How many keywords should I use in SEO?

Posted on March 29, 2010

 

Keywords are one of the most important things in SEO – yet sadly they can also be one of the most distracting. While it’s important to know what keywords you should be using in your SEO, and of course in your content, getting to ‘fixed’ on those keywords will have a detrimental effect on your SEO.

The problem is that many website owners get into the mindset that their rankings for specific keywords are the be-all and end-all of search engine optimisation. This isn’t helped by some SEO companies pitching their services based on their success with rankings, showing potential clients previous success stories via Google searches and stating how they can improve your rankings for a limited set of chosen keywords.

The ‘keyword’ there, if you pardon the pun, is ‘limited’. Many SEO companies limit the keywords they optimise your website for, and then just choose to perform their optimisation on the homepage. The keywords are usually restricted to four or five words, which are then featured several times on your homepage in varying degrees of obviousness – or spam, as Google sometimes calls it.

These keywords are then also used in link building (or more commonly link buying) campaigns which boost the rankings of your website for those five or six keywords…

Then what?

Then you get rankings. That’s it… you wanted something else?

Oh yes, you probably wanted increased traffic, increased new visitors and increased sales from your website. However, this is unlikely to be achieved by the increase in rankings for five or six keywords, which may or may not be particularly good at converting into sales.

You see, Google trends are heading more towards longtail search – which shows that users (your potential customers) are looking to find answers to very specific queries. Rather than one word searches, such as ‘collars’, people are searching for ‘dog collars’ or ‘leather dog collars’ or even ‘pink leather dog collars’.

So you see, optimising for five or six keywords is like advertising your business in the local free paper. You’ll get some sales out of it, but you’ll be limiting your reach so much that your website will never be the lead generator that it should be. Don’t think small scale, think global – limit your keywords and you limit your profit.

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