What makes good keywords for SEO

Keyword selection is crucial for ranking higher in the search engines!

One of the constant conversations that we have with clients is on keyword selection. This topic is way too complex to be able to summarize in a short blog post. To write an entirely encompassing article would take hundreds, if not thousands of pages and would bore most everyone to tears. What I hope to do, is just touch on some highlights of most common errors we see.

Keyword selection is one of the most important aspects of SEO.  It does not matter if you are talking about SEM, commonly refered to as PPC  advertisements (pay-per-click) or organic search engine results. In both cases your keywords are critical in ranking well on the search engines. The keywords that you select will be used both for on-page SEO and off-page SEO, and be linked to your ads.  Therefore, it is crucial to select keywords that will bring you the best return on investment!

Too broad of a term can adversely affect your rating

For example if you run a car mechanic shop, selecting “Chevrolet”, “Ford”, “Toyota” as keywords would be absolutely horrible choices.  You will be competing with the manufacturers of these cars, whose budgets probably far out weigh what you can throw at it. In addition, there will be tremendous competition from the dealers, part manufacturers, car clubs, hobbyist, etc. Likewise, it would be not be very beneficial to use  descriptions that are too technical. For example “digital calibrated valve adjustment”.  Only a few people would know what that term means, and even a smaller portion would actually use it in a search.

Think what your average customer would use in a search.

You have to look at your niche market, and think like your target demographic, in order to choose the correct keywords or phrase. If you have a brick and mortar store, then you should target key phrases that may be used by people in your local area. What good is it to come up in a search in Kansas, if your store is in Atlanta?

The use of key phrases instead of single words, will yield better results.

While single keywords might be okay for some circumstances, in the vast majority of cases, it would not contribute to your rankings. It is better to choose a couple of two to four word phrases that people would use to find you.

Let’s go back to our auto mechanic example and use a couple of phrases that would be more successful:

  • Auto repair Atlanta
  • cheap auto repair Atlanta
  • reliable auto repairs atlanta

It would also be a wise choice to use different variations on key elements like “repair” and “repairs” and different descriptive terms someone might use when searching for someone who is going to fix their precious car and not empty their bank account.

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