Optimizing your website all boils down to coming up at the top of searches for your specific keywords. These are words (or phrases) that describe your website, business, product, etc. that people are likely to search for in search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing.
So how do you choose the right keywords for your website?
- Brainstorm. Visualize your potential customers. What kind of words would your customers use when attempting to find information or services which your site offers. Think of alternative spellings, different word combinations, synonyms, slang…
A good way to find out what keywords to optimize is by researching the keywords being used by your current customers. If you already have a website this is a good way to go.
- Take Advantage of Keyword Research Tools. There are several online tools that can help you sift through the thousands of keyword options. These include Google Adwords, Google Trends, Wordtracker and Overture. I will go into further detail on each of the tools, but suffice to say using these tools can give you data on trends and statistics related to keyword selection.
- Check Out the Competition. Certain keywords are very popular but very competitive. Take a look at the websites currently ranked in the first places to understand the scale necessary to overtake these spots. Your website may be a spiritual haven for example, but using just the word God as a keyword, may not be the wisest decision. God is the second most popular search term on the internet (after sex of course), and when you search for it in Google, there are 397,000,000 results as of today, November 2009.
- Create a Chart. Analyze the keyword data you’ve collected in a chart and compare traffic, relevance to your website, each keyword’s conversion rate etc. This method is the best way to reach an informed decision. After you’ve selected and implemented the targeted keywords, you can use analytics programs (such as Google Analytics) to review and refine your choice of keywords.
Keyword Research Tools
Adwords – Adwords is dedicated to advertising in Google, but it also has the keyword external tool that is very useful for finding new keyword ideas. You enter a word or phrase, and it will generate related keywords along with some basic information on them. This is a good place to start your brainstorm session.
Google Trends – Google trends is great because it lets you see which keywords are more popular than others in a simple graph. In both cases you have the option of changing different parameters to suit your specific search needs.
WordTracker – another popular tool for keyword data collection. WordTracker acquires most of its statistics through the meta search engine Dogpile that has approximately 1% of all searches online. WordTracker provides a lot of detail, and even though this information comes from a relatively smaller piece of the pie, it is relatively reliable.
Overture – Overture was re-branded Yahoo! Search Marketing and provides data collected from searches performed in Yahoo! Yahoo has 22%-28% of searches online. It provides good data and methods for measuring comparative numbers.
Keyword Analysis Parameters
Even after choosing your keywords and implementing them in your website tactfully you should always stay alert to changes in trends and the general data. Here are a few parameters by which you can test the keywords you like best:
- Conversion Rate – this parameter covers the percent of surfers searching for that term who converts. To convert in this case, means to click on an ad, to purchase a product etc)
- Predicted Traffic – a prediction of the amount of surfers who will be searching for this specific keyword each month. This data may change as trends do, so stay updated
- Per Customer Value – this parameter covers the average revenues per customer using the keyword and leads to a comparison of lucrative keywords vs. less profitable ones.
Once you’ve analyzed this data you should be well on your way to optimizing your website for the best keywords possible. Remember, it takes more than a couple of days and the key to SEO is also a lot of patience and persistence.
Don’t try to grab the entire pie at once. Rather, work slowly and carefully through the keywords and build your site gradually. This is also a better method of working with Google, which usually credits older sites before new ones anyway. Target one or two main keywords or phrases per page tops and work your way up in the page ranks. As your website matures, gains more and more links, grows in terms of content and pages and acquires greater legitimacy with the search engines, you’ll find targeting multiple keywords more feasible.