I’ve been asked a lot recently how one chooses the right keywords to target for SEO, so I thought I’d write a post about it, and also tie in some important aspects of the recent Google Panda update also.
The first thing to consider when looking at what keywords to target for your site, is the commercial intent for that keyword. By this I simply mean are people who type this keyword into Google in a buying mode or just info seeking.
How can you tell if a keyword has high commercial intent? Well the easiest rule is, the more specific the phrase is, usually the more commercial intent it has. Also if people type in product names and model numbers these have high commercial intent, but they are not the only ones. Anything where someone is indicating they have a problem that needs fixing, such as “how to stop sweating”, also has a high degree of commercial intent.
The next thing to consider is the search volume of the keyword. If you’re using the Google keyword tool, aim for about 1000 searches a month on exact match.
Of course you then need to look at the competition for the keyword, this is a whole new topic on its own, so I won’t go there now, but essentially just make sure you target keywords that you have the equivalent SEO skill level to rank in position 1 or 2 in Google for, don’t go after keywords that are out of your league, because you will only waste time, and end up giving up and be very dissappointed.
Remember the largest part of ranking in Google is the backlinks, so by skill level I really mean you ability to get good quality backlinks.
I know people always want a detailed plan of exactly what keyword to choose everytime and I do go into more detail in my Rapid Profit Formula course on this, but really the best way to learn what keywords you can rank for, is by practice. The more keywords you rank the better you get at analyzing what to target and what to avoid.
So if you do target a keyword that is too difficult, all is not lost, you just know for next time to go after something easier. In the same regard, if you go after something that is easy but has hardly any search volume, then all is not lost, you just know to go after something more competitive next time.
As most of you’ll know, Google recently did a major update to the way they rank pages, which I did a post about a few weeks back: Google Farmer/Panda update. Just recently Amit Singhal the head of Google search made a statement regarding the update, of which I want to discuss now.
Mr Singhal didn’t say exactly what the changes were, as he has to protect the integrity of Google, however he did list a number of questions for webmasters to ask themselves in regards to the content on their sites.
One question he stated was:
“Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?”
This is very interesting, and what you need to be careful of here is if your sites pages target keywords that are very similar. For example if one of your pages targeted “stop dog digging” and another one targeted “stopping dog digging” then you would be in trouble with Google, as they see this as low value as the content on these two pages will be virtually the same stuff.
If you do want to target more than one keyword, you are better to target them on the same page, which is easy to do, and something I do all the time. All you have to do is backlink for the different phrases and make sure your ‘on page SEO’ includes all the phrases you’re targeting.
Another question he stated was:
“Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?”
When I first posted about the Google update I mentioned that too many ads is not a good thing, and I actually had a few people attack me on the comments, claiming that I didn’t know what I was talking about and that I was simply speculating, and that there’s no evidence that too many ads can hurt rankings. However as Mr Singhal states, too many ads and not enough good content is not a good thing, and something Google will penalize for.
Mr Singhal added a lot more questions, but you can pretty easily cover yourself by simply making sure your content is quality. Therefore make sure you don’t have excessive spelling mistakes, poor grammer, use headers, add images, use video where you can, and have 600 words minimum of content, that is well written and is not just rehashed info from all the other sites ranking for that keyword.