This is part one of ten in this search engine positioning series. In part one we will outline how to choose keyword phrases most likely to produce a high ROI for your search engine positioning efforts. Over this ten part series we will go through ten essential elements and steps to optimizing a site. Some steps take a few hours, some may take months depending on competition, but in end and if done correctly you will have a well optimized site that will place well and hold it's positioning.
Of course all website's fluctuate up and down however well optimized sites will spend more time on upper end of rankings than poorly optimized or spammy sites which may see high rankings but which will lose those rankings over time.
The Ten Steps We Will Go Through Are:
- Keyword Selection
- Site Structure
- Internal Linking
- Human Testing
- Link Building
- The Extras
Step One - Keyword Selection
Arguably, keyword selection is single most important stage in entire optimization process. If you do not choose correct keyword phrases you will not maximize your ROI on this campaign. I mention ROI and use it as a reminder that keyword selection is not necessarily about looking for most searched phrases. A profitable optimization is one which produces greatest return on investment for time and money that are available to put towards it.
Bigger Is Not Always Better
If you are a web designer in Seattle who has just started your own business, you could make "web design" targeted keyword phrase for your site as it certainly has highest number of searches with 707,962 in September 2004 according to "Overture Search Term Suggestion Tool". If you have thousands of dollars and many months to dedicated just to attaining those rankings it could be done however, would that be best use of your time? Alternatively you could target "seattle web site design" with 5,070 searches in September. A Google link check shows number of links for top three competitors for Seattle search had 132, 21, and 47 respectively whereas for "web design" top three had 18,700, 5,420, and 1,310 incoming links each.
With a good site you would get more work than you could handle with 5,070 searches on Overture alone if you were ranking well on major search engines. This would clearly provide highest return on investment for small business owner who most certainly does not have time and money available to target "web design" and who wouldn't have manpower to take advantage of rankings even if they were attained.
This is an extreme example however it clearly illustrates that sometimes phrase with highest number of searches is not necessarily best target for your business.
Phrases That Sell
Another consideration you will want to make when choosing your keyword phrases is whether or not they are "buy phrases". Phrases with a high number of searches that are not "buy phrases" will tend to bring a lot of traffic, however conversion ratio will be far lower. Should you choose to target "buy phrases" you may not get same number of visitors however your ratio of visitors to sales will be much higher.
In this example let's assume you are marketing director for a well-known accounting company. There will be many choices you can make for your targeted keyword phrase. The top searched phrases in September 2004 that were accounting-related are:
- "accounting" with 156,095 searches
- "accounting software" with 54,621 searches
- "accounting job" with 32,015 searches
- "accounting services" with 19,260 searches
- "accounting firm" with 13,089 searches
Many might go with their gut instinct and attempt to target "accounting". The problem with this phrase (other than competition for it) is that people doing that search are not necessarily even looking for an accounting firm. They may be accounting students, small business owners not interested in hiring an accountant but just looking for tax information, etc. "Accounting software" and "accounting job" are irrelevant, which leaves us with "accounting services" and "accounting firm" as two main options.
From this point an evaluation of competition should be performed and pros and cons of making each primary target should be weighed based on amount of work it will take to attain phrase vs. how many searches there are for that phrase.
Often promotions that target multiple "buy phrases" will end up far more successful that those targeting phrases based solely on number of searches due to increased conversions and generally decreased competition.
Tools To Use