Let us start at the beginning – that’s a great place to start isn’t it?
It is a good idea to put together a business case for your site, to focus your effort on the goals of the site. The business case, or niche in which you wish to operate may well change due to this article – you are able by researching keywords to better understand you customers, niche and competition, all leading to a much stronger business case for your business plan.
What phrases or keywords are you targeting for your site?
Listen up! This is really important. You need to have keywords that people search for to be able to justify the cost of your time to create a site. If the site you’re putting together doesn’t have many people searching for the information / products / services that are on the site, then there will be no customers, and it is completely pointless.
Sure, this has caveats – you can advertise, but that’s going to cost a lot, and is it really worth it? Are there other opportunities, other keywords out there that are more easily attainable for you?
Understanding your Niche
First of all, you have a niche, right? You need a focus for your site; otherwise it will not make any sense. What you’re trying to achieve is to send people to your site as THE place to go for information on your niche.
Is there some aspect of your niche that customers are particularly interested in and how would you know? There are a number of ways that you can find what people really want – listen to people when they talk, look in the paper, look in internet forums and chat rooms that are associated with your niche. What are people asking for? Is you niche something that people talk about?
Is there a core phrase that you could use that would describe your niche?
Competitors – how do they rank, and why?
A good way to start to understand your competition is to open up your favourite search engine, let’s use Google, most people do, and type in a search that you would expect would find your site when you build it. The number underneath the search box once you have performed the search shows the number of pages that were found.
You can bet, the larger the number of results the more that people are searching for that term. Whilst the number of results has little to do with your customers, what it means is that other businesses have already done some research and found that there is a level of interest for that phrase or keyword. Not very scientific yet, and don’t try to base your site keywords on this approach!
What you can do here though, is to open up some of the results for your searches – these are your competitors.
Where are your competitors based? Is location a factor in what you intend to offer? Does your product or service entail your visiting your customers’ location? If it does, then it is likely that your location is going to form part of the keywords you choose.
Do your competitors offer something that you do not, or vice versa? Does that further refine your niche, and focus the potential keywords to use?
If you really wanted to get into the nitty gritty, you need to know for each of those sites, their age, the number of inbound and outbound links, page rank, body content – all these things are big factors in the ranking of that site.
Keyword and Search Term Tools
There are a few tools that allow you to understand the number of monthly searches that are performed for your core phrase, and how competitive it is. The good thing with these tools is that they are also able to suggest other keywords that may be applicable to your core phrase.
Some tools are:
Google Adwords Keyword Tool – free
Keyworddiscovery.com Keyword Research
Correct Keyword choice drives Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
As I mentioned earlier, if nobody searches for a particle search phrase, keyword or term, then this makes it very difficult to make money. Starting with a random set of search terms, or no search terms at all is going to make life more difficult in terms of SEO. Don’t worry, something can be done about it, but it entails refocussing the site toward the correct terms.
Given the right set of keywords: menus, categories, tags, and articles and backlinks can be produced that will help the site’s search engine rankings to increase over time. As you can probably see from the list of items that feature in making the site rank well, changing from the wrong keywords to the right ones is likely to require a lot of rework.
Can you choose keywords yourself, or should you pay someone to do it?
Due to the importance of getting the right keywords for you site, it is a good idea to spend a great deal of time researching the best terms, researching your competitors, niches and so on, before jumping in to creating a web site. There is nothing wrong with doing this yourself, although paying someone to do this is highly likely to yield sales way in excess of the initial outlay, and continue to do so for some time to come.
If you have never done keyword research before, and wish your business to do well online in relatively short timeframe, it is well worth paying for someone to choose the correct keywords for you. If is the same of SEO – you could spend years on this and not get it right, however, a professional could start getting very good results within three months.