The best search engine optimization advice I can give to anyone starting to market online is to rank your potential keywords based on profitability. To do this you must know which keywords will get you on the first page of the search results first, so that you can generate web site traffic fast! You can do this by gathering a little data about each of your potential keywords and apply the information that I show you in this article.
To generate web site traffic you don’t need a huge list of keywords, you just need a few good ones. If you are already using some keywords test them first to see if you should continue to use them.
The data that you need for ranking your keywords are:
1) the number of exact phrase match web pages (keyword competition)
2) the average amount of traffic for each keyword phrase (search volume)
All of this keyword competition and search volume data can be found for free. Put quotation marks around your keyword phrase and run a Google search. The number of pages in the upper right of the results is your keyword competition.
To get the search volume use either the Google Adwords keyword tool or Traffic-Travis, which is a desktop application and is a free download. The Google keyword tool will give you searches per month, and T-T will give you searches per day.
Put this data in a spreadsheet across from each keyword in a separate column. From here you simply need to sort the data correctly according to a couple of guidelines. But before you can do that you must know how those guidelines apply to your keywords traffic pulling power, or profitability.
The first metric is the Google search volume. When you put quotation marks around your keyword phrase and Google it you will get only the results, or pages, that have those words of the phrase in that exact order. This is a good indication of your ‘true’ competition.
The second metric is search volume and you can find this easily by using one of the two above mentioned tools. (Just Google them to find the websites.)
The guidelines for narrowing down your list are as follows:
• Google phrase match search results under 10,000 for keywords indicate a quick first page ranking (with proper optimization strategy)
• Keywords with search volumes of at least 1000 per month, or 35 per day, can generate enough web site traffic to optimize for.
Basically you can order your words in the spreadsheet according to the above metrics and remove those that do not qualify. Then you narrow them down further until you have 10-12 keyword phrases with the best combination of low keyword competition (or web pages with exact phrase matches in Google) and the highest search volume. This is done simply by first sorting your list by the least competition, and then by the most search volume.
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind if you run into any trouble when trying to decide between words.
1) If you have a product or service with a high price point you can optimize for words with lower search volumes because you don’t as many sales to profit. And avoiding competition only generates web site traffic faster.
2) When comparing a high competition, high search volume keyword to a low volume, low competition keyword the low competition keyword is always better (if it meets the minimum search volume criteria). Again, the faster you put yourself in a position where you can generate web site traffic, the more profitable you’ll be.
This is by no means an exhaustive study of keyword selection, but by using this method you will be able to quickly assess the value of your keywords.