Keyword Selection: What makes a good keyword?

Search Engine OptimizationKeyword selection has become a popular topic for many webmasters entering the search engine optimization world.  With the stakes ever increasing, internet marketers must ensure keywords selected are relevant, and provide the organization a chance at being competitive in any niche.

To be blunt, there is no magic formula that will allow you to rank at the top of the SERPs overnight for your keywords.  It takes a long time to build strong organic rankings for relevant keywords and optimizing the wrong keywords means a waste of time and in most cases a considerable amount of cash!  Any SEO promising overnight number 1 or number 2 ranking is promising the near impossible or utilizing techniques that will end up getting the website eventually banned from the search indexes.

Paid search enables organizations to gather and test a variety of keywords and keyword phrases.  It is a much more difficult road for SEO keywords and keyword selection.

With many factors impacting search rankings, it becomes more difficult to rank and rank well for specific keywords.  It is important for webmasters and SEOs to examine the keywords being optimized with respect to several critical factors.

One factor to keep in mind when selecting keywords is the relative popularity of the keyword or keyword phrase being selected.  New SEOs generally make the mistake of optimizing keywords based entirely on search frequency.  While this may provide some indication as to the popularity of the keyword, it fails to capture the shear power of competition that may exist in the niche.

For example, if a site wishes to rank well for the term “debt consolidation”, the number 1 site in that niche has almost 140,000 indexed pages and over 140,000 inbound links.  Regardless of the efforts put into the SEO of a new site, it will be extremely difficult to compete with this site.

A second key factor to keep in mind is keyword relevance.  While it is true that a multitude of keywords can be used to attract traffic to any website.  It is important that web marketers understand that the goal of having a successful and profitable website involves more than attracting traffic.

Relevant keywords means more search engine traffic and will result in more conversions.  This in turn means higher revenue streams.  Because of this it is important the keywords selected are relevant to the niche.  As previously stated, optimizing for the wrong keywords is a critical mistake that will likely result in failure of the online venture.

For example, if a business ranks well for the key term “computer repair”, but is in the market of repairing only consumer electronics such as televisions, visitors will become an added statistic in your bounce rate.

The final factor that should be considered is the strength to compete in the selected niche for the chosen keywords and keyword phrases.  Well established websites will have a stronger position for relevant keywords in that niche.  Chances are it will have more inbound links, more pages indexed by the search engines and rank well for for all keywords, even related keywords and keyword phrases.

It may be better to target those keywords that are searched less frequently and are perhaps less popular than those used by the market leaders.  You may be able to select more keywords and dominate these search areas. 

While it will be true that the keywords may not be as profitable as the more competitive keywords, but it may be possible to make more money in the long run.

Regardless of the keywords that are selected, it is important that as part of an SEO, it is important that the keywords selected provide benefit.  It will take a much longer time to correct wrongly selected keywords than if time was spent to do it correct the first time.

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About Barry Wheeler

Barry Wheeler is a blogger, novice SEO, geek and passionate Newfoundlander. Operating several successful websites and online communities, Barry has started exploring the social internet and its impact on all facets of society including personal life and business relationships. Find Barry on Twitter @barrywheeler and FaceBook or on his website Barry Wheeler - Blogging for Success.
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