At the start of any SEO campaign we ask our clients to send us a list of keywords they would like to target throughout the campaign and hopefully rank well for in search engine results. We then review these outlined keywords, adding additional keywords to the mix so that we can have a variety of interrelated terms to use. Keyword research is a very important task and it’s crucial to spend the time developing a strong keyword list.
There is one common mistake that most individuals make when they do keyword research and that’s creating a keyword list that is far too short. Spending the time developing an extensive keyword list will help you open up the search engine ranking doors and expose you to areas that your competition may not be utilizing and/or have realized.
Of course this post isn’t meant to explain every detail of keyword research, but I would love to outline the basic steps to get you started. A good place to start is always with the Google Keyword Tool. This tool will help you establish a strong base; offering suggestions of similarly related keywords to use. Many individuals may only input one keyword and call it a day, but that’s not enough. Let me build upon the last example I used in my previous post entitled, “The Power of A Long Tail Keyword Strategy.” If you are a small rental car company in Boston you may only search for the term “rental car,” but there is a problem with this approach. First, if you are using only one keyword or one keyword combination the keyword you are researching may be far too competitive for your website (Think how hard it would be to compete using the keyword, “car rental” with Hertz, Enterprise and/or Avis). Secondly, you are limiting the amount of possible directions you could be building using specific, less competitive keywords.
There is a better way to conduct keyword research in terms of SEO. First, do a little brainstorming and figure out a variety of similar inter-related keywords that are less competitive, such as vehicle rentals, vehicle rental, rent a vehicle, cars for rent. Then focus specifically on your industry and geographic location to develop a set of very specific keywords: boston rental vehicles, boston car rental, boston vehicle rental, boston car for rent and so on. Find synonyms of the words you are trying to target, to develop a broad range of keywords. Use the Google keyword tool to find additional keyword recommendations. Spy of your competitors by viewing their title and description tags to see what keywords they are ranking well for. Add keywords that are specific to particular services/products you provide because customers may be searching for these exact terms.
Remember that it’s very important to develop a broad keyword list, but remember it should also be focused. Do not choose keywords that are not relevant to your site. Overtime you will be able to re-evaluate your keyword list and access what terms you want to continue to use and what additional terms you would like to add to the list.