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How to Determine the Best Keywords for Your Site

Choosing what keywords to use when developing content can make or break your business

Keywords or key phrases are central to good content and search results.  In fact, proper selection of keywords is essential to planning content strategy, which precedes content creation and content marketing. In the absence of a properly chosen list of keywords to target, your content will meander across topics and you will be unable to draw up a tightly cohesive content marketing plan.

Ways and means of determining the best keywords for your site.

  • Begin by looking up keywords related to your niche. Once you have done that, find out where your business fits in. Do you offer leads, sell products, sell services locally, or your website is purely for the purpose of education and information.
  • Select keywords relevant to what you do. Before you do this it is a good practice to have a plan in place on how to proceed. The plan should cover the nature of content you want to put up and the social media channels you want to present on. Some keywords signal a strong purchasing intent, if you’re a seller you need to focus on these. For example, “novels by Agatha Christie” is a generic search term; “buy Agatha Christie novels online” signals intent. Similarly, “free download Agatha Christie” is what you should aim to rank for if your site offers PDF downloads or other downloadable media.
  • Use long tail keywords. 70% of the searches online feature long tail key phrases. With the advancement in the semantic search capabilities of search engines, long tail keywords have to be central to your keyword strategy. The most effective long tail keywords are those that are either unused or feature little competition. These are the ones you can rank for. For instance, “luxury car” would be a keyword if you are in the luxury car market.   A long tail keyword that will deliver customers to your door may be “best price on Mercedes convertible in CT”.
  • An excellent way to determine the keywords that will work for your site is to check out the terms your competitors are using. Pick up the first five results for your chosen keywords that appear on the SERPs. Go to the page, right click and click on page source. Take a look at the Meta keywords. These are the ones that you should consider incorporating into your content.
  • Look up latent semantic indexing (LSI) terms. LSI’s are related terms, and phrases similar to your keywords.  You should feature these in your content; they enable search engines to assess how relevant your content is to your niche. These keywords push your main keywords up the search results.
  • Keep an eye on trending keywords. Both Google and Yahoo display topical trends. If the subject trending is relevant to your niche and you can weave content around it, be sure to do so. This is particular relevant to the content you may want to share via social media.
  • If you’re planning on using PPC for traffic then you can actually run a short campaign to see how your chosen keywords are performing. You can use the results to fine-tune your choice of keywords and also your content. This will save you time, effort, and money in the long run.
  • There are a number of free and online keyword research tools available. Ubersuggest.org is a wonderful free tool that allows you to look up long tail keywords. Continuous refinement is the name of the game. If your Analytics account is hooked into Webmaster Tools you can check performances in terms of traffic generating keywords, profitable keywords, easy to rank for keywords, etc.

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