intentionality of the keyword phrase.

The Money Keywords…

keyword seo

Basically, there are 3 different phases when searchers purchase the products – information gathering, shopping and purchasing.

So, while all three instances involve keywords, only one type (statistically speaking) consistently leads to making sales. That’s why in Google AdWords particularly, it is important to identify the keywords customers are using when they are ready to BUY their product or service.

In SEO, beside the “buying keyword”, you should focus on good volume keywords into the information pages that funnel researchers to sales pages as they’re preparing themselves to buy.

We always advice our client to start their search engine marketing efforts on Google AdWords so that we can determine exactly which keywords people use to buy and which ones they use to research. Then we can implement the SEO more effectively by capturing both “buyer” and “researcher” keywords.

Determining Your Competition

This may sound a bit harsh, but it’s true… if you want to rank on the first page for a particular keyword phrase you are going to have to kick one of the current listings off!

Because of this, it’s important you know what it is going to take to accomplish this before deciding to optimize for the term. In some cases, you will find that the work will be easy and in others, near impossible. For example – “weight loss“, even with RM100K per year SEO fee, I believe no one is confident to provide top 10 guarantee in Google.com!

There are many factors that come into play when determining your competition. It’s not just about the strength of the competitor’s website/web page, but also your strength in comparison.

This topic is a lengthy one but here are some of the questions you must ask:

  • What is the domain age of my competitor and how does that relate to mine?
  • How well optimized is their page and how does that relate to mine?
  • How many links does their page have and how does that relate to mine?

While there is more to it, the answer to these three questions will give you a general idea as to whether you can compete or not and what you must do to improve your chances.

Every aspect of crafting a Web site-for-profit revolves delicately around carefully chosen and strategically placed keywords. Behind the scenes of every top-ranking sales page lies a company’s systematic campaign to win dominance in an escalating battle over specifically targeted keywords… from John Heard, Planet Ocean Communication

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