The keywords you select to focus your content on, will be the defining element that will determine how your website will appear in the search engines.
Selecting the wrong keywords can result in you not appearing in any worthwhile position and getting no organic search engine traffic (Free traffic) from your efforts.
How do you select the right keywords?
The first thing you should do is right down a list of word that are related to your content. If for example, your website sells dog collars, then 2 broad keywords would be "dogs" and "dog collars". We want broad keywords first, since from those we'll be able to create more specific longtail search terms (Longer search terms/more keywords).
"What wrong with just using a few broad search terms?"
They're harder to rank for
They will result in less targetted traffic
You'll miss out on a lot of aditional traffic if you ignore the longtail search terms
In the example above, the keyword "dog collars" might actually be a very good search term. If fully encompasses what the dog collar website is all about, therefore, it should probably be 1 of your main keywords that you should try to rank for. However, in your more internal pages, where you have a specific dog collar, it would be best the have the "dog collar" search term, in addition to a combination of it's brand name, colour, description etc to get the most focussed traffic. If for example the dog collar was a red, "John Smith" brand, you could use the search term "red John Smith dog collar".
Anyone searching for a red John Smith dog collar is now far more liekly to come across your website than if you had just used "dog collar" as a search term.
What About The Keywords You Don't Already Know About?
No matter what your website is about, you can guarantee that there are many many possible keywords out there for you to take advantage of, but how can you find out what they are?
Don't worry friend, I wont abandon you to leave you with just a pen a piece of paper.
There are many online tools out there for you to try out, most notably the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. Here's an example of what comes up when I type in "dog collars":
As you can see, on it's own, the keyword "dog collars" generates 450,000 visitors a month (At the time of writing). Now that's pretty impressive, but we want the more specific keyword for our product pages.
If you look at the search term "leather dog collars" you'll see that there are far fewer people searching for this term than simply "dog collars", however, as I said earlier, this will be easier to rank for, and (If you actually sell leather dog collars) the people that come to your website from that search term, are far more likely to buy from you.
In the "Advertiser Competition" column, you can see a small bar. The more filled (With green) this bar is, the more competitive the keyword is. As you can see, google has reinforced my statement that the broader keywords are more difficult to rank for. The search term "dog collars" has the bar completely filled, whereas "personalized dog collars" (A slightly less competitive keyword) has the bar slightly less filled, indicating that it will be slightly easier to rank for.
Simply using the little green bar isn't an exact science, just an indicator. What you should also do is do a search for the keyword you want to rank for and see how many results are returned. 200,000 results will make it easier to rank highly than if the number of results were 2,000,000, again this is not an exact science, just an aditional indicator.
If you go to the google keyword tool yourself and type in "dog collars", you'll see a result for "dog collers", this is a slight misspelling, but one that is searched for over 5,000 time s amonth, and the bar is only just over half full, indicating that it will be much easier to rank for this term. The question is, should you try to? Trying to rnk for a misspelling is debateable, as though it will bring you traffic, it may make you look unprofessional, as the visitor will think that you can't spell, in the end, it's your call.
By: Stephen Warren