Every SEO campaign begins with well-thought-out keyword research analysis. Focus on wrong keywords and it may take several months to get back on track, leave alone the Herculean task of re-optimising hundreds of wrongly-optimised pages. So how do you zero-in on the right keywords or keyword-combinations?
Although there are lots of free keyword-research tools available on the Internet, they merely present the outline of what you are really looking for. If you don’t take your SEO efforts seriously, then you can use the free tools to research your keywords, and if you take your SEO efforts seriously you either use profession keyword-research tools, or you hire the experts.
But what if you really want to do your own keyword-research? They are definitely some good ways of doing it.
Target “Long Tail” keywords
“Long tail keywords” is the buzz word these days. It means instead of targeting specific keywords, you target group of words that your customers may use to look for your services on a search engine. So if you are a web designer, along with targeting this highly competitive word, you may also target long tail expressions like “web designer for hotel website” or “web designer for hospital website”. Getting on the first page of Google for “web designer” is extremely difficulty, but you can, with some effort, surely get good rankings for “web designer for hospital website” and “web designer for hotel website”.
Create different pages for different keywords
It seems more work but it has greater benefits. Optimising a page for say 10 keywords is a highly difficult task to achieve even for a veteran SEO expert. Let different pages focus on sets of 2-3 keywords; this not only narrows and focuses your efforts, it also helps you to re-orient the page in case by mistake you chose wrong keywords. It also sends a strong message to the search engines that you have targeted content pages on your website.
Do country-specific research
If you want to get business from various countries you’ll need to figure out what keywords they use and then optimise your website for those keywords. For instance, some people call a jam-filled doughnut “jellied doughnut” and some call it “jam buster”. Similarly, it’s garbage in Canada, trash in the USA and rubbish in the UK. People from different geographical regions use different terms and phrases to search for the same thing. Try to keep such things in mind while optimising for international visitors.
Double check the keywords by actually searching the phrases in the country-specific search engines just to make sure they bring up the right links.
Do your keyword research on an ongoing basis
Trends keep changing, and new competitor pop up almost everyday. Don’t feel smug and think your keyword SEO is over once you have reached the first page. You need to keep a constant vigil. Keep researching for new keywords and key expressions people are using to find your website, and then optimise your pages for those terms. Keep re-tweaking your pages to sustain your position.