Chattanooga Web Design & SEO Company

SEO Tip: Keyword Strategy for Search Engine Optimization

The foundation for any search engine optimization strategy is developing a list of relevant keywords or relevant keyword phrases that searchers type into search engines to find a Web site like yours. Not all keywords are created equal, so we need to set some criteria for the types of keywords that we want to target in a SEO campaign.

Our keyword criteria might look something like this:

  • Keywords must be relevant to product or service. It doesn’t help you to be bringing in traffic from people looking for widgets if you are selling gadgets.
  • Keywords shouldn’t be generic or too broad in meaning. Not only are generic keywords highly completive, but are less likely to produce any action from the searcher. For example let’s pretend you are a heavy equipment retailer:  A top ranking for “farming” will not likely generate any business, but a top ranking for “farm tractor” would more likely get your phone ringing. Even better would be “farm tractor in Chattanooga”, assuming your equipment business is located in Chattanooga, TN.

Now that we have set some basic criteria for our keywords, we need to determine what the keywords are. The first step is to do a bit of brainstorming. Ask yourself how you would search for products and services like yours. Ask your friends and family members. Ask yourself what kind of problems people are trying to solve who might need a company like yours. Another good way is to look at sites that you might be competing with and try to understand keywords they are targeting.

There are tools online and software packages that can help you. Google might have the best free tools, but sites like Word Tracker can be helpful too. I don’t recommend many software packages, because they can lead you down the wrong path. The best resource you have is your understanding of your products, services and company while anticipating and understanding your consumers.

For this exercise, we will use Google’s Keyword Tool. After you have brain stormed your keywords, you should enter them into the Google Keyword Tool. Google will spit out a list of keywords with numbers for “Local Search Volume” and “Global Search Volume”. You should remove any columns that aren’t relevant. Once you have your list, export it as a CSV file for importation into your favorite spreadsheet program.

Once you have your spreadsheet, you’ll want to remove any keywords that aren’t relevant to keep your spreadsheet lean and mean. Now we will have to gather additional information to determine what our best keywords are. What we are looking for is the most popular and relevant keywords with the least amount of competition. You could be surprised by the relevant keywords that are overlooked by your competition.

To determine the competitive nature of your keywords, you will need to use Google. We’ll use the keyword “farm tractor”. Search this term without the quotes. We are looking for some particular information here. You’ll notice that Google displays something like this on the right side above the results, “Results 110 of about 1,850,000 for farm tractor.” The number 1,850,000 is what we are looking for, but don’t be too concerned with how large this number appears. This number represents how many pages “farm tractor” appears on.

We really want to know how many pages we are competing with. To determine this, we’ll add an operator to our search like this “allintitle: farm tractor”.  Now we see something like this: “Results 110 of about 822,000 for allintitle: farm tractor.” This tells us how many pages have “farm tractor” in the title.  This number looks more reasonable. The title is a key SEO element that helps determine search engine ranking. Now we add the number 822,000 to a new column in our spreadsheet. Repeat this for all your keywords.

Once you have completed the list you’ll have a good understanding of the keywords that you should target in your SEO campaign. What you are looking for is keywords that have a high “Global Search Volume” and a low “allintitle” value.

Following these concepts, while somewhat simplified, will give you a head start on your SEO campaign and your competition. This list of keywords will now help you determine the content and menu structure for your site, because now you know the best way to reach your customers.

Category : SEO Tips | Filed Under: > > >

29 Responses to “SEO Tip: Developing a Keyword Strategy for Search Engine Optimization”

Josiah@free ipad April 8, 2010

These days, every website or blog needs to know the basics of SEO. If everyone with a website would read this post, we would all have a lot more competition hah.

I don’t really practice looking for the number of pages with my keyword in the title. Before i decide on a site, i go to the first page and check out the top 10 sites SEO for my keyword. After all, i will be competing with them, not everyone with my keyword in their page title.

You are definitely right about drilling down keywords, general terms may get a lot of searches but they are a heck of a lot harder to rank high for and often don’t convert nearly as well.. Thanks for the post!

Hey, thanks for the “allintitle” tip! This is really good! In the past I’ve only ever searched google to check for competition using the keyword in quotes – ie “farm tractor” – I think the allintitle gives a better guide…

Thanks for the tips on keywords. I do like Google’s keyword tool as well, it gives you an incredible amount of information about keywords that you need to maximize your site’s serp.

Web Design April 19, 2010

Definitely worth a bookmark, great post. There are a lot of niche keywords out there that could do the trick when setting up a new website based on those, and strategy is the first thing someone must do before jumping into next phase.


Francis@Esop April 26, 2010

Very nice, I never thought that keywords on your landing page can really help boost your website. The first website that I have created has a very weak keywords. I only manage to improve it via off page SEO.

Ben April 27, 2010

Keyword optimization. Thats the term you have described beautifully. This is the first step of the entire SEO process and if done wrong, everything will turn out wrongly. People just go behind competitive phrases just by seeing the enormous traffic they receive through search engines. But the fact is that one should look for what actually the world is searching for. For that google adwords tool is extremely helpful. If you choose wise words all the traffic will definitely get converted into sales. I guess this post should be tweeted. Its quite simple and easy to understand and I am sure newbies will reap great benefits from this.

