CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE AMERICAN UNDERDOG RADIO SHOW – Social Media tip of the week; Content & Keyword Selection
Content has been, currently is…and always will be KING! If you don’t like writing or don’t believe you have time to invest in producing great content, get over it and realize that this is the single most important investment you’ll make towards achieving your marketing goals. This is worth repeating…CONTENT is the single most important component to your base website, your SEO strategy and now your Social Media Optimization Strategy (SMO). Focus on producing content which is fresh and unique every week. If you can’t commit to producing new and updated content at least once a week, find someone who can do that for you.
Now, with that said, it is equally important that the content you are producing is relevant to your audience. By that I mean you need to have a clear vision about what keywords to include in your content. Good content requires that you are strategically embedding high-quality keywords across your content. What you think your keywords are is irrelevant. Focus on what your customer uses to search for your products or services. Ask yourself the question, “If I didn’t know my company or product name, how would my prospective clients describe my business/service/product in a Google search?” What most clients do not understand about online marketing, website construction, SEO or SMO is Keywords, more specifically Keyword Selection.
If we have a chance to, we will be glad to do an analysis of a prospective clients website and see whether the keywords for which they rank actually have any value. If the client doesn’t know anything about Keywords, then educating them is likely to identify the pain point they didn’t know existed. Specifically, if they see a demonstration that they may be missing out on 80% of highly valuable target traffic (potential new business) for related keywords in their target audience…the awareness of losing that business should get their attention.
Keyword Selection has become a combination of art and science, so in the following outline I will provide the fundamentals to give you a high level understanding of how sophisticated Keyword Selection has become. Most people do not make appropriate keyword selections, so understanding this will help you guide discussions in the future. The best strategy to understand this balance of art and science is utilizing keyword selector tools that help you discover how people are actually searching the Internet. By understanding how people are searching for your product or service, and how much competition you have, you’ll know what keywords to focus on and which to leave alone.
The Keyword Selection issue with respect to impact on search engine ranking is four-fold.
• First is whether the keyword is considered a Root Keyword (also called a Primary Keyword) or whether it is a Keyword Stem (also called a Secondary Keyword).
• Second is whether the keyword is “Global” or “Localized” and this means whether the keyword is geographically concentrated on the vicinity around the clients location, i.e. dental implants Houston.
• Third is the Keyword Value. We want our clients to obtain search engine rank for 3 types of keywords, High-Value, Medium-Value, and Low-Value. What you don’t want is to rank for keywords which have No-Value.
• Fourth is Keyword Length. Root keywords are single words, like Dentist (very broad). Secondary Keywords include both Keyword Stems and Keyword Phrases (two or more words as part of the keyword). There are “short-tail keyword phrases” (two to four words in the keyword phrase, still fairly broad) and there are “long-tail keyword phrases” (very lengthy and detailed phrases which are highly specific, very narrow). Long-tail keywords are typically competitive niche markets rather than the hugely competitive broad keywords
So, here is the simple example for what all the above looks like:
Root (Global) Keywords = dentist, dentistry, dental,
Keyword Stems (Secondary, short-tail) = dentist office, dentistry practice, dental office
Localized Root (Global) Keywords = dentist houston, dentistry houston, dental houston
Localized Keyword Stems (Secondary, short-tail) = dentist office houston, dentistry practice houston, dental office houston
Long-tail keyword phrase = small business dentist office providing top dentistry practice in houston
Keywords in the above categories are further value gauged by some general “rule-of-thumb” benchmarks:
1. Number of Pages Indexed
2. Number of Monthly Searches
3. Average Cost per Click
If you go to Google and search for “dentist” you will see that Google has indexed approximately 36,300,000 pages of content. In comparison, if you Google “dentist office houston” you will see that Google has indexed approximately 15,100,000 pages of content, less than half of “dentist” total pages indexed. Further down is the long-tail keyword phrase “small business dentist office providing top dentistry practice in houston” which has approximately 6,620,000 pages indexed. The number of monthly searches done on any keyword of interest can be discovered at the Google Keyword Selection Tool. If you go to that page and type in “dentist” you will see that 11,100,000 searches were done on that phrase last month. The number of searches done last month for “dentist office” was 74,000 searches, and the “dentist office houston” phrase had ZERO searches last month.
Using the Google Keyword Selection Tool The Google Keyword Tool is probably the most important tool when it comes to choosing the best keywords for your website. The simple fact that Google dominates the search market, (because 8/10 searches are done using Google), means that this tool is pretty accurate at showing you how a large majority of people are using search. Here’s how to use it to get your best keywords. 1. Open the Google Keyword Tool in your browser 2. Type in a keyword you think you want one page of your website to be about 3. keep the "synonyms" box checked and click "Get Keyword Ideas" 4. View your keyword results The nice thing about this tool is that Google lists the search results for the specific keyword you entered at the top. Then underneath that, there is a list of many synonyms for that keyword. So if the keyword you typed in doesn’t have a lot of searches, you can see which ones do.
