Part 1 – Search Volume
Choosing the best keywords for SEO can mean hundreds or either thousands more visitors per month to your website. Choose keywords with little or no search volume and you may acheive top rankings but you will get little or no traffic.
Choose keywords that are too competitive and you may never acheive page one rankings and your site will get little or no extra traffic from a listing below page 2 or 3.
The first step is to create an inital list of keywords you think people would use to find your product or service on the Internet. Have a brainstorming season, look at competitors sites to see if they are using keywords in their title tags and meta descriptions. Or if you are really not sure where to start, use Google’s keywords tool and enter your website URL and Google will create a list of keywords from your site.
SEO TIP: When using Google’s keyword tool I recommend you log on using your Google account, this will give your keyword lists a maximum size of 800 instead of 100.
When using the Google keyword tool there are many columns of data you can view but I tend to just look at the Global Monthly Searches, the Local Monthly Searches and the Approximate CPC.
Create an extensive list using your own ideas and Google’s suggestions. Sort these in order with the broad match search volume largest numbers at the top. You will find that the keywords at the top of the list will have very high volumes but will be one or two word phrases that are quite general. These are normally hard to rank for and will not produce very good conversion rates. Once the local search volume gets lower than 100,000 you will see some more specific keywords.
Create a short list of highly relevant keywords with search volumes of between about 3,000 and 100,000. These numbers are just a guideline. If you find keywords with search volumes of less than 3,000 which are highly relevant to your site and you think this traffic would convert well, add these to your short list. If your site is well estatblished you may also want to consider keywords with a search volume of greater than 100,000.
Once you have a short list of say 50-100 keywords, paste them back into the Google keyword tool and select exact match. (See my previous post about exact match and broad match keyword research)
Now you have a short list with broad match and exact match search volumes and CPC. Next you need to look at the competition for each keyword to determine what needs to be done to gain top rankings.
More about competition analysis in my next post.