Choosing your SEO keywords correctly

by / Friday, 02 September 2011 / Published in Web Marketing

Choosing your SEO keywords correctly

Search engines like Google or Bing aim to match user intent with appropriate content. Their goal is to make an accurate guess of user’s intention and deliver the web page or media that is the best match.

Choose your keywords carefully and have content which answers the user’s intent when they type those keywords in a search engine. Getting this right is part science and part art.

Important criteria to consider when choosing keywords

These 4 criteria are crucial for getting the keyword selection right.

1. Keyword Relevance

The important questions to ask when deciding relevance are

  • Does your keyword phrase match what you offer?
  • Do your customers use it often enough?

Your customer facing staff are a good resource to collect this information. Also customer communication like email, complaints, feedback, reviews are all excellent resources for this research.

This way you know what words your customers use. You avoid the pitfall of using industry jargon which you use but your customers do not. Such keywords will bring very few relevant visitors to your website.

Also, ranking well for wrong keywords will lead to high visitor volume but very little conversion action as most visitors will just go away.

2. Keyword Search Volume

Your in-house SEO or any external SEO firm will use a number of keyword research tools and sources e.g. Social Media to check which keywords from your list have good search volume. A number of these tools offer a rich data of related keywords based on your core set of keywords along with search volume data.

Another good resource is your website analytics tool. This provides information like visits based on search engine and keywords used.

Note: While the free Google Adwords Keyword tool is quite popular, it is mainly about paid search and relying on only one tool can lead to errors.

3. Keyword Competition

This helps you gauge the effort needed to succeed for your particular keywords. Search engines usually show the number of results returned for a particular query. But this itself is not enough as you also have to look at the SEO competition numbers.

Competitive search analysis shows how strong the top ranking websites for a particular keyword phrase are. Studying and understanding the SERPs (search engine result pages) is important too.

4. Keyword intent

There are various steps in the sales process that searchers follow when seeking information using search engines. Users search for information or to go somewhere or to take action. So, broadly queries can be classified as below.

  • Informational e.g. Height of Mt. Everest
  • Navigational e.g. My favorite trekking company name
  • Transactional e.g. Everest trekking reservation

There are also queries which are a mix of the above types.

Keyword research is the foundation on which all other SEO activities stand. It strongly influences your SEO strategy, plan and execution. Choosing and using the right keywords is critical for your website SEO to succeed.

This blog post is by Dharne & Company, an Irvine SEO firm offering professional SEO services to businesses across California and the United States.

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