Search Engine Love Fest- 10 Simple Rules for Picking Good Keywords

by James Adams · 23 comments

Keyword Research
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Alright BGB’ers… I know I’ve been neglectful of you the last several days, I had bridesmaid duties to attend to… which unfortunately threw me a bit off in my schedule!  (I know, I know, don’t shoot me!)

Luckily dear James has come to the rescue with a guest post for me, on a topic I think is extremely important if a blog or website is part of your marketing arsenal as an entrepreneur.  (Or even if you’re just a blogger because you love it!)

It ties into good SEO strategies as well as falling under the vast umbrella of “market research” or what I like to call gathering intel.  In short, the topic of this post is just good, evergreen info if you are looking to rope Google, Bing or Yahoo into sending you some free and targeted traffic to have your merry way with.  Just sayin’.

Much of online marketing relies on the use of keywords that match searches made on the major search engines. If good keywords are selected for a Web page, it could become successful at generating a wealth of page views and advertising impressions. Poor keywords, on the other hand, will leave Web site owners poor, lacking a steady stream of visitors.

Although many conflicting philosophies concerning keywords exist, following a few basic guidelines could go a long way toward building a successful online marketing campaign. Here are ten simple rules for picking good keywords.

1. Relevance

The keywords you select for a page should have relevance to the site. If the search engines find that a variety of pages seem to have unrelated keywords, they may rate a site lower, believing the site is irrelevant, contains spam or has little value to their users.

2. Consistency & Seasonality

Those who rely on internet marketing may need to select keywords that are relevant all year long. For example, a pool company may see a spike in the spring when people start thinking about outdoors, but what will attract visitors during the winter months? Good keywords will bring consistent traffic that will drive revenue all year long.

3. Value

You can get a sense about the value of a keyword by investigating how much people pay for that keyword. Google AdWords tools and an array of paid-for premium services can help you find out if there is demand for a keyword, and therefore a market to sell to.

Cori interrupts your regularly scheduled programming to recommend Market Samurai and/or MicroNicheFinder (aff link!) if you want some good paid/premium options.  Keyword Elite is pretty awesome too.  All offer their own sets of pros and cons.  We now return to your regularly scheduled programming. BLEEP!

4. Competition

By researching possible keywords, you can discover how competitive they are. The more general the keyword or phrase is, the more competitive and expensive it tends to be. To get a higher conversion rate and get a positive ROI, you will have to get more refined in your keyword selection so that people who are actually interested in your products are delivered to your site.

5. Volume

Some people go overboard and add too many repetitions of a keyword on a page, while some do not have enough. Maintaining a balance is essential: keywords must be found on a page in order for it to be considered relevant for that keyword or phrase, but too many may result in a search engines judging it as over optimized, and potentially spam.

6. Competitor Analysis

Especially for new websites, keeping abreast of what keywords your competitors are using can help your marketing efforts. Presumably, someone who has been active in your market for longer will have done their research and learned what keywords work and which do not.

7. The Buying Cycle

Often, potential customers begin their search with general terms and then but as they get closer to making a purchasing decision they start searching more specifically, looking for product reviews and other insight. Your home page and category pages are typically set up to pull in visitors who are early in the buying cycle, whereas your product pages can be more targeted to the searcher who is closer to actually making a purpose.

8. Traffic Analysis

There are various analytical tools (I vote Get Clicky, it’s my fave.. and cheap too!) that you can integrate into your website that will let you analyze the search terms people used to arrive at your site. You should analyse those data to find the keywords that convert best into sales, as well as to find keywords that you haven’t yet focused on.

9. Understand Your Market

Spend some time and effort to get involved with the forums and blogs that are active in your target market. By learning what is hot and what is not, you can select keywords that are the most relevant to your audience.

10. Content

No matter how well you select keywords, your online marketing efforts will struggle unless you have good, relevant, and worthwhile content that’s both targeted and well written. Visitors who find out that a site is just a magnet for clicks and does not provide any redeeming qualities will quickly leave, never to return.

Try following these 10 simple rules for picking good keywords as part of your online marketing efforts. If you start now, you will be surprised at the results you can get with just a little time, thought, and effort.

‘Nuff said.

Oh… except if you love this post or have any opinion whatsoever… please drop all thoughts in the comments below and share this post like a madman seeking attention for dysfunction. Or something equally frantic.

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