The first step in the SEO process is selecting a set of keywords. Less than 10 is an optimal amount, but any number under 20 tends to have the potential for good ranking for each keyword. These are the terms potential clients will use to find businesses, services & products online, so choosing a relevant & effective list to optimize is important. How do business owners insure that the keywords they’re focusing on are the best representation of their business to online users?
Keyword selection is not an exact science, so there’s no foolproof litmus test. Judgment comes into play, common sense & an awareness of your target audience. Another keyword source to consider is your best-selling services & products. However, more quantitative options exist as well. Create a Google Adwords account, and use your current set of keywords in the keyword tool. Not only will Adwords automatically supply you with a variety of synonyms & related terms that you may either want to use, or that will inspire you to think of additional keywords you may not have considered earlier, but Adwords will provide you with data for each keyword, letting you know which keywords perform best in an adwords environment. Keep in mind that adwords results and organic results are two different breeds, so while there is a strong correlation, they are separate.
To track organic keyword performance directly, check in with your Google Analytics account regularly. Analytics is helpful for weeding out keywords – if a keyword you thought was going to perform well gets less than 5% of traffic over the course of several consecutive months, you’ll most likely want to use that 10% of your total keyword allowance (1 keyword) differently by focusing optimization efforts on a new keyword.
One more creative option, and one that can be applied to social media campaigns as well, is polling. Poll Everywhere (http://www.polleverywhere.com) is an online service that allows you to create a poll for free with a max of 40 responses per poll – monthly payment plans are also offered if your poll requires over 40 responses. New tools pop up constantly, so keeping yourself abreast of tools like pollster can keep your keyword list streamlined or expand your marketing operations to new levels.
– Julia Brasor
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