By Santanu Mukherjee
Keyword Research is an important aspect of Search Engine