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July 10, 2008

How To Select The Best Keywords For Your Site

As more websites compete for valuable search engine “real estate,” Search Engine Optimization is becoming much more complex.

And *keyword selection* remains one of the most important (yet least understood) pieces of the puzzle.

“Why keyword selection is so important and how to select the best keywords for your website”

To clear up the mystery, let’s break it down into bite-sized pieces by answering our most frequently asked questions about keyword selection:

“What’s the difference between a keyword and a keyword phrase? And which should I use?”

Put simply, a keyword is a single word, like “Maui.” But a keyword phrase is a more descriptive string of two or more words, like “Maui vacations.” Your approach to keyword selection will vary, depending on your industry. For certain niche markets, using single words can be a good strategy (as long as they are specific to your product or service). But regardless of your industry…

Well-researched keyword phrases will attract quality, targeted visitors to your website who *specifically* want what you are selling.

Let’s assume you sell Maui vacations, and your website is listed at the top of the search results for the keywords “Maui” and “Maui vacations.” Let’s look at the characteristics of two groups of visitors you’d attract.

Those who perform a search on “Maui” are searching for a wide variety of topics. Such as Maui’s history and culture, snorkeling, botanic gardens, hiking trails, sailing, golfing, and yes – some will be looking for Maui vacations. But only a small percentage of the people who perform a search on the keyword “Maui” are qualified prospect for your vacation packages.

Now think about the prospects who find you by searching for “Maui vacations.” Every prospect who performs this search is a qualified prospect for you. And by getting a top ranking with this more descriptive keyword phrase, you attract people who are more likely to become paying customers!

You see, someone who wants to take a vacation to Maui is not likely to search for “Maui.” They’re not going to search for “Vacations.” And they’re not going to search for “Hawaii” either. They’re much more likely to enter a keyword phrase like “Maui vacations.”

Today, more than ever, your ideal prospects are going to enter precisely what they want to find, rather than general, open-ended terms. Which means your keyword selection must target your ideal customer with laser-beam focus.

At the same time, the search engines and directories themselves are also becoming much more strict with the pages that they’ll accept and index. They’ll be watching your submissions like a hawk to make sure that they’re completely relevant to the topic reflected by your keyword phrase.

In a previous article, we weighed the pros and cons of doing your search engine positioning yourself versus hiring a reputable company to handle this time consuming task for you. Many of you have wisely realized that it can be much more time-effective and cost-effective to leave your search engine placement in the hands of experts, so you van focus on your core business.

So the most important question of all now becomes:

“If I hire a company to do my search engine placement for me, should I be expected to provide my own keywords and keyword phrases, or do they have a responsibility to advise me?”

Frankly, any company that doesn’t provide hands on consultation in this area is not helping you to maximize your search engine rankings. Keyword selection is the entire foundation on which your search engine campaign is built. Can you imagine hiring a contractor to build your house… only to have him say, “Okay, YOU lay all the bricks and pour the concrete – then I’ll do the rest?”

It’s senseless.


Jennifer Horowitz is the Director of Marketing for EcomBuffet.com. Over the past 10 years Jennifer’s expertise in marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has helped clients increase revenue. Jennifer has written a downloadable book on SEO and has been published in many SEO and marketing publications. Jennifer is the editor of the popular Spotlight on Success: SEO and Marketing newsletter. Follow Jennifer and stay current on SEO, marketing, social media and more. http://twitter.com/EcomBuffet

5 Responses to “How To Select The Best Keywords For Your Site

    Thank you Jennifer for the article, however, it is a tough business when most people are searching for family guy in the nude, rather than family resources. What a crazy world we live in. ^_^

    avatar sajjad says:

    Thanks very informative article let me know if you would like me to give it a link from my website with certain key sentences or prargraph.

    avatar SAL says:

    I agree wholeheartedly. You can spend a lot of time explaining to clients these facts and the fact that they most likely will not be number one in their most generic/competitive industry term. Getting them on board to look at several quality keyword phrases will be the difference between success and failure of the new website.

    Giving clients well researched keyword phrases with the data to support their use is critical. Also allowing the client to offer the keyword phrases they feel are needed is as equally important, as long as these are researched and supported too. Thanks for the article.

    avatar Marco says:

    Sono daccondo ma non è semplice creare tutto ciò, a volte non ritornano i conti. Solamente le grandi aziende possono attuare un ottimo piano di marketing sulle keywords giuste ed avere risultati degli di questo nome.

    Great article and good advice

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