The first step is to perform a little basic research to determine the correct keywords to use in your optimized website. These may be single words or ‘keyword phrases’. Once determined, they will be used in more places than just the body copy in your website. This research is important because even if you achieve high directory rankings, you will not get the traffic you want and need with poor keyword selection.
Your research should start with understanding the facts. This comes down to accurately identifying your target audience and researching what search terms and phrases they are likely to employ. Fortunately, there are some pretty accurate statistics available for most search terms.
You can reduce your research project to four basic steps:
- Finding keywords
- Keyword analysis
- Keyword selection
- Using the keywords
To analyze keywords, you’ll need to add some information about your existing competitors. In the way of an example, you want to know how many pages are indexed in sites such as Google, Yahoo! and MSN. This is the best way to determine how many pages are competing for top directory rankings. Keep in mind that just because a site has a high ranking does not mean that it is properly optimized. This is due to the complexity of search engine algorithms. You want to truly understand what your competition looks like in terms of searches under their keywords and phrases, not just their directory rankings.
You should also try to understand the potential for high directory rankings based upon a websites page rank. Understand that on-page factors affect your optimization effectiveness while off-page factors like page rank do too and in a significant way. Thus, your sites page rank will represent an important parameter in keyword analysis. In simple terms, the higher your page rank is, the better chance you have to rank highly with competitive keywords in place.
To choose keywords make up a list of short keywords (1) and keyword phrases (2) based upon what you have discovered in your research. In both cases, don’t lose sight of the focus of your website or your target audience. Remember that keyword and key phrase selection comes down to choosing those that ‘best describe the important qualities of your website.’ While most searches generally begin with generic keywords, specific keyword phrases frequently produce a higher traffic flow.
Specific and focused keyword phrases can produce a higher directory ranking but just as important, they generate highly targeted visitor traffic that generally results in a better traffic to sales conversion ratio. In the short keywords, concentrate on those that relate to what your website is offering but in terms of ranking possibilities and business competitiveness.
Once you have done all the above, it comes down to choosing the 10-20 most relevant keywords by:
- Eliminating those that have the lowest popularity (those where the searches are extremely low
- Eliminating keywords that are hard to rank when you consider page rank vs. competition
- Eliminating keywords that fail to have the right focus for your websites content.
Remember in making your final selection to include both the singular and plural versions of your keywords since these will produce different results from the search engines. (e.g. canister vacuum and canister vacuums).
To use your keywords once you have chosen them, you should place them in your website body copy, HTML code and tags. The ideal places to insert your important keyword phrases include:
- The title of your pages
- Page headings
- In links
- In the URL of each page
- In bold text
- Within the first 25-30 words on each website page
- In the body copy of your pages
- In META tags
- In your Alt text/Alt tag
- In title attributes
- In anchor text
- In any table’s summary
The primary purpose underlying effective keyword research is to optimize for traffic, not to maximize it. What you want are highly qualified visitors that are likely to convert to sales (customers). This is always best achieved by using highly focused keywords that will match the search terms of your target audience.