If you’ve been online a half-hour, you know what keywords are. But let me give you my definition:
Some keywords are obvious. Your name, for example, will bring back a list of results that pertain to you or to other people who have the same name as you do. You’ll probably even rank #1, if you have an unusual name!
Some keywords obviously pertain to your business. If you’re in the business of teaching people about guns and using them responsibly, your keywords will pertain to guns — concealed carry, handguns, gun rights, etc.
Though these keywords provide results, it DOES NOT mean that they are GOOD keywords for you to use in your copy. Nope, not at all.
Let’s use my name, for example. Yes, people search for it — about 320 global searches a month as a phrase, but only 32 as an exact match. Whoopee! If at least 3,000 people a month aren’t looking for your keyword, you won’t see much traffic from it.
But, you say, the competition is LOW? Whoopee again! If nobody is searching for the keyword, even if you can rank in the first position on page 1 of results, but you get no traffic… who cares?
Let’s try another keyword – bounce rate.
Bounce rate gets 60,500 global searches per month as a phrase and 18,100 searches as an exact match AND it has low competition. That’s why I’ve gone after it. It’s easy to rank for and it does bring traffic. Big difference, eh? It makes perfect sense to optimize for this keyword, if you’re in the SEO niche and if you’re writing about bounce rate or helping people to overcome high bounce rates or whatever, it’s a good keyword.
OK, I’ve just given out a secret, which is dumb, but I wanted to show you that not all keywords are GOOD keywords. Even if you think you’re famous or if you think your company name is highly-respected, if nobody is searching, it’s NOT a good keyword.
On the other hand, if too many people are looking for a keyword and the competition is really high… guess what? Even if you use that keyword, you may never rank in search for it because it’s just too frickin’ competitive. Forget it. Oh, sure, Starbucks or Pepsi or Obama could rank for high-competition, high-traffic keywords, but if you’re not Coke or Pepsi, why bother? There are lots of pretty keywords out there that will bring in traffic and get you where you want to go.
Don’t just sit down and write a list of keywords down and use them because you think they’re going to help you get traffic. They won’t. You need to use those keywords that you brainstormed as a starting point. You need to use a good keyword discovery tool to find other keywords that might bring in more traffic for you because they have lower competition. And then, once you’ve found those words, you need to analyze the competition.
And it takes hours.
Don’t be lazy.
Find keywords that make sense for your niche and take as much time as you need to find them. Or, pay me. SEO isn’t just about finding these words. It’s also about having intuition about buyers, too. Teaching you the exact right methods for finding killer keywords could take a very long time. But this is a starting point. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot and find keywords that you THINK will work.
Because they won’t.