Other Keyword Selection Tools You may not want to rely completely on Google’s keyword selector tool, or maybe you just want to see how people are searching all over the web. In this case, you may want to look at another keyword selector tool called WordTracker. WordTracker compiles search results from Dogpile, which includes Yahoo, Bing, Google and other search engies. This gives you a different perspective on how people are using search across multiple search engines, and helps balance your research. You can use a limited version of WordTracker for free, or sign up for a seven day trial. After that, it’s $59/month. For most people, it’s not necessary, but this Keyword Selection discussino wouldn’t be complete without mentioning it. Good Keywords Website is another great FREE resource to refine your keyword selection.
More Search Isn’t Always Better As we stated before, choosing the best keywords for your website is really a combination of art and science. So it’s important to state that there are no hard set rules to choosing your keywords. When you look at the results from your keyword selector tool, you want to weigh the number of searches for a keyword against the competition you’ll likely encounter for that keyword. In short, more searches doesn’t mean a better keyword! If a keyword has 100,000 monthly searches, the competition for that keyword is probably fierce, and the chance of you ranking for it are far smaller than a keyword that is very specific and may only have a couple hundred to a few thousand searches monthly. Let’s look at an example of this in the next section: using long tail keywords.
Using Long Tail Keywords Let’s say we decide to use "best dentist" as our keyword choice for this page. But we might also wonder if there is a more specific way to state our topic that people also search for. So we might look at "choosing the best dentist" as a keyword to focus this article on. That search may not have hundreds of searches, but "choosing a dentist" does (as of the writing of this article anyway). If we title the page using this phrase, called a long tail keyword, then we narrow our focus, but keep the broader focus too, which is just "best dentist." In a sense, we’re covering our bases to include the short tail keyword within the long tail keyword. This maximizes our chances of being picked up for various searches people perform using these keywords. Using long tail keywords is beneficial because a smaller number of searches for these keywords also means less competition, which also means it’s easier for you to get a higher search engine ranking for these terms.
Too Much Competition or Not Enough Search Both extremes mean poor search results. When you do your research, remember that you don’t want keywords that no one searches, and you don’t want keywords that millions of people search. To improve your search engine ranking, you want to choose keywords that are in the middle–moderate search volume that suggests it’s worth your time investment to try to rank for those keywords, but not so much so that it will be impossible to rank for the keyword because of competition. In general, you may want to choose keywords that have at least a couple hundred search volume and 50,000 at most.
Common Mistakes When Making Your Keyword Selection There’s nothing worse than creating a web page around a keyword only to discover no one’s searching for that keyword. Here are some other mistakes people make when choosing keywords for their website and how to avoid them:
Not doing your research. You simply must check to make sure the keyword you think is the best keyword is actually the best keyword
Thinking more is better. More searches, like hundreds of thousands of searches, means more competition and a very small chance of getting ranked
Not using the long tail. Long tail keywords are actually keyword phrases that are very specific. For example, the phrase "dentist office providing top dentistry practice in houston" is longtail. The number of searches for this phrase is fewer than "dentistry practice in houston," but the people that find our client's dental practice in Houston using the long tail are more likely to engage for their services than if they find them through "dentist office," simply because people searching the term "dentist office" aren’t necessarily looking for a service, whereas people searching "dentist office providing top dentistry practice in houston" are, in most cases, looking for a very specific service in a very defined location.
Using Keywords that don’t accurately refelct the content. If you’re web page is about one topic, but you try to use keywords for another topic, the people that land on your page are going to know. And when they land on your page, they’re not going to stick around. And when that happens, Google’s gonna know. You can’t fake this, so make sure that if your page is a video tutorial on choosing the best keywords, for example, it had better have a video tutorial about that topic and the content should match too. Obviously a website ranking in the first page of Google for “dentist” is going to have much larger traffic volume, but a dentist ranking for that root keyword globally may have patient inquiries from Boston even though his practice is in Houston. A dentist may be able to claim “First Place Ranking” for “dentist office houston” but if no one is searching by that keyword phrase it has no value. Determining the most likely keyword phrases where you can economically afford to compete to drive the highest traffic is the real goal of Keyword Selection. Hope that helps lay a foundation, and please understand that there is TONS more detail underneath all this, so the importance of having a Strategic Keyword Selection process cannot be over emphasized.