If you just sit and guess which keywords or key phrases you should choose to optimize your page for, most likely you’ll get it wrong.
The way you should choose keywords is through Keyword Research and Keyword Analyses. Often you’ll find that some of the initial terms that you’ve chosen, are not searched very often or that they are too competitive.
There is no way I can cover all the details of choosing proper keywords or performing proper keyword analyses in one post. I’ll try to summarize main points and break it down into simpler terms. I’ll keep adding more tips on various topics over time. Unfortunately, SEO is not something you can learn over lunch break.1. Create your own list of All Relevant Keywords
Actually, I’d suggest choosing a couple of products for now. This way you can learn the process and then apply it to the rest of your products. Otherwise, it might become too overwhelming.
Anyway, usually you start with a long list of keywords that you will eventually narrow down dramatically to “Preferred Terms” list.
Eventually, you’ll choose One Keyword (per product page) out of that list for which you’ll optimize your page for.
Start by creating a spreadsheet of All Relevant keywords that you can think of for each product (separate sheet for each). Start with obvious words that jump at you when you look at your product.
You need to choose keywords that most of your customers will be using when searching for your product on Google or other search engines. So you need to think like them or you can ask your customers what words they used when they searched for a particular product.
Also, ask others (family and friends, fellow Bootcampers) to describe your product and come up with a few possible keywords.
Actually, this could be a good exercise for Bootcampers to identify potential keywords for each other’s products.
Write down those terms.
Check Google Analytics to see which keywords bring you the most traffic. Write down those as well.
Think of misspellings too. Some spelling mistakes are very important, with up to 20% of all searches containing a misspelled word.
Add all variations of singulars and plurals, hyphenated, as well as split and merged words.Oct 26, 2010 Correction
- in the last year or so search engines made optimizing content for misspellings irrelevant.2. Use Keyword Tools to validate your terms
After you’ve put together a decent list of your “Best” keywords, you can switch to Keyword Tools to compare and validate your terms.
There are a few free, as well as some paid tools available to you. Both Yahoo http://searchmarketing.yahoo.com
and Google https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal
provide free keyword analyses tools. To make things easier I’d choose one of them for now, probably Google AdWords keyword tool, as it doesn’t require you to open a PPC account like Yahoo does. 3. Choosing Preferred Terms
At a minimum, you need to evaluate each keyword for these parameters:
- Search Popularity
- Competition Level
It can be a time consuming exercise, especially if you have a very long list of keywords to analyse, but the next step is to start pulling search popularity and competition values from Keyword Tool into your spreadsheet so you can easily scan all values for all keywords at the same time. In the Relevance column you are going to put your own rating like “Poor” or “High”. Relevance rating is your judgement call. There is no special tool to get those values from.
Remember: The most useful keywords will strike a balance between popularity, relevance and competition.
Highlight those keywords in your spreadsheet. Cleanup your list by removing badly scored terms.4. Combining Keywords
So now look at the highlighted keywords and see which keywords could be combined.
Tip: one-word terms are rarely relevant. Instead, think in which context they will be used. They are also highly competitive and hard to rank for.
So if you have terms on your list like “Earrings” with, let’s say, 2000 searches a day and “Silver Earrings” with 250 searches a day - choose “Silver Earrings”, as you will be actually optimizing for both terms “Earrings” and “Silver Earrings” at the same time with combined 2250 searches a day.5. Page Optimization
The exercise you did above for choosing appropriate keywords was not for nothing.
Not only you now know which keywords best describe your product. You can also start optimising your pages for the chosen Keywords (both Primary and Secondary).
Though, that will be covered in another post. Cheers!