Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Keyword Research : : An effective tool for Search Engine Optimization

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword Research can be defined as choosing the words, which describe your product or service as, seen from the viewpoint of your target market is the most important step in the optimisation process.
Keyword Research is the process of defining the right mix of keywords, which are most likely to be used by potential customers at search engines and directories.

This Keyword research consists of a variety of inputs, both qualitative and quantitative, both creative and analytical. Keyword Research plays a crucial role in assuring that your prospective customers will find you when they are looking for your specific products and services.

Top Tips for Effective Keyword Research

Tip 1 - Start with a goal in mind

As with all marketing efforts you should have a goal for what you are trying to achieve. Whether it is to increase sales, gain newsletter subscribers, or get new prospect leads, this goal will help to set priorities keyword phrase selection and impact the overall success of your Search Engine Optimization efforts. Take the time to discuss and establish goals and priorities at the start.

Tip 2 - Think like a Prospective Customer

When it comes to search sites, it is the prospective customer who initiates the dialog (query) so it is important that you select keyword phrases that reflect what a prospective customer will enter in at the search site. Users often enter phrases are the legal or proper terms for a product or service, and sometimes the phrases they enter may be totally outside industry jargon. In either case, be sure to select keywords that are naturally intuitive to the customer.

Tip 3 - Brainstorm

Brainstorming is a great way to start generating a list of possible keyword phrases. The brainstorming group should include those with direct customer access (sales reps, customer support representatives, product/content experts, and marketing - do not forget to review your own log files for additional data). Try to generate as many words as possible and then narrow your list quantitatively using industry tools and qualitatively using your industry knowledge. When you brainstorm, remember to step out of yourself and into the mindset of the prospective customer.

Tip 4 - Check your Content for Keywords

If the Keywords you optimize for are not used within the copy of your site, you will not be able to get rankings for those terms. Once you have established a list of keywords, review your site. Be prepared to add new content to your site that can be optimized to support the new mix of Keywords.

Tip 5 - Goal is Conversions not Traffic

The goal of Search Engine Optimization, and your keyword research, is not to just get traffic, but to get valuable, 'qualified' traffic that can lead to actual conversions. You will find the different keyword phrases have a large difference in conversion rates and value for your site. Do not forget that increased revenues will be the ultimate measure of your success.

Tip 6 - Avoid short, common phrases

Short phrases (1 or 2 words) that are also common phrases can be too general and are not the best to optimize for. Common phrases can lead to a large portion of the traffic that is searching on similar terms but not looking for your product or service. The amount of time and effort needed to gain valuable rankings and traffic for those phrases will also be much greater than the time required for more targeted keyword phrases. Targeted keyword phrases may generate slightly less overall traffic, but with targeted keywords you will achieve 'qualified' traffic - leading to increased revenues.

Tip 7 - Keyword Research is an ongoing process

Keyword research is a continuous process. Whatever you do, do not stop. As your SEO program progresses, examine what words perform best, enhance your keyword list based on what you learn, go back and review old keyword ideas against current data and usage trends, and continue to review your site content for synergy with your keyword list. Ongoing keyword/Keyword research will uncover new keyword phrases, while keeping you abreast of your competition, and shifts in the search site industry.

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