guest post by Nick Stamoulis
Most website owners realize the importance of targeting multiple keywords on their site and with their overall SEO program. It's too risky betting your entire online business on one or two keywords, so long-tail variations become just as important as your broader, high-level keywords.
Best practice dictates that sites target 2-5 keywords per page of content.
Depending on how large your website is, that could mean hundreds (or even thousands) of keywords that you need to focus your SEO efforts on.
Obviously it's impossible to target all of that at once, so how do you go about prioritizing those keywords? How do you determine which keywords should get your attention and SEO efforts first?
1. Determine which keywords are the most profitable for the company.
What products are the bread and butter of your business? These might be your top sellers or those with the highest profit margin. You might already be doing fairly well for keywords related to these products in the SERPs, but unless you're ranked number one (and 2-10 for that matter) there is still more work to be done (and there are always competitors to be watching out for).
Determining which keywords are the most profitable is especially important for an e-commerce site that sells hundreds of different products, or a large, global enterprise that operates in multiple niches. Unless you have a team of SEO specialists dedicated to each product line, chances are some important products are going to get put on the SEO backburner.
Starting with your most profitable keywords is usually a good idea because it helps provide tangible, numerical value to your SEO efforts (always a good thing!).
It is important to factor your sales cycle into the SEO process as well. If your typical sales cycle is 6 months long it's not fair to your SEO program to say it's not working after three months and pull the plug. You have to give your efforts around your top keywords the chance to settle and mature online.
Remember, just because your actions are immediate that doesn't mean SEO happens overnight. It takes time to gain momentum, especially when your most profitable keywords are someone else's most profitable keywords; heavy competition can slow the process even more.
2. Identify any "low hanging fruit" keywords.
"Low hanging fruit" keywords are the ones that might already be driving a small amount of traffic to your site, but you feel like there is room for growth. Maybe you're ranking on the bottom of page 1 or the top of page 2—it's pretty good but it could be better.
These keywords are typically long-tail variations of your priority keywords, and even though they may generate less search volume overall that doesn't make them any less valuable.
These "low hanging fruit" keywords provide you with the means and opportunity to make some positive moves forward, without having to start from scratch. Your site is already pulling traffic for a keyword.
Let's say "blue widgets," which means the search spiders recognize the value of your site for that and related searches, even if your priority keyword is simply "widget." Chances are, with a little extra content and SEO work focused around "blue widgets" you could pull even more visitors and jump a few spots in the SERPs. Those small wins can have a big impact on your bottom line.
3. Keep in mind any keywords with a lot of potential.
It's important to remember that industry terminology and searcher behavior changes with time.
"Blue widgets" might be an immensely popular search term right now, but in your analytics reports you've noticed a growing trend of people searching for "aqua widgets" from month to month.
"Aqua widgets" might be a valuable keyword to incorporate into your SEO and content marketing efforts because that is where your market is heading.
If you can get in ahead of the game chances are there are fewer competitors and you'll be able to carve a niche for yourself as the undisputed leader of "aqua widgets" retailers.
By staying aware of keywords that have a lot of potential for your company you'll be in a better position to lead to pack as opposed to trying to just keep up, or worse, be two paces behind.
It's important to remember that SEO is a long-term process and success has to be earned. Just because you decide that a certain keyword is what your website SHOULD be ranking well for, that doesn't mean the search engines have to comply! Without great content backing them up, none of your keywords are going to do as well as you want/expect them to.
About the Author
Nick Stamoulis is the President of Boston Massachusetts SEO firm Brick Marketing. With over 12 years of industry experience, Nick Stamoulis shares his SEO knowledge by writing for the Brick Marketing Blog, publishing the Brick Marketing SEO Newsletter and organizing all day SEO workshops in various US cities.
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