SEO for Newbie’s: Choosing Keywords
This article describes how to choose Keywords for SEO, hence the title SEO for Newbie’s: Choosing Keywords.
First things first: when optimizing your site the first thing you should be doing is picking the keywords and keyword phrases that best represent the content of the web site you are trying to enhance. The best thing to do is pick 2 or 3 keyword phrases per page in your site. Let’s say you are an inn-keeper in London and are trying to optimize your business web site. You would want your web site to generate bookings and consequently revenue for your inn. The first thing you should ask yourself is: what search phrases will people use to look for your type of accommodation in London? It’s no use to you to target the word “London” on its own, it’s too generic a term. Searchers are getting smarter and tend to use multiple-word phrases to look for things on the internet. This increases their chances of actually finding web sites that are useful to them. An iProspect searchers behavior study shows that a full 88% of searchers change their search terms by adding more words after not finding satisfactory results in the first 3 SERPs on their first try. A traveler coming to London would typically search for something more specific than “London” such as “cheap accommodation in London” or “London bed & breakfasts” etc.
The first tool you can use to find out what your potential customers are looking for is the Google Keyword Tool . Pick your market where it says “Results are tailored to”, the default is English, United States. Type all the keywords you can think of that are related to your site and check the “use synonyms” box. Hit the “Get more keywords” button. Click the “Additional keywords to consider” link at the bottom and change the match type from Broad to Exact. You now have the default “keywords only” list of phrases related to the keywords you entered. Now we can start playing with the “Show columns” features.
Choose “Keyword popularity” in the show columns drop-down menu. The column that is of interest to you is the one that says “search volume”. Now we can already begin narrowing down to the phrases most searched for on Google. Naturally, you should only pick the ones that are closely related to your site, i.e. “London inn” and “London bed and breakfast” and not “Hyde park”, which shows up in the results with a high volume of searches but is not related to what your web site is about.
You can narrow down your list further by trying other columns like “global search volume trends” and “cost and position estimates”. When using the “cost and position estimates” feature pick a currency like euro or dollar and pick a high amount, say 10 euro. Watch the “Estimated Avg. CPC” column, the higher the amount for a 1-3 position, the more these keywords are likely to be searched for.
Another great tool to further investigate keyword popularity is the Google Traffic Estimator , another Adwords tool. Enter your keywords, one per line and use [square brackets] to change them to exact match. Choose a currency and leave the amount box empty. Select the language your web site is in. In our example, we would choose “English” and “All countries and territories”, unless you only want English speaking guest that are from Norway, in that case pick “English” and “Norway”. Hit “continue” and look at the “search volume” and “estimated clicks per day” columns. The higher the estimated clicks per day (in a 1-3 estimated ad position), the more your keyword is searched for.
Now to the next burning problem: test your keywords for search engine results. The higher the number of results, the more difficult it is to the get a number 1-5 (first page above the fold) position. If your search term returns 165,000,000 results in Google, it is far more difficult to rank high for that phrase than another search term that returns 150,000 results. This is also one of the reasons why you should pick more specific and longer 3-4-word phrases rather than a single or two-word keyword. At least until you are good enough at SEO to take a site to a top-10 position for a 250,000,000 results keyword.