15 Steps To SEO Success: Strategic and Tactical Keyword Selection - InformationWeek

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15 Steps To SEO Success: Strategic and Tactical Keyword Selection

In this excerpt from "The Small Business Owner's Handbook To Search Engine Optimization: Increase Your Google Rankings, Double Your Site Traffic... In Just 15 Steps, Guaranteed." Stephen Woessner shows SMBs how to select the best keywords for any business' Web sites.

Don't Miss: Author Q&A: Stephen Woessner

The following is excerpted and adapted from "Stephen Woessner's book, "The Small Business Owner's Handbook To Search Engine Optimization: Increase Your Google Rankings, Double Your Site Traffic... In Just 15 Steps, Guaranteed. It is presented by bMighty courtesy of Atlantic Publishing.

Chapter 4: Strategic and Tactical Keyword Selection

The One and Only Rule to Keyword Selection
I will show you how to select keywords that already have a proven track record of performance. To maximize your efficiency and effectiveness, the keywords you select must meet two criteria: 1) the keywords are realistic for you to score well with -- they are not too competitive -- and 2) the keywords have a track record for already being used by searchers. It is not until you find keywords that meet both of these criteria that you will begin investing time toward optimizing your site content. Having a disciplined, focused approach toward keyword selection will generate significant increases in Web site traffic when Google re-indexes your content pages.

There is also one rule I wrote that governs the overall keyword selection process. The One and Only Rule: only select two keywords per content page. I know this is likely contrary to much of what you have studied regarding search engine optimization.

You only need two keywords per page because Google, as well as your Web site’s visitors, can only process and truly understand specific content pages. When a page covers too many topics, your visitors and Google will struggle at determining the most important theme on the given page. As a result, you lose the attention of your site’s visitors and Google. Both will just move on to the next Web site.

Let us follow a more specific example from beginning to end in order to reinforce my rule. Say your Web site provides outdoor enthusiasts with information on the various types of activities someone might want to consider on a trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota. It would be a long list of activities, and it would be difficult to sufficiently write detailed explanations, let alone organize the content properly, within one long page. Visitors would much rather read a specific page devoted to each individual Black Hills activity, such as motorcycle byways, rock climbing, caving, and trout fishing. The only information a visitor receives if they click on the motorcycle page deals exclusively with riding throughout the Hills, nothing more. And then you provide links to your other specific content pages that might also be of interest to motorcycle enthusiasts.

Focusing your content pages will give you the ability to select just two keywords per page.

Collect Quality Data and Bet on Sure Things
You are about to be empowered to always wager your time investment on the keywords that will produce results, and you will accomplish this feat by implementing three simple sub-steps. These sub-steps will help you collect quantifiable decision-making data. I will explain how to execute each sub-step in detail.

Sub-steps within the Keyword Selection Process:

1. Create your initial keyword list: Develop a list of about ten keywords for each content page in your Web site that you plan to optimize.

2. Download your free tracker: Copy and paste your initial list of keywords to the free Small Business Owner Keyword Tracker Worksheet I created.

Woessnet SEOch04

3. Collect data: Use a free keyword tool and Google to collect two pieces of quantifiable data to validate the value of each suspected keyword.

Initial Keyword List
I recommend that you optimize just 25% of your site’s content pages as you begin your SEO learning curve. I recommend you develop an initial list 5 to 10 keywords per page so you have options to research and evaluate. Please note: “keyword” can refer to single words or to multi-word phrases -- typically three or four words.

Please find column A within the worksheet, labeled “Initial Keywords,” and paste your list of initial keywords and paste them into column A.

I will show you how to gather keyword usage data from Google, Yahoo, and MSN and divide it against the number of competitive pages already indexed within Google for the exact match of the keywords you are considering. This will result in what I call your Keyword Targeting Ratio. You will ultimately make your keyword selections based on the results displayed in column G.

Begin by collecting data for columns B, C, and D using my favorite keyword suggestion tool. This new tool can be found at SEOBook.com and was developed by Aaron Wall, one of the foremost SEO educators offering advice today.

Woessnet SEOch04_fig2

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