Relevance Should Determine Selected Keywords

Written by Nick Stamoulis

Keyword research is one of the first steps of an SEO campaign. Sure, you could blindly select keywords that you think will perform well but typically this kind of guesswork isn’t effective. Instead, keyword research should be performed for every page of a website. This process can be relatively quick and painless for a small website, while it can be overwhelming for a large site. Either way, it needs to be done.

The keyword research process involves using a keyword research tool like the one that Google provides for free. Brainstorm potential keywords that people might use to find a given page of your site, enter them into the tool, and see what suggestions come up. The Google keyword tool will provide you with the number of monthly searches for each suggested keyword and will tell you whether the competition for that keyword is high, medium, or low. The competition typically correlates with the number of searches. The higher the search volume, the higher the competition is for those keywords.

The Google keyword research tool will provide a large list of suggested keyword terms, but they aren’t all a good fit. The next step is to really scrub it down to the keywords that are most relevant. This is where many website owners make a common mistake. They pay too much attention to the search volume numbers and not enough attention as to whether it is actually relevant to their content or not. The best approach is to ignore search volume numbers altogether, initially. Select the keywords that are most relevant, and then look at the search volume information of those keywords to select the best from that scrubbed down list.

Remember, you want to select keywords that will not only help achieve an increase in traffic, but that will also lead to an increased conversion rate. A long tail keyword may have lower search volume, but if your website is positioned well for it, you will be getting people to your site that know exactly what they want and you can provide it. There is an improved chance of conversion with the long tail keyword.

Keyword selection is an ongoing process. You can’t just “set it and forget it”. Once you’ve selected keywords, look at analytics data on a monthly or quarterly basis to see if these keywords are generating traffic to different pages of your site and whether they are resulting in conversions or not. It can take time to find the perfect keyword mix.

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