Many webmasters start off their SEO campaigns with link building, acquiring links from directories, article directories, and other websites. The flaw with this approach is – it is like building walls and floors without a proper foundation.
For starters, “Keyword Research” is the process of identifying the keywords for which one should optimize the website. A vast majority of the marketers go by instinct, or choose relevant keywords at random. Now what’s wrong with this?
1. First mistake is with the number of keywords chosen. Choose a limited number of keywords to promote your webpage. The smaller your keyword list is, the more focused (and hence stronger) will be your SEO efforts. A lot of marketers choose a big list of keywords – like 15+ keywords for a page which is bound to fail in most cases. It is advisable to keep the number of keywords to about 5 – 10.
2. Choose the keywords than can bring in traffic. What is the point in optimizing your site for keywords that can’t bring in traffic? For example, let us assume that you optimize your site for keyword “cancer treatment” for a website on which you provide information on cancer. However, your customers actually search for “cancer therapy”, then you probably don’t get visitors!
Again, choosing highly competitive keywords won’t help. For example, there are hundreds of websites including big players like Amazon, NewEgg etc trying to sell iPhones online and they’re competing for the keyword “buy iphone”. Well competing with the big-shots would be expensive and wouldn’t yield much fruit. It is wiser to go for moderately competitive keywords. Here, I’d like to bring a term I discussed in my earlier post : KEI – Keyword Effectiveness Index. KEI is a measure of the attractiveness of a keyword. Higher the KEI, more attractive is the keyword to optimize. KEI is essentially the ratio of number of searches on the keyword per month to the number of search results on Google (assumed to be the competition).
KEI’s effectiveness in measuring the effectiveness of a keyword is debatable – I’ll discuss that in one of my later posts.
3. Finally, the selling potential of the keywords. If your goal is to simply drive traffic to your website, then this isn’t applicable. But if you’re trying to sell something, or get registrations this is an important factor. Let us assume that you’re trying to sell iPhones. But if you promote using keywords like “free iphone” you will get traffic (visitors) but the visitors wouldn’t really buy on your website – because they’re looking for a free iPhone! This case is pretty obvious, but may not be the same always. Tracking CPC (cost per conversion) is essential.
Whether you put your efforts on link building & other aspects of SEO or not – Keyword Research must be done!