If you’ve been involved with search engine optimization (SEO) for more than a day, you’ve probably already figured out that everything revolves around keywords. From title tags to anchor text, the entire SEO process is centered on keyphrases. That means you have to be well-equipped to select the best search terms for the right pages (or articles or blog posts) or you might come up short.
There’s a Method to the Madness
Call me picky, but closing your eyes and blindly pointing to keywords on a screen is not my idea of professional-level keyword selection. There are specifics you want to consider before opting to use certain search terms in the content you write.
1. Broad vs. Narrow
The broader the keyphrase, the further away from the point of decision your reader is. That means you’d be better off (in most cases) to use broad terms on your Home page, About us page or other top-level pages. There are exceptions to every rule, but generally speaking, broad keyphrases don’t convert as well as more narrow ones.
As you span from broad to long-tail, you’ll want to look for opportunities to include those keyphrases on pages with a tighter focus. Although it applies to all forms of copywriting, ecommerce copywriting is a good example of what I’m talking about.
2. Your Page(s) & Product(s)
Think about what happens as you click through a website. You start at the Home page which offers general info about the company. Next you may click to the Services page or, on an ecommerce site, to a category page. These are a little more specific. Then you could click to a specific service or product that interests you.
As you move through the site, you get more and more focused. So should your keywords. Here’s an example.
“Microwave Oven” – Very broad. Possibly use on a Home page, a blog post with general information about microwave ovens, etc.
“Stainless Steel Microwave Oven” – Great for a Category page specifically about the various stainless steel microwaves offered. Too narrow for a Home page because your site offers lots of different types of microwaves, not only stainless steel.
“Samsung 1200watt Stainless Steel Microwave Oven” – Laser specific, long-tail phrase. This person has figured out exactly what she wants and is trying to decide who to buy it from. Great phrase for an individual product page, a review article about this particular oven, etc.
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See how the search terms are applicable of the product itself? Whether in a broad sense or a very narrow one, they describe what’s being sold because you’re dealing with a consumer-based target audience. If you were approaching a B2B audience, you might have gone with keyphrases like “microwave manufacturer,” etc.
3. Your Business Model
Which types of search terms you use will also depend on your business model. For example, if you operate a niche affiliate site, you’ll want to focus on niche keyphrases (as the name implies). Going after broad keywords on a niche site is rather an oxymoron, you know?
If you run an information-based site that generates revenue from AdSense ads, you may need to concentrate on broader search terms in order to pull in more traffic to the site.
There are lots of other scenarios that could determine the types of phrases you’d want to focus on.
As you scour your list of potential keyphrases, remember these 3 strategies. Running your options through the 3 filters above will make your selection process easier and more effective to boot!
Baffled by keyword research? Been doing it for years but still have questions? Check out Keyword Research 2.0 from my OnlineCopywriting101.com website. Clear the fog, make more confident choices, get more traffic.
By Karon Thackston © 2011, All Right Reserved