DIY SEO #12: Choosing Your Target Keywords

Choose Your KeywordsAs I mentioned in step 11, your keyword choice is one of the most important things you’ll do in the SEO process and can determine the outcome of your SEO campaign before you even start optimizing anything.  Now it’s time to pick the right keywords.

In the first eleven steps we gathered lots of information and made decisions about strategies.  All of this information and all these decisions can now guide us as we choose which keywords we are going to target on which pages.  So, open up your spreadsheets and keep those decisions in mind and let’s pick out some keywords.

1. Make a list of the pages of your website which you want to optimize.
Any page that makes sense to optimize will be included in this list.  Pages like your privacy policy or any other page you don’t want indexed or optimized will not be on this list.

  • Tip 1: Go ahead and make a full list.  You could just make a list of the pages you plan to optimize first, but I find it usually works out better to make a full list.  That way you can have the keyword plan for the entire site completed and know that you’ve targeted every keyword you wanted to target.  If you do a few pages at a time, you may find later that you either have missed a few keywords and don’t have the relevant pages remaining to target them or you choose a keyword for one page and then found another page which would have been more relevant.  By making a full list, you avoid those issues.
  • Tip 2: If you have sections of your website which deal with different niches, then you can do each section at a time.

2. Select your keywords.
Starting with your strongest pages, choose the keywords for each page according to your keyword plan.

  • Tip 3: Always select to target keywords on pages with relevant content.  We aren’t just optimizing any old page for any keyword.  The page needs to be relevant to the keyword both because you are going to need to use the keyword in the content of the page in a way that makes sense and because if a visitor searches for a keyword, clicks on your listing, and then finds completely irrelevant content, they will leave immediately and it did you no good.
  • Tip 4: The more keywords you target on a single page, the less effective the SEO will be.  So, limit the number of keywords to at most five.  Two or Three keywords is better and, if you have enough pages, just one keyword per page is best.
  • Tip 5: Select keywords which you believe will be your best converting keywords for relevant pages with a call to action.  If the phrasing of the keyword indicates the visitor is likely to convert or your analytics has shown to be a high converting keyword, select that keyword for a sales page.  For keywords which are less likely to convert (maybe the visitor is just at the stage where they are looking for info), choose your informational pages.

Run out of pages?
Some sites have lots of pages with tons of content and will have no problem finding a page for every keyword.  Other sites have very few pages, limiting how many keywords you can target on the site.  If you find yourself in the situation where you don’t have enough pages to target all the keywords you would like, there is a solution.  Create more pages.   It’s usually good to have lots of good content on your site anyway.  I’ll discuss more about creating new pages in a later step.  So, for now, if you run out of pages and have more keywords you want to target just put the list of additional keywords you want to target in a file for later.

Additional Notes and Tips:

Today’s Tasks

  • Create a list of all the pages you want to optimize.
  • Select the keywords you are going to target for each page.

Do you have any questions about which keywords to target?

DIY SEO #11: Choosing Your Keyword Strategy <- DIY SEO: Main -> DIY SEO 13: Optimizing Your Web Pages

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