Keywords are at the heart of Internet Marketing. Whether you’re trying to make search engine friendly pages, websites that rely on advertising, or sites that focus on a particular niche you’ve no doubt be told to list your keywords.
Keywords are everything. Essential for getting targeted traffic, ad marketing, optimised pages, and so much more.
A keyword is simply the word or term that people will use to find your site. For example, if you wanted to look up a review about the Dark Knight movie, you’d type “Dark Knight Review” into Google. Or if you wanted advice on cooking a stir fry, you’d type “Stir Fry Recipe” or “Stir Fry Cooking”.
It’s the way people think and interact with the Internet that makes a keyword. You rarely see natural language here, even though search engines such as Ask attempt to serve that market. So you wouldn’t type “How Do I Cook A Stir Fry?”. People are accustomed to using simple, short keywords to look for information.
There are two important statistics about keywords: Search Volume (how many times that keyword is used) and Competition (how many sites are listed for that keyword). And a high rank for a popular keyword is what you seek.
Take another example. Your site could rank #1 for a very specific search term – such as “Watering Can Installation” (or any such random term). But what use would that be? It’s unlikely people would actually be searching for that information.
However, if you ranked #1 for “Garden Furniture” then all sorts of possibilities are open to you – not least becoming the #1 Garden Furniture store on the net
So… how do you find these important keywords, should you target them, and what to do once you have them.
Let’s answer the second question first. It’s unlikely that you can sneak into the top rankings for a very competitive keyword. And it’s unlikely you could be a success focusing on just one keyword. You’d be better off seeking to rank high for a larger volume of lesser searched terms. That way, the cumulative effect is the same – or better – than that single keyword, but it is easier to get higher rankings for each term individually.
This is the so-called Long Tail approach to keyword research. A great number of specific niche terms and/or products as opposed to a smaller number of broad, popular ones.
You need to make a list of the keywords you wish to target right from the start. These will then be the focus of your site content.
Luckily, Google has it’s own tool that will help you here. And there are also many third-party tools you could use. These rely on data from millions of searches on the web, so they are pretty accurate!
Another way to find useful keywords is to spy on your competitors. You can see what keywords they use, then use those keywords to see what the ranked sites for those keywords use, and so on.
An excellent online tool is: http://www.spyfu.com
There are a few points you should keep in mind. First, are these keywords going to be profitable? A good indication is run a few searches on Google and see how many ads there are. More advertisers usually mean there’s a good chance the search term is profitable. You should also think about whether or not the keywords relate to a niche where the searcher is likely to spend money. Sometimes it is obvious, sometimes not.
It depends on your goal. If you are simply driving traffic to perhaps build a list or an audience, perhaps the monetary value isn’t so important (yet).
Secondly, what are these keywords for? You should really think about keywords before you build your site, but if you have an existing site then perhaps you want to reach out to a wider audience. Keywords are then useful for creating targeted, secondary pages – or perhaps blog posts.
If you aim to build an affiliate or sales site of some kind, then keywords are essential to reach your potential customers. And if you aim to build an advertising supported site of some kind, then keywords are needed to target the kinds of ads that pay well. But that’s another story.
Finally, if you want to purchase ads, perhaps from Google Adwords, then the right kind of keywords are essential here too. You want/need enough views to to keep your ads live and showing in the listings, but you don’t want the wrong people clicking those ads and costing you money. Again, the cheapest way are the long-tail search terms. The ad itself can also be used to discourage idle clickers. A price or a buy notice will dissuade people from clicking, unless they’re willing to purchase.
Keywords used for ad placement are to be used sparingly. You don’t want your credit card site showing up for people who want credit card debt tips, but you do want it showing for people who are searching for a new card. The right keywords can work wonders.
Keyword research and use is an ongoing task, and tweaking is essential. But if you do stumble on a profitable, lesser competed term then milk it for all it’s worth.
Don’t forget short-use keywords. Is there a big launch for the new Mike Filsaime product? Start generating keywords and ads around that. Is it Christmas? do the same. Are anglepoise lamps suddenly in vogue? Get searching. Jumping on bandwagons and hot trends can also be highly profitable – here’s one final link that can help: