Keywords are a foundational element at the heart of every effective SEO campaign. Perhaps that’s why so many business owners find choosing the best keywords so difficult. It’s a task not to be taken lightly. Select the wrong keyword combination and you might find your website at the top of the organic search rankings, but without any increase in traffic (because you’ve chosen a keyword phrase that, while relevant, is never searched). Alternatively, some keyword phrases are so competitive that it could take you years to rank even on the second and third pages.
If you’re having a difficult time selecting the best keywords for your SEO campaign, here are a few tips to get you headed in the right direction:
The first step in the keyword selection process is good old fashion brainstorming. Start with the broad terms and get increasingly more specific. For example, suppose you have a Maryland SEO Company, your keyword brainstorming process might go something like this:
If you search for a keyword like “SEO company”, you will see that the organic results are dominated by some of the biggest SEO companies in the world. If your SEO company is new, you’re going to have a very difficult time ranking any time in the near future.
So, we get more specific:
SEO Companies in Maryland
Maryland SEO Company
SEO Consultant in Maryland
When we search for these more specific keywords, we start to see the other local players emerge. Some of these local SEO companies are more competitive than they appear, so we shouldn’t expect to rank easily, but it’s much more likely – and has a much shorter timeframe than trying to outrank an SEO company that’s been around for more than a decade!
Choosing the right keywords is about balance. You want keywords that have enough search volume to make the SEO work you’re doing worth it, but niche enough not to be on every other SEO’s radar.
Use Google’s Keyword Tool
To find out how many people are searching for a particular keyword and how competitive it is, go to Google and search “Google Keyword Tool.” This will bring you to – you guessed it – Google’s Keyword Tool. Enter a couple keywords into this free gadget and Google will spit back to you the number of Global vs. Local Monthly Searches as well as how much competition exists for the word.
Again, for most business owners, your goal is to choose keywords with enough search traffic to be worth the time invested in SEO, but not so many searches that they are overly compettiive.
Don’t Forget About Conversions
A lot of business owners get so caught up on traffic that they forget about the real goal – conversions. What constitutes a conversion varies from company to company. Common conversions include: web contact forms, phone inquiries, email newsletter sign ups, webinar registrations, etc. You want to optimize your website around keywords that generate conversions.
More people might search for “SEO companies in Maryland”, you might get more conversions from the search phrase Top SEO Companies in Maryland. Google’s Keyword Tool can’t help you here. The best way to see which keywords convert is to get proper tracking in place on your website and then run some tests. Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is a great way to get traffic for a certain keyword phrase to your website quickly to see if it actually converts. If your test PPC campaign also generates a few leads in the process, consider it a cherry on top!
Keywords form the basis for every effective SEO campaign, so choose your keywords wisely. Start by brainstorming keywords relevant to your company and then do some searches. Look for keywords that drive traffic, but aren’t overly competitive. Use Google’s Keyword Tool to compare search volume and competition, but don’t forget – it’s not traffic you want, but conversions. Make sure you pick keywords that generate conversions. A live PPC campaign is one of the best ways to see which keywords actually generate conversions – not just traffic.