SEO: What should my keywords be?

Keywords are the basis of any search engine and thus it is of absolute importance to have the right keywords if you’d like your website to rank when it is supposed to rank. Then the question which follows is,

  • What should my keywords be?

Wouldn’t it be nice to rank first for those high keywords with millions of searches a day? Or would it? The most important thing to keep in mind is that you must make your keyword relevant to your content. Let me give you an example. If you sell black shirts, you shouldn’t focus all your energy on the keyword ‘shirts’, even though it has the most number searches, neither all on the phrase ‘black shirts’, simply because you want to reach out to those who are willing to buy and thus your keywords should be something like this ‘black shirts’ ‘black shirts for men’ ‘black shirts for women’ and so on. So why is this so? Just because those which search ‘shirts for men’ already have their wallet out because they know exactly what they want and they will get it if they like it. On the other hand those searching for shirts might just be simply looking around and have no interest in buying. Now that was obviously a very basic example but it should give you a good idea.

Now that we know what keywords to look for, we need to know which ones bring in the most traffic and more importantly which can bring us the most profit.

Let’s consider that we have three keyword phrases ‘shirts for men’, ‘shirts for women’ and ‘shirts for children’. We do a simple search analysis on each keyword using Google Adwords: Keyword Planner and we find that ‘shirts for men’ has 100,000 searches a month, ‘shirts for women’ has 60,000 a month and ‘shirts for children’ has 20,000. So which one should I go with? At first you might say Oooo lets go with the ‘shirts for men’ because there are so much more searches, and you focus your company’s time, budget and marketing on shirts for men only based on that factor. Unfortunately, most probably that will not work. Those number could be off by 200% and we haven’t taken account of competition. There might be hundreds fighting for that number 1 ad and the bidding amount could be quite high. Moreover we haven’t considered any similar variations of ‘shirts for women’ and ‘shirts for children’ which could give us more total impressions than ‘shirts for men’. And so it follows,

  • How do I choose the best keyword from a number of keywords?

We can find our best keyword in a professional manner without going into too much detail as follows. There are three main steps to consider.

1. Broad data analysis

Start by going to adwords and find the total number of impression for several types of keywords, find related keywords, type those keywords into a search engine and see what comes up, relate some keywords together and group the ones which you think are the best. Now that we have that group of 3 to 5 keywords go and do a competitive analysis of each keyword. You may use SEMrush, Marketing Grader, Alexa and so on. Orbit Media Studios have a good list of tools which are divided according to how they are able to help you. Now we should have a nice overview of our keywords and it should have only taken us a couple of hours or so to do this.

2. Keyword testing

Next comes in the tricky part and probably the most time consuming. We need to create a high quality webpages which targets each keyword. If we consider the shirts example, we do a high quality page on our current site for ‘shirts for men’, ‘shirts for women’ and ‘shirts for children’. Next, using Adwords, we get a good amount of sample keywords related to our main keyword (ex. ‘striped shirts for men’) and bid on these small keywords which land on to your new high quality pages ( for the ‘striped shirts for men’ the landing page would be ‘shirts for men’). Now we let this running for a couple of weeks or maybe a month if you can afford it. This is just great because now we have some solid results. We now know the number of impressions obtained from each keyword and therefore we know if the adwords impressions results actually mean anything or not. We also know the CTR, conversions (if tested), competition and the relative price. Now this is extremely important information because if the bidding is high for an advert then that means that you are able to compete using an organic site. On the other hand if you think you don’t have a good DA (Domain Authority – how well a website will rank) then a low bid is better because you are able to compete in that market through PPC. Additionally we also know how difficult it is provide content on each keyword and maybe we can create more interesting and engaging content for ‘shirts for women’ rather than for men.

3. Analysis

Now that we have all this data gathered we can start comparing them together to see which keyword brings in the best ROI, the rate at which each market is growing (can be found using Google Trends), how much unique content we are able to provide, value of each keyword, opportunity of each market and lastly how difficult it is to get a good share of that market.

We now know where to invest and we can do this with confidence.

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