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How to Choose Keywords for SEO

Posted: Monday, May 30, 2011

The first step in SEO is identifying your target keywords. Although this may sound like a simple task, it really should not be taken lightly. You want to select the right keywords to target, and to do so, you must take into account two critical things in your analysis: 1) popularity of the keyword, and 2) the competition for the keyword.

Popularity of the keyword: Your list of target keywords should consist of only keywords that users will be searching. For example, if you own a bakery, it would make more sense to target “bakery nyc” than “bakery new york city.” Chances are that most people will not bother typing out “new york city” and will instead use the abbreviation. If you build links around a keyword/key phrase that no one uses, then you are wasting your web marketing efforts.

A common SEO mistake people make is to use their company’s name as a target keyword. However, there is no need to target your company’s name as a keyword. To illustrate why, let’s go back to the bakery example. Say the bakery’s name is called Sugary Smiles. A business practicing flawed internet marketing techniques would make sure that their company’s website is ranked #1 on the results page when people type in “sugary smiles” into search engines. The problem with this is that it is only useful for attracting people who already know about your company, but it isolates an entirely untapped channel of potential clients who don’t know the name of your company. After all, the likelihood that someone looking for a bakery in NYC will type “sugary smiles” into the search engine is essentially null. When creating a list of target keywords, you have to get into the mindset of your user. It’s not about what keywords you would search to find your company, but rather, it’s about what keywords the potential client will be searching that will lead them to your website.

In our next blog post, we’ll discuss the second criterion for selecting the best SEO keywords.


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