I have always used Google’s Keyword Tool to help build and then narrow down lists but I haven’t come across the “allintitle:” operator. Thanks for this tip I will try it out on a few clients and look at how it would work in our optimisation processes.

I also use Google Keyword Tool. I like the season trends tool that is included. I do check the top rankings that I will be competiting with but I also want a yearly traffic plan for my niche or keyword.

When I am completing my keyword research I always include the seasonal trends in my research

Hem … no wonder it is hard to sell. It is because my keyword to generic so targeted traffic is hard to target. Thanks for bring it up.

Elise June 10, 2010

Great article, it is so necessary in the business/marketing world today to understand the tricks of the trade in the FREE marketing of the internet. think internet marketing is basically the future marketing and SEO and keywords, etc will be terms we use on an everyday basis in the marketing world. Thanks!

Rysk@Dating Reviews July 10, 2010

Keyword research should be done in conjunction witha market analysis of the Google competition for that KW. Allintitle is a good indicator as is allinanchor. These two terms will give a general overview as to how competitive the KW is, but then you need to go further by looking at the top ten sites for that KW. If all the sites are authority sites, have zillions of backlinks and/or old domains then move on.

webhosting geek July 25, 2010

I think that these days it is sometimes better to go for the least popular keywords…especially if you are only starting out and can’t afford to invest in trying to rank for the top KW’s.

Erik Doel July 26, 2010

I have been just analyzing your post it’s very well crafted, I’m exploring on the internet looking for exactly how to begin this weblog thing and your site definitely is quite impressive.

IxDchiCA July 28, 2010

What luck today – I found this great post and this other one on about seo-freindly strategies for blogs. It was good to see that you both have very similar ideas about starting the process with keywords. I will have to do more research about how to make keywords relevant to my designs. Thank you.

neil@one way links July 30, 2010

“Keywords must be relevant to product or service. It doesn’t help you to be bringing in traffic from people looking for widgets if you are selling gadgets.” spot on! without this keywords are pretty much a waste of time

You would think that anything in Chattanooga would rate fairly high, especially if there was only one place selling farm equipment. Therefore narrowing down any service to a particular area is always a good idea.

Homepage Programmierer August 18, 2010

Really important to find “something like” the right phrases at the beginning, google analytics also helps again and again to optimize them steadily – after you see through which optimized keywords the traffic is coming in

Ed@SEO Keywords August 26, 2010

If I may just add my own keyword research technique. I also look at the PR of the sites that are in the Top 10 of Google. A lot says PR doesn’t really matter. But it helps me to determine the competitiveness of a keyword. What I do is I take the average PR of the Top 10 sites. If it’s 3 or below, I take it as a low-competition keyword, 3-3.5 is average, 4 and beyond is highly competitive. Also, if there a PR 0 site in the Top 10, there’s a greater chance of beating the competition.
Ed@SEO Keywords recently posted..SEO Keyword Optimization- The Importance Of Choosing the Right Keywords

miracleman12 September 3, 2010

Very good point you have here.

Gennaro October 10, 2010

Agree with your point about the importance of the title. Think it will become even more important with Google Instant. The right first few word of the title become essential with Instant.
Gennaro recently posted..Best NFL Stadiums to Visit

Tom Howlett January 17, 2011

Keyword research is really powerful. The problem occurs when you have to figure out whether the keyword targeted is achievable or not. At the end of the day the keywords must be relevant to the products/services offered, and sometimes there isn’t a huge amount of choice.

Kirsty@shopping cart March 12, 2011

Using the right keyword for your site is very important, it must be relevant to your products and services. Plus don’t forget that the keywords chosen must have a big amount of searches than the number of competitors that also aiming to rank on the same keywords.
Kirsty@shopping cart recently posted..XCart Review

Bill@TheAdsenseRecipe March 18, 2011

Keywords are without a doubt the number one most important thing to get right. If your aren’t correct, good luck ever getting someone to your site!
Bill@TheAdsenseRecipe recently posted..AdSense Recipe Review

Definitely some good advice in this article…Google Keyword tool is invaluable. However I’d like to add one thing that I’ve learned: While the amount (number of pages with your keyword) of competition is something to consider, I believe it is far more important to determine the STRENGTH of your competition. Before making a final decision on a target keyword, find out who’s in the top 10 of the Google SERP. For each of those results, use Yahoo Site Explorer or something similar to get an idea of how many backlinks your competitors have and THEN make your decision to go ahead with your chosen keyword.

keyword research is an often overlooked part of SEO, done correctly it makesa huge difference to actual results – sometimes even without any other SEO at all!!!

Dont bother checking number of competitors, just check out the top 10 – thats who you are competing against

Jimmy July 10, 2011

Great Post! What do you think about link structuring for blogs and how dates play a factor?


miracleman12 July 25, 2011

I think a lot about link structuring. I should write an article about this soon.

Jay@Freelance Designer January 19, 2012

Currently just doing my strategy for my chosen keywords. Great post for reference.

Its a laborious task but done right in the long term can save you so much heartache.

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