By now, you're aware of the fact that keywords should play a role in your search engine marketing strategy. While they're not the only component of this type of strategy, since keywords are what prospects type into a search engine when they're looking for something, you do need to pay attention to them.
For awhile, there were plenty of people who thought that more was always better when it came to keywords. This led to the creation of "content farms." The problem with this approach was that while these sites targeted staggering amounts of keywords, their quality wasn't all that great. As a result, Google made algorithm updates like Panda to lower the prevalence of these sites in their SERPs.
Since quantity isn't the answer, how should you decide what keywords to target? The best approach is to focus on keywords that are going to provide the best return on the time and resources you invest in targeting them. Here's how to make that happen:
Define What You Want to Accomplish: Before you start picking out keywords, you need to know what you want those keywords to accomplish. As you may have learned from past experience, simply bringing visitors to your site doesn't mean anything if none of them take action. Since you want customers and not just website traffic, start by deciding exactly what you want your website to do. In many cases, you may have multiple goals. For example, you may want to increase the number of subscribers to your email newsletter, as well as bring in more direct buyers for a specific product. Once you know your actual goal(s), you can begin building keyword lists for each one.
Start by Brainstorming: Instead of immediately going to a tool, it's a good idea to start with a brainstorm session. Since you have one or more specific goals defined for your sets of keywords, think of all the words or phrases someone might type into Google in the process of completing the goal you've defined. Using the previous example, prospects who eventually sign up for your newsletter are going to be interested in finding more information, while those who promptly make a purchase may be looking for a specific product recommendation. The main reason to start with a brainstorm is if you immediately go to a tool, you may miss good opportunities as a result of your scope being too narrow.
Hone Your List and Put It to Use: Once you have your brainstorm list, you can use a free or paid keyword research tool to figure out which phrases have enough volume to target. After you hone your list, the last step is to put it to work. Keep in mind that you don't necessarily have to create tons of new pages just to target keywords. Instead, you may be able to accomplish a lot with simple changes like writing more descriptive titles and improving your site's internal link structure.
About The Author
Brian Waraksa, founder of Raxa Design in Houston, Texas has been in marketing and small business branding since 2002. He writes the Raxa Design blog on issues affecting small business marketing and corporate brands.
Posted on Mon, July 16, 2012
by Brian Waraksa filed under