How to Determine the Best Keywords for Search Engine Optimization Campaigns

Deciding what keywords and phrases you want to focus your SEO campaign around is the first step to getting better search engine results. There are several things you need to think about when deciding on keywords. What would you like to be found for in search results? What are your target customers actually searching for? How much competition is there for that phrase? Let’s break down how these all work together.

What would you like to be found for in search results?

This is the starting point. What is your meat and potatoes? What are you known for, or would you like to be known for? Of course the initial response to this question is to list off every service and product that your company can offer. Unfortunately, SEO doesn’t work like that. Your best bet is to start with 2-3 key phrases that you want and really focus on those. Search engines like consistency, repetition, and focus, when it comes to your keywords. They will actually penalize you if your keywords don’t match the visible content on your page.

So, choose 2-3 phrases to work with and move on to step 2.

What are your target customers actually searching for?

As experts in a field we have a tendency to forget that not everyone knows our jargon. Just because the technical name of your product or your actual title makes sense to you, that doesn’t mean that anyone is actually searching for that phrase. For example, let’s consider a chiropractor’s possible keywords. The temptation may be to use keywords such as “subluxation” or “Dr of Chiropractic”. Likelihood of a potential client searching for either of those terms is slim to none, but something like “back pain”, “dislocated joint”, or “chiropractor in WNY” might be more common.

Starting with the phrases that you chose in step 1, begin to think about them like a potential client. Change each key phrase into what you think will actually be searched for and then think about step number 3.

How much competition is there for that phrase?

How many websites are there on the internet that are targeting the same customers using the same keywords? If the competition is fierce, it will be much harder to get any traction with your SEO efforts. For example, “chiropractor” comes up with over 27 million results when typed into Google, whereas, by using a geographical tag such as the city or town where the chiropractor is located, the field could be limited to less than 30,000.

This is a clear case of big fish in small pond versus small fish in the big sea, which would you rather be? You can either be found frequently by a smaller amount of people, or on the 152nd page of the search results every time, where no one will ever see you.

Typically you will get better results with your keywords if you make them something more specific, rather than general. Try adding things like geographical locations, specific services or products, or even a common misspelling to cut down on your search competition.

Apply some specifics to the key phrases that you chose in steps 1 and 2, and you will have a good start for your SEO campaign.

If you are ready to start working on optimization for your website, make sure you take the time to decide on these key phrases. They will steer the rest of the process, from the text that you write for the website, to the way you title your pages, and some of your marketing efforts.

In our next entry, we will offer some tips on where to use implement these keywords and phrases to begin the process of SEO for your website. Contact Buffalo Wired for more information on our SEO services.

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