What Are Keywords?
Keywords are phrases you want your website to found under. Often corporate environments have a culture where people refer to their products using special phrases. Choosing the right keywords is not what you call your products/services. Keywords are what you think your target audience may type into a search box in Google or Yahoo search.
Keyword phrases are typically two to five word phrases you expect people to search for to find your website. What would you expect your customer or prospect to type into the Search Box on a search site to find your website? What type of problems or issues does your product or service solve? The answers to these questions are likely good candidates for keywords.
A longer search phrase indicates better targeting and increased consumer desire. People that use the shorter keyword searches are typically window shoppers (so to speak). People that use longer keyword searches are more focused and typically ready to buy. The more descriptive and specific your keywords are the more targeted your visitors will be.
If there is a lot of competition for your selected keywords, you may have a harder time getting high ranking in search engine results pages (SERP). A longer phrase will most likely have less competition.
Determining how competitive your keywords are can be accomplished using various tools. The simplest tool to use would be Google. Once you have come up with several keyword phrases, enter each one into Google to see how many pages your search results return. You can see that at the top of the page. I entered in the phrase "massage therapy" (without the quotes) and Google came back and indicated "Results 1 - 10 of about 10,200,000 for massage therapy" . Now, that's a lot of competition. When I enter "Hot Rocks Massage Therapy", I get a mere 2,110,000 results back. A lot less competition, yet still formidable. I'm not saying that you should stay away from these keywords, you should start with keywords that have less competition for which you know your target audience are looking.
Keyword Suggestion Tools
There are a couple of good keyword suggestion tools available. I personally use wordtracker (http://www.wordtracker.com) to analyze and suggest keyword phrases that have lower levels of competition. Wordtracker tells you how many times a search phrase has been searched in the past sixty days, gives you an estimate of the competition on the major search engines and also ranks them by a special indicator called a KEI. This KEI is a very important indicator. The higher the KEI, the more likely you are to get searched for you chosen keywords. However, the first thing I look at is whether or not the selected keyword phrases are even searched. I recently entered a search phrase that a friend of mine thought would be a good search phrase. It did not return any results. My advice, If nobody is looking for your search phrase, choose another search phrase.
Getting the Right Mix
After you have selected the keywords that are optimum for your website, the next steps are Page Optimization and Inbound Linking. These three factors are a very critical part of your Internet Marketing strategy.
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