One of the best ways to grow a business is through search engine optimization (SEO), the process of making changes to increase a website’s likelihood of being ranked for relevant searches within Google and other search engines.
Keywords are a critical component of the strategy; optimizing your site for specific ones gives you the power to control which searches you rank for (and therefore who your target audience is). Accordingly, adjusting your keyword distribution gives you power to change your campaign over time.
To be successful, you need to start by picking the right keywords. Over time, you’ll gather data that helps you determine which of your keywords are most successful, and which ones need more work -- but how do you pick the right initial set of keywords?
Set and understand your overall goals.
Before you decide which keywords are right for your brand, spend some time thinking about what your SEO goals are. Most companies use SEO to increase website traffic, which in turn, increases revenue, but you’ll need to be more specific than that.
Decide on a blend of head and long-tail keywords.
Once you know your goals, you should be able at least to decide on a balance between “head” keywords and “long-tail” keywords. Head keywords are short phrases, usually one-to-three words, associated with higher traffic but also higher competition.
Long-tail keywords are longer, usually conversational phrases that have lower traffic but lower competition. Head keywords are better for long-term, traffic-centric strategies, while long-tail keywords are better for short-term, fast results-centric strategies. You’ll need both, in some combination, for the best overall results.
Conduct your preliminary research.
Once you have those goals and that initial vision in mind, you can work on your preliminary research:
Your first blend of keywords isn’t going to be perfect, but it will give you a solid baseline you can use to improve your level of traffic even further. Pay close attention to how your results develop over time, and don’t be afraid to make changes when you need to.