As a part of the SEO process, we must come up with list of targeted search phrases that do the following:
1. Describe exactly what your business does. If you are a shoe store in Greensboro that focuses on ladies shoes, then one if not our primary search phrase should be ‘Ladies Shoes Greensboro’. Other combinations include ‘Greensboro ladies shoes’, or ‘Ladies Shoes Store Greensboro’.
2. Not generalized, but targeted phrases. Never just focus on ‘Shoes’. It is way too competitive, it includes variations that does not include your specialty (men’s shoes) AND no one is simply going to search for ‘shoes’.
3. Start w/ 12-15 phrases. Ideally these should be 2-3 word phrases, as this is generally the length of most people’s searches. If you have a large online store with many products, yes, your product pages should be very specific – ‘Raebok Crossfit Ladies Running Shoes’. These are called ‘long tail search phrases’ and should be used if you have a large product driven online store.
4. Include your location. If your service related business includes various locations, you should absolutely include your cities / towns in your list of targeted phrases. ‘Landscaping Services Greensboro’, ‘Landscaping Services Raleigh’, ‘Durham Landscaping Services’ would be ideal. Be careful as to which cities / towns / locations / regions you select. Locations that are based on regional names generally do not get as many searches as do cities. For example here in NC, we have the ‘Triad’ area (Greensboro, High Point & Winston-Salem) … we have the ‘Triangle’ (Raleigh, Durham & Chapel Hill). The use of specific cities in searches will generally provide more traffic than regional searches … In other words, ‘Greensboro Landscaping Services’ will have MANY more searches than ‘Triad Landscaping Services’, therefore provide much more traffic for your site.
5. Use online keyword tools for keyword research. There are many tools that are free, some cost a bit. WordStream (http://www.wordstream.com/free-keyword-tools) or LSI (http://lsigraph.com/) and Google’s Keyword Planner? (https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner) are terrific tools. A Google spokesperson has confirmed that users do NOT have to have an active campaign to use Keyword Planner, but things change at Google all of the time.
6. Consider traffic and competitiveness in your keyword selection process. Ideally you want to select search phrases that bring in large numbers of visitors AND are not very competitive. This is the most challenging part of the keyword search process.
7. Study your competitors search phrases. Take the time to research the phrases that your competitors are utilizing. There are online tools, but the easiest way, is to ‘right-click / view source’ and see your competitors META info.
8. Use 1-2 of these targeted search phrases per page. Make sure these are closely related and used throughout your content in a natural manner, not stuffed all over the entire page. Google looks for a natural flow to the way words / phrases are used in web content.
Start by having your client brainstorm and come up with 12-15 phrases that include items 1-4 above. Items 5-7 above are generally geared towards the SEO professional. SEO professionals should know the KW tools, keyword selection and the use these phrases onsite, but the client will help the process out by starting with 1-4 above. Use their expertise of their own business … You do the refinement in selecting the very best TARGETED SEARCH PHRASES!