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Better SEO: How to Evaluate Keywords (Part 2)

After you've researched your competitors and the keywords they're using -- and brainstormed a list of your own -- what do you do next? Find out in Better SEO: Part 2.

By
Diane S. Thieke,

Better SEO: How to Evaluate Keywords (Part 2)

by Diane S. Thieke

As we discussed in Part 1 of this series on SEO, you’ve done your homework to see what keywords your competitors are using; you’ve brainstormed a list of potential keywords that your customers might use to search for the products and services that you offer. Now you’ve got a list of keywords, and you ask yourself:

What now?

The next step to better SEO is to evaluate your keywords and determine which ones best fit your business goals.

Remember, your goal is to land on the first page of search results. Many businesses make the mistake of trying to get on the first page of results for broad search terms, such as “furniture,” “autos,” or “appliances.” Yet, it’s the long-tail keywords – the ones that aren’t in the top 10 – that are the most valuable.

First, taken together, they can bring in more visitors to your site than the top 10. Second, they are usually more specific, which means the buyer has a better idea of what he wants. If that specific term matches what you offer on your website, you have just gained a lead that is more likely to convert.

These tips will help you choose the most effective keywords:

  • Favor specific phrases that closely match the products and services you offer. So strike from your list any single words. These will be far too broad and it’s unlikely you’ll rank highly for them. Also eliminate any phrases that don’t represent your business.
  • Enter your keywords into Google’s highly useful Keyword Tool. Not only does it provide some variations and additional ideas on your keywords, but it provides two very useful pieces of information: Competition and Search Volume.
  • Favor low competition phrases. This means that not many businesses are targeting this phrase, which increase your odds of reaching the top of the first page of rankings.
  • Favor moderate Global and Local Search Volume phrases. Under 1,000 searches per month is probably too little traffic, but over 50,000 searches per month reduces your chances of owning that term.
  • Evaluate trend data. Look at trends over time using the Google Trends tool. It shows how a phrase performs over time and whether it’s on the rise or falling. It’s useful to identify seasonal spikes and also to compare multiple keywords.

While this analysis will take a bit of time, the data will help you better evaluate your list of keywords and choose the handful that will give you the best opportunity to get to the top of the rankings.

Diane S. Thieke is the president and founder of Simply Talk Media, a digital media marketing consultancy. With more than 25 years in digital media and technology, she helps clients build stronger relationships with their customers and communities, using both social and traditional channels. Follow her on Twitter at @thiekeds or visit her blog at www.simplytalkmedia.com/blog.

SEO photo from Shutterstock.

About the Author

Diane S. Thieke
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