5 tips for SEO – Keywords Part One
I once had a client tell me that I was a magician with keyword selection and analysis. It was flattering, but not even close to accurate. The truth, unfortunately, is nowhere near as exciting. Though it may seem that keyword analysis is a mystical talent, it’s actually more of a combination of art and science.
If you’re looking at your own keywords, here are a few quick tips that may help you. Though I can’t promise you magical powers with this information, I can at least give you a good starting point.
Know your offering
First thing first is to understand what it is you’re actually offering to clients. If you can’t define your services or products into a simple one or two word phrase, keyword analysis is going to be a big pain in your nether regions.
When I conduct keyword research, it amazes me how hard it is to get people to simply state the most basic of their offerings. In sales and marketing, we’ve been trained to speak in value statements and explain our competitive advantages. Unfortunately, in keyword research, the search engines don’t care if you provide “the most reliable handmade widget related products that alleviate the stress of high blood pressure and male pattern baldness. “ Search engines only want the goods.
When it comes to your keywords, you’ll want to hone in on your key business offering (in my example that would be “widgets”).
Use the tools available
Once you’ve been able to figure out your offerings, you’ll be able to take advantage of the myriad of tools available. There are plenty of great online tools that will help you with keyword variations, applicable phrases, and even competitor keywords.
If you choose to simply go it alone, the chances of stumbling on an effective keyword phrase can be slim. With the ability to look at monthly search patterns, competitor’s strongest keyword sets, traffic estimates and competition rates, you give yourself a better chance of finding a set of keywords and phrases that will help you maximize your marketing spend.
As a general guide, I’d suggest using the Google Adwords Keyword tool for search volumes, and services like SpyFu, ClearWebStats and SEO workbench to help you understand what your competitors are up to.
Understand the difference between local and global traffic
This is always my personal favorite piece of information. Not because it’s an important data set, but because I hear people quote these numbers back at me in casual conversations without having a clear idea of what they mean. That usually opens up the opportunity for me to look really smart (which doesn’t happen often) and I can pretend to be the keyword magician again.
When you look at keywords, it’s very easy to be encouraged by the Global search numbers. These numbers show you how many people are searching for a particular keyword, or keyword phrase each month. Unfortunately, these numbers also show you how many people across the world are searching. If your company has a more local audience, it really isn’t going to help you to know that 100,000 people a full continent away are looking up a particular phrase.
Unless you’re a global company, global search traffic is a pretty useless statistic. More often than not, you’ll want to look at local search traffic numbers. Even then, it should be noted that you’d be looking at country wide statistics. If you need to get more granular than that, you’ll have to start working with location variables, geo-targeting, and even including specific city/town names in your keyword sets.
Again, though the global search traffic is awesome to look at, the local search traffic is a better figure upon which to base your traffic projections.
Stay tuned to read more on the subject of SEO. I can't wait to impart my knowledge upon you.