I have two questions.
1) How do I know if a keyword merits my time and energy? For example, when I use Google’s Keyword tool, it says “debt settlement facts” has “not enough data” in the local search volume , when I input in “debt settlement texas,” I get 1,600 searches. Is this tool accurate to estimate the potential traffic to keywords ?
2) How do I know which keywords my competitors are using ? What I did was check each competitors site maps and looked at individual pages to see what they were targeting.
1) It sounds like you’re using Google’s PPC Keyword Tool, which is helpful for choosing which keywords to target using pay per click advertising, but I’ve found it not so helpful for SEO campaigns. I would use other KW research tools such as Keyword Discovery, Word Tracker and iSpionage to get a better idea what people are typing in as search queries. All KW tools should be used with a grain of salt in terms of search data anyway – they can give you a general idea based on traffic figures, but trial and error is really your best bet when targeting keywords for your site.
2) Yes, looking at your competitor’s pages to see what keywords they are targeting is a very good idea. You can also view the source code for their pages to see what keywords their Title, META Description and META Keyword tags contain.
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