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Keywords: The Foundation Of SEO

Keywords & Keyword Research

Every successful SEO Plan is designed around keywords and the keyword phrases that will be targeted. Do this right and you’ll likely get the results you are looking for… improved rankings for the terms and keywords you’ve optimized for and an increase in targeted traffic. Do this wrong, however, and you will have wasted a whole lot of time (and possibly money too!)

Keyword research is what separates novice SEOs from true professionals. Most anyone can find keywords using a tool like thats provided by Google but few know how to sift through the junk to find the treasure.

The Main Aspects Of Keywords & Research

It would be impossible for me to teach you the intricacies of keywords and keyword research in this short blog post but I will give you a “top level” explanation of the three main aspects.

Search Volume

Behind each keyword phrase, there is an associated “search volume.” The search volume is an approximation of how many times the keyword phrase is searched upon in an average month.

So, if you optimize a page around a term that has a listed search volume of 100 searches per month, you can’t expect a first page ranking to bring you much traffic. After all, you should never expect your site to receive all of the available “clicks.”

Keyword Intentionality

When choosing keywords it’s important that you try to get inside the mind of the person doing the search. You may think that the keyword phrase clearly conveys what the searcher is looking for but this is not always the case.

There are many sophisticated techniques used to determine the “intentionality” of each keyword phrase but here’s a simple tip… enter the keyword phrase into the search engine you care most about and look at all of the results.

Are there a number of sponsored ads on the page? This can indicate that the keyword phrase has a “commercial intent.”

Are the organic listings what you expected to see? If most of the listings are relevant to your business, you’re on the right track. If they’re not, you probably don’t really understand the intentionality of the keyword phrase.

If you search Google.com for the keyword phrase, “how to save a life,” you might expect to see listings on first aid, CPR, the Heimlich Maneuver, etc. Instead, however, you will find information on the song, “How To Save A Life,” by The Fray.

Determining Your Competition

This may sound a bit harsh, but it’s true… if you want to rank on the first page for a particular keyword phrase you are going to have to kick one of the current listings off!

Because of this, it’s important you know what it is going to take to accomplish this before deciding to optimize for the term. In some cases, you will find that the work will be easy and in others, near impossible.

There are many factors that come into play when determining your competition. It’s not just about the strength of the competitor’s website/web page, but also your strength in comparison.

This topic is a lengthy one but here are some of the questions you must ask:

  • What is the domain age of my competitor and how does that relate to mine?
  • How well optimized is their page and how does that relate to mine?
  • How many links does their page have and how does that relate to mine?

keywordsWhile there is more to it, the answer to these three questions will give you a general idea as to whether you can compete or not and what you must do to improve your chances.

I hope this post has stressed the importance of keyword research and properly targeted keywords in your online campaigns. To learn more about keywords go here.

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