One thing we glance over in some of our posts (most recently in our post on cracking the Google Ten Pack), and hardly ever dedicate an entire post to, is the importance of keywords in your online marketing campaign. This isn’t to say that they aren’t important. Quite the opposite – keywords are one of the main building blocks for any successful SEO campaign.
And choosing the right terms to go after is the most important part. You need to target terms that form a balance between phrases that would drive quality traffic to your site with phrases that you have a realistic expectation of achieving some sort of rank with (What I mean here is that I’m sure that a just opened NYC pizza place would love to be #1 for the term ‘pizza’ or ‘New York pizza,’ but with the current competition out there it would not be a realistic goal to achieve in the short term). To help determine how competitive a keyword phrase is, the search engines post on each SERP the number of results a keyword phrase brings up – the higher the number, the more competitive it tends to be.
You also want to make sure you aren’t chasing keywords that won’t drive relevant traffic to your website. As the title of the blog suggests, one of our clients was once in the top 3 from my name. This doesn’t do them any good, and had the possibility of hurting them if search engines started to associate the site with me rather than their products and services (It didn’t appear to hurt them, and we fixed the singular reason why this had occurred). The good thing is that we didn’t spend any time trying to rank for the name, so we didn’t have any wasted energy there. But I think you see the point. If the terms you are focusing on won’t bring your website quality traffic, it won’t matter if you rank 1, 2 or 100 for it. It won’t generate you any business or conversions.
So how do you find the right keywords? There are many tools out there, both fee based and free (and of course Google has one). Just type in ‘keyword tools‘ in a search engine and you’ll find a ton. At Mannix Marketing we use a variety of them, including Google tools, Keyword Discovery and WordTracker. We use these tools to see what people are typing in. Then we check on how a sites currently ranks for each term, see how competitive a term is and how likely optimization for the keyword will lead to a increase in rankings that will lead to increased traffic (i.e., can we go from page 5 to page 1 for a term, can we go from the bottom of page 1 to the top 3, etc.). From there we take the list of keywords and start optimizing.
That’s it. Right?
Well, for an SEO boost maybe. But for a intensive SEO maintenance program we would continue to measure which optimization tactics are working and not working. And every so often we repeat the keyword research cycle to keep up with the latest trends and search patterns. We recommend revisiting your keywords every 3 to 6 months, to ensure that the keywords we are focusing on are up to date.
Have you found any SEO tips, tricks or tools that help you decide on what to optimize for? Let us know.