Ideas for Selecting a Keyword
Choosing a quality keyword can be a daunting task. Targeting a keyword that doesn’t have search volume, yield relevant visitor traffic, or that is too competitive for your budget are a few issues you must avoid in order to have a successful SEO campaign. So, where do you begin?
First, I think it’s helpful to know if there are any people actually searching for the keyword in question. For general SEO purposes, it’s best to target a keyword that individuals type in when looking for your service or product (unless you’re trying to brand a company name). Obviously, if no one is searching for your keyword, it’s almost pointless to put effort into ranking for it.
One great source to get started on keyword research is the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Although primarily for pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaigns, the tools still displays valuable data and keyword trends that can be helpful for your SEO keyword brainstorming.
Let’s say that you narrowed your keyword list to about 10 choices. Now all you have to do is target the ones with the most search volume, right? Well, that is one way to go about selecting keywords. But I’ve found that it’s highly beneficial to focus on a keyword that is more relevant to a particular product/service, even if it generates less search volume overall (when compared to others on your list).
For example, suppose that ‘keyword x’ receives 1,000 searches a month, but is a general category (‘cars’). Then, presume that ‘keyword y’ receives 300 searches a month, but is a more narrowed search (such as ‘used Ford cars’ or a any other particular car model). Sure, your website could possibly receive more traffic targeting ‘keyword x’, but ‘keyword y’ could produce a higher probability for a sale, which is the number one goal for most SEO marketing campaigns.
This method could yield more sales because a more specific keyword (i.e., ‘used Ford cars’ instead of just ‘cars’) usually means that the searcher has narrowed down their focus: used and not new; Ford and not any other brand; and cars instead of trucks or SUVs. If your website has a landing page that satisfies this search, the chances are that you’ll be successful.
At times, you’ll come across a keyword that you’ll want to target, but may be too competitive to realistically rank well for (i.e., first page of search engines). There are numerous factors that can result in this setback, such as the competition has an on-going, aggressive online marketing campaign or you don’t have a sufficient enough budget to compete with the competition.
In any case, there are usually enough variations of keywords that you can still have your website rank for something relevant. A good plan is to initially focus on a keyword that’s still in line with your online goals, but less competitive. After your website ranks well for that, you should then have a better opportunity for success targeting the more competitive keywords, as your website will have created some history and authority on search engines within the niche.
Though not a comprehensive list, the aforementioned points should be a great starting point for determining keywords.