Choosing the Best Keywords

Ah, the beauty of search marketing! What other marketing medium lets you get your ad in front of your potential customer at the precise moment they are looking for exactly what you sell? Of course, your success with search marketing hinges on your selection of the right keywords. Good keyword selection starts with a brainstorming session. Get together with your team and make a list of all the keywords and phrases that people might be searching for to find a business like yours. Try to include terms that people outside your industry would use. Take a look at your competitors’ websites to see what keywords they are targeting. Review their meta keywords, titles, and content on their websites to identify additional keywords to add to your list. Another great place to look for keywords is forums, blogs, industry sites, and Q&A sites like Yahoo Answers. What are the words people use to find the product or service you offer? Once you’ve built your list, use online keyword tools to see how often your keywords are searched on and refine your list. A few of these tools are Keyword Discovery, WordTracker, Google’s Keyword Tool, and Yahoo/Overture Keyword Inventory Tool. These tools will allow you to see how often your keywords are searched on and give you ideas for other keywords to consider.

It’s important to target keywords that are relevant to your business, but don’t sacrifice relevance for search popularity–I mean don’t forget about your most targeted keywords just because they aren’t as heavily searched. You want to use keywords that will drive traffic to your site AND increase sales. Once you identify the keywords that are most relevant to your website, you can use that list for search engine optimization, pay-per-click (PPC) keyword ads, and any other keyword advertising. After you start getting traffic for these keywords, spend some time reviewing your analytics reports. Monitor the keyword conversion report to see which keywords are generating sales. If you find certain keywords perform better than others, shift your focus to those keywords to achieve the best possible results. Over time you will fine-tune your keyword strategy to the point where you know exactly which keywords perform best and you will enjoy a steady flow of new business from the search engines.

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  1. dave says

    Good point, Jordan. Aaron’s got a lot of cool and useful tools including the keyword tool. I guess I left it off because it’s based on Overture, but you’re right the additional resources at the bottom of the tool are awesome and unique to that tool.

  2. Carlos Dominguez says

    Sometimes I’ve been problems with my clients about the kewords suggestions, because , they don’t understand why the keywords that they have choosen aren’t the correct.

  3. ryu says

    I notice that there is massive difference keyword volume of keyword discovery and wordtracker tools. Which one is reliable? I am a bit confused.


  4. Dave Bascom says

    @ryu – unfortunately, neither KD or WT have great data IMHO. They’re both pulling from relatively small data sources, so they don’t give an accurate picture of the real number of searches. I look at them more as a measure of relative search popularity. In terms of reliability, I like Keyword Discovery more than WordTracker, but honestly, I wouldn’t rely on a single source for your keyword data. Cross check a few different tools/databases, just to be sure you’re targeting the right keywords and you didn’t miss anything. Microsoft’s new keyword spreadsheet tool is pretty sweet, and Google’s tools can be very useful as well.

  5. Geld Lenen says

    @ ave,

    KD has great data, at least here for Europe. I don’t know which specific stuff you mean.

    I almost also always use several sources/tools and make my complete own (different) decisions.

  6. Doorlopend Krediet says

    I totally agree on the fact you mention, find a balance between generating much traffic and increasing sales with traffic. In the end, it’s all about conversion.

    One thing I almost ask myself: if I searched for this KW, would I possibly go for it? (i.e. buying the product or clicking the ad)

  7. Nelson Cintra says

    You mention that it’s about both traffic and sales. A social media strategist told me the other day that it’s no longer about ROI, but rather ROO – return on opportunity. Was he right?

  8. Jennifer Mojica says

    I find this article useful especially to newbie bloggers like me.
    Thank you for these awesome tips.

    @Jordan Kasteler

    ” In all the keyword research articles I’ve read, very few mention Aaron Wall’s SEObook keyword tool that is based off the Omniture tool but integrates other resources. It’s a very useful and free option.

    -I’ve read one article about this guy and I am still learning from his short interviews.

  9. Alex says

    Great post Dave! Thank you for the links to the keyword search tools. I am sure they will come in handy…

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