keyword choicesKeywords are still an extremely important part of SEO. Although search engines seem to have a love/hate relationship with them, and are always trying to find other ways to gauge the value of information, matching keywords to queries is too efficient a method to let go. What does that mean for people doing SEO? They have to take great care  when choosing and implementing their strategies for keyword optimization.

Finding the Right Ones:

A combination of research and common sense is necessary to find keywords with both the highest search volume and conversion potential. There are quite a few keyword research tools out there, and you can even use Google’s if you have an adwords account with them. Use them to find out which words people are searching for the most.

You’re not necessarily going to go for the words with the highest volume, however; remember, you want to turn these visitors into customers. For instance, the query “SEO” will have many more searches than “SEO Company”, but will probably convert less. One can determine this by considering the motives behind each search term. People searching “SEO” will likely just be looking up information on the subject, while those searching for “SEO Company” are more likely to be looking to hire someone for SEO work. Fortunately, in this example, optimizing for “SEO Company” will get you both keywords, but that’s not always the case.

Another way to determine how lucrative a keyword might be is to check the competition. Just type the keyword into Google, and see who else is optimizing for it. Don’t just check for what words they go for, but how they optimize for them as well.

Implementing Keyword Optimization

Finding the right keywords is only half the battle. There are quite a few guidelines to follow in order to optimize them properly. Even so, there’s no magical formula that will boost you to the top, so be prepared for a lot of trial and error. Here’s a quick checklist.

  • Is my meta data keyword optimized?
  • Do my keywords flow naturally? Have I avoided keyword stuffing?
  • Am I avoiding duplicate keywords on different pages on my site?
  • Are pages with overlapping keywords (ie: “SEO” and “SEO Company”) siloed appropriately?
  • Have I mentioned important keywords at the top of each page?
  • Have I strung keywords together with location (for local optimization)?

While not comprehensive, following this list is a great start to any keyword implementation strategy. Just remember, as important as keywords are, optimizing them should never take precedence over creating engaging content. A ratings boost means nothing if you can’t interest the reader.