“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to understand the other person’s point of view and see things from their angle.”

Know what your market wants and then give it to them it’s a lot easier than trying to convince them to buy something you want to sell.

So where do we start in selecting keywords and keyword phrases?

Step 1 – Clearly and succinctly define what the product or service you provide is.  It is absolutely critical that you can, in 1 or 2 sentences, tell someone exactly what you do or provide and how you can solve a problem or need they have.

Step 2 – Start to put together a list of what you think are the keywords and keyword phrases that describe your product or service.  At this point we are looking for a long list of words or phrases you think apply.  We will narrow the list of keywords and keyword phrases down later.

Step 3 – Next we are going to try to figure out what the other person thinks and what keywords they use.  Google has a great free tool to help.  Go to Google Adwords.  If you prefer some other keyword and keyword phrase tools you can check out SEOCentro’s keyword tool or Keyword Trackers tool . For Google you will have two options, you can put in your list of words or you can select an existing website and have Google tell you what it thinks the keywords are. In both cases you will get a whole list of other suggestions.

This is only a starting point.  You want to sort the list by volume (this is Google’s volume which currently represents 66% of all searches) and start to look at the Advertiser Competition.  Although it is not an exact science, the Advertiser Competition (which is how much people are paying Google to be on the front page of searches for a particular keyword or keyword phrase) is a good indication of how much competition there is going to be for a particular keyword or keyword phrase.

Also note that some of the words you thought were important may not be or ones you thought were unimportant are actually search more than expected.  If you are optimizing for a word nobody is searching for you are wasting your time!!!

Step 4 – Start to narrow down your list.  Ultimately you want to narrow down to 1 or 2 primary keywords or keyword phrases that are part of a list of 10 keywords or keyword phrases.  In addition you want to create your secondary list of 10 to 20 keywords or keyword phrases that are relevant and you will use periodically.

Ultimately you are going to have to figure out if a particular keyword or keyword phrase is attainable with your budget and is relevant.  If you don’t have the budget of a Wells Fargo or Lending Tree you are probably not going to get on the front page for the keyword “Mortgage”, but you might be able to get on the front page for “Mortgage Dallas” or “Dallas Mortgages”.

People have a tendency to get excited about the fact that the keyword “Mortgage” has 101,000,000 searches a month.  But most people do not consider relevance which is going to lead to better conversion rates.  How many of the people searching the keyword “Mortgage” actually live in the state you are located.  If you have an E-commerce site and can ship anywhere, location may not matter, but it’s something to consider.

You are looking for the best combination of these 5 factors:

  • Traffic Volume
  • Relevancy
  • Search Trends
  • Business Value
  • Competition

Step 5 – Do a Google search for each of the keywords you have selected and see who comes up.  If you want to see who the top 40 are for Google, Bing and Yahoo for a keyword or keyword phrase a great site is SEOCentro’s Rank Checker.

Take a couple of the web addresses that show up in the search and put them into Website Grader.  You are looking at a number of factors.  Age of the website, how well was it built, in bound links, indexed pages, page rank, etc. to determine if the first page of this particular keyword is one that is attainable.  If not, look for another keyword.

If you are interested in a more comprehensive analysis of competition for keywords Objectware Inc. has a great article.

Step 6 – Go back to step 4 and revise your list.  Once you have a solid list of keywords or keyword phrases other people are looking for, are relevant and attainable you are ready to move to the next step, writing your page content and/or writing your blogs and posts.

NOTE:  Our previous article on how to write a post can be used and applied to static pages as well.

  • Limit keyword or keyword phrase to 1 or 2 per page or blog/post
  • Remember front pages tend to get the most attention, use your most important keyword or keyword phrase.
  • Use keyword or keyword phrases appropriately, content should read well and should be used the appropriate amount.
  • Use Geo Modifiers when appropriate to get relevant traffic to your site and target keyword phrases that are attainable.
Next we are going to try to figure out what the other person thinks and what keywords they use.  Google has a great free tool to help.  Go to