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How do you choose what keywords to optimise for?

How do you choose what keywords to optimise for?

Whether you use a professional SEO company to optimise your website, or whether you do the work yourself based on what you’ve learnt from forums and blogs, the act of choosing what keywords to optimise for is both critical and difficult. There’s no point ranking for keywords if nobody is searching for them.

Man choosing keywords

Despite this, many businesses don’t put any thought or research into choosing the keywords they wish to rank for. They just pick some keywords off the top of their head, keywords that are associated with their business.

This is a schoolboy error of monumental proportions. Would you start a new business, or open a new arm of your business, without first running the figures to see if it is profitable? Would you not first check out the area, make sure that the business is viable and that custom exists before you outlay your funds?

Of course you would. Only a fool would rush in blind. Yet many fools rush into their SEO having picked keywords without any research. SEO campaigns run over a lengthy time period are not cheap. You could be spending tens of thousands of pounds per year on your SEO. You’ll be throwing the money down the drain if you don’t receive any conversions from it, like so many businesses do.

SO what should you consider before choosing your keywords?

  • Search Volume: This one is obvious (to most). You need to know that potential customers are actually searching on the keywords that you want to optimise for.
  • Difficulty and Timeframe: How competitive is the search phrase? There’s no point putting your entire SEO budget into trying to rank for ‘loans’ unless you have a six figure sum to spend. Choose phrases that you can realistically rank for in a suitable time in order to improve your ROI – then, after you have achieved rankings, traffic and sales, you can chase the more difficult phrases.
  • Relevancy: Yes there are many keywords that you could rank for, such as the name of your competitor, but what would be the point if you wouldn’t get any conversions from it? Remember, ranking for phrases is a means to an end. The end is conversions and sales on your website.

Some businesses leave the choosing of the keywords to the SEO professionals, because they’re in a better position to know what can and can’t be done, and what will yield the highest return. However, be careful of this as some SEOs like to pick keywords that they know they can rank you for; uncompetitive keywords.

This is only of use for the vanity factor, where you can say that you rank #1 in Google for ‘chosen keyword’… of course, if you have to actually ‘tell’ people that you rank for a particular keyword, rather than them finding you from it, it’s not much use at all!

  • it is a good idea to optimize our website for the name of our competitors and for what users are searching more for.

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