I was speaking at an SEO and marketing event the other day in Connecticut and there were a lot of questions from the audience about the keyword research stage of SEO. As a result, I thought it might be a good idea to add this blog post because if you optimize for the wrong keywords, you’re going to get the wrong results.
SEO must always begin with mapping out the URLs you are optimizing with the corresponding keywords. You should look to optimize for about 3 keywords per URL. Sometimes 2 is a better fit and sometimes you can get away with 4.
There are a ton of keyword tools out there to help you with your research. Some free, some paid. Just do a Google search for a keyword research tool and see which one works best for you.
So what you do is, per URL, write down what you think people would search for in Google to find that particular page. Do this for all your URLs. And then use these keywords as a starting point in your research. You’ll be amazed at what you think people are searching for versus what they are actually searching for. And all keyword tools will also make keyword recommendations based on your initial input.
So what are you looking for in a keyword?
Targeted – the keyword must be obviously targeted to the URL you are optimizing. If someone searched for the keyword and found your page, would it be a good fit?
Not Competitive – do you have a huge marketing budget? Probably not. So don’t go after super competitive keywords because it will take a lot of money (and time) to compete.
Search Volume – the keyword must have search volume, meaning it actually gets searched for. The specific search volume you look for will vary based on your niche and business.
Cost Per Click – this isn’t a must, but a good thing to look for. Most keyword tools will tell you what the average cost per click is for a particular keyword in pay per click. Now SEO is the opposite of pay per click, but the idea is, if advertisers are paying good money — say more than $1 per click — then you have to assume the keyword is valuable.
So this is effective keyword research in a nutshell. Don’t skip this step in SEO. We do keyword research every time for every client because it’s super crucial.