Learn How To Choose The Best Keywords To Drive Traffic To Your Website. Most webmasters want their websites to appear on the first page of search engine results, but only a few have the skills to make it happen. There are many steps to follow in order to be found for terms related to your site, and taking the time to research the best possible phrases for your site is a crucial step.
Many webmasters make the mistake of believing that a ranking for a single generic term related to their site will turn it into a profitable success. Although that one generic term may generate a lot of traffic and raise brand awareness, that doesn’t mean that traffic will convert into sales or leads, and the costs of targeting that term will outweigh your ROI. It is best for the webmaster to target a variety of terms that will not only drive traffic but also result in the all-important conversion.
First and foremost, think about who your target audience is and what your site’s purpose is. Do you have an online store? Do you provide any services? Is there a greater emphasis on content? There are many different types of potential visitors who will find your site in different ways, so knowing who they are and why they will visit will help you focus your efforts.
With this in mind, you can start thinking about the generic terms you believe people will use to find your website. It shouldn’t just be one term – many webmasters fall into the trap of assuming that one term will bring in enough traffic to sustain their business, only to be disappointed when sales don’t increase once they achieve that ranking. Consider all of your site’s potential phrases and themes, including using a thesaurus to find related terms and looking at competitor websites for inspiration. It’s possible that the terms your potential visitors will use will surprise you!
Once you’ve compiled a list of short generic terms, you can use tools to determine how popular and competitive those terms are, as well as refine those generic terms to be more targeted to the purpose of your site. The first step is to determine the popularity of terms, which can be accomplished through the use of various keyword suggestion tools.
Keyword suggestion tools show you which terms were searched for and how many times they were searched for. When you type in a phrase, you’ll get a list of alternatives that include your generic term, as well as other suggestions with a similar theme and an estimate of how much traffic the phrase generates per month. Although these tools have flaws in that they query multiple search engines and traffic estimates can be inaccurate, they are still useful for getting a ballpark estimate of the number of searches conducted and for suggesting multiple terms you may not have considered targeting.
The Overture Keyword Tool, which can be found at inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/, is free to use and provides a list of suggested terms as well as the number of searches performed on the Yahoo! Search Marketing network in the previous month (Yahoo! purchased Overture and rebranded it Yahoo! Search Marketing).
At www.wordtracker.com, you can find a similar tool. Wordtracker uses the Dogpile meta search engine, so it may not be representative of what’s being searched on the web as a whole, but it’s still useful for suggesting related phrases and alternative phrases. Wordtracker offers a subscription service that allows you to order access for one day to one year.
KeywordDiscovery by Trellian, available at www.keyworddiscovery.com, is a newcomer to the keyword suggestion market. KeywordDiscovery can query multiple search engines around the world and provides similar results to Overture and Wordtracker.com, among other services; however, with monthly subscriptions starting at $32.50, this premium option is geared more towards search marketing professionals.
The next step in selecting the best terms is to determine their competitiveness. You want to find terms with a lot of traffic but few websites competing for the top spot, and you can do this using a variety of methods. Any page that is optimized for a term will have that term in the title tag and in the anchor text of links pointing to the site, so by going to Google and searching for intitle:“here” and inanchor:“here,” you can see how many other pages have optimized for your phrase. The less competitive a term is, the lower the number of searches for it. Go to www.google.com/help/operators.html for more information on what these Google advanced search operators do.
Using these tools, you should now have a list of terms that are far more targeted than your original generic phrases. Breaking down your term by geographical location or a specific product is one example. Remember that search engines index web pages, not just websites, so you’ll be able to optimize your site for multiple phrases. That means search engines will be able to find all of your site’s pages, which means they can all be optimized for different terms!
You should also think about the “long tail” of search phrases. These are obscure multi-word phrases that are only searched a few times but are so specific that they can become the most targeted terms with higher conversion rates. The best way to target the long tail is to have a content-rich website; the more content you have, the more likely you are to be found for obscure terms in your copy.
As a result, you should now have a list of the best targeted phrases for your website! As you can see, selecting keywords is a process that should not be taken lightly, and there is a lot of work to be done if you want to improve your site’s ability to attract natural search traffic. With your final list in hand, you’ll be able to optimize your pages so that they can be found for those terms, but that’s a topic for another day…