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Choosing Relevant Keywords for your Website

One of the fundamental components of search engine optimization (SEO) is the keywords that you are using to optimize your site.   Using relevant keywords on your web site can help you to climb the search engine rankings and in turn, drive more traffic to your site. So you might ask yourself, how do I choose these keywords?  What’s the secret to picking the right ones?  Well we’ve written this article to help you do just that.  If you follow the below guide you’ll help yourself to make sure that the words you are choosing for your site are truly the right ones.

1. Think like a search engine user

It is important to put yourself in the shoes of the search engine user when choosing relevant keywords for your website. You should think about which words your user would use to find the content they need. Then, develop a list of potential relevant keywords you think people would use to find your site.  This list should be a good sized list.

2. Use online tools to help you narrow down your relevant keywords list

There are many services to help you find relevant keywords on the internet. One of the most important resources you can consult is the Google keyword tool.  This simple to use tool allows you to enter a keyword(s).  For each keyword entered (and we suggest doing one category of keyword at a time), it will show you the global and local monthly searches as well as the relative competition to those words.  Furthermore below your list of keywords Google will suggest other terms like the ones you’ve entered. Make sure to search for “exact” matches. This filter on the keyword tool will help you determine the exact form of the keywords to use on your site.

3. Things to consider in finalizing your relevant keywords list

Relevancy to your site

You should choose keywords that resonate with your target consumer. Such search terms will help you drive the users you want to your site.

Is your site a local or national site?

Because of the competition with certain keywords, it is sometimes recommended that you specify the location of your product or service.  This not only helps you if your site is meant for local traffic, but if you are trying to optimize for national terms, local searches can help build up to national ones.  An example of this type of keyword could be “exterminator nyc” as opposed to just “exterminator”.

Competition

Consider how many other sites are competing with you for the same term. The Google keyword tool clearly illustrates the degree of competition for chosen search terms.

Traffic

-Clearly evaluate how many users search for your sites. Depending on your budget, it may be difficult to compete with “fat tail” terms with thousands or millions of monthly searches as opposed to “longer-tail” terms with few searches

Fat-tail vs. long-tail:

-Fat-tail traffic: Concise keywords with a great deal of monthly searches (usually also has a lot of competition). Competing for these terms may take a lot of money in content development and link-building. However, pay-offs can be large once you rank high.

-Long-tail traffic: Keywords that consist of more than one or two individual search terms. This strategy enables you to target a very specific user. For example, if you are an auto insurance company you may want to consider using “how to save money on car insurance” to find users who are looking for that specific keyword phrase.

-Which is better?

-All in all, develop a keyword strategy that helps drive the traffic you want within your budget. There are pros and cons to fat-tail and long-tail relevant keywords; choose ones that are appropriate for the audience you’re looking for.

“Buying” Value

It is important to choose relevant keywords that users search to buy a product or service. In other words, it can be great for business to develop a lot of informational content for your site; but it is more important to drive users to purchase your product or service. In relation to the car insurance example, it could be more useful to your business to use the phrase “auto insurance quotes” as opposed to “how to file an insurance claim.” While the former keyword could be from a user seeking out a quote, the latter is most likely looking for an informational page about how to file a claim.

Choose only a few specific words to optimize on your site

We suggest after finalizing your list to choose only 1-2 main keywords and 3-4 surrounding keywords per web page that is being optimized.  However, keep your list handy as you can use those for surrounding pages to help Google feel that you are a credible source for any words with which you are using.

4. Why should you use relevant keywords on your sites?

Ali Yayla, assistant professor of MIS at Binghamton University, stated that relevant keywords “greatly assist in bringing more traffic to your site.  Google’s organic results are generated by matching users’ search requests with relevant keywords on websites. When chosen keywords and the site’s context are not matched by Google’s search algorithm, Google will further examine other elements such as title tags and domain names. Not having relevant keywords in this information will lower the chance that your site will appear in organic search results.”

Once you have chosen the relevant keywords that are best for your site, you are taking a great first step to increase your visibility on search engines. To find out more on how to optimize your website according to search engine rules and regulations, visit our article “What is white hat SEO?”.

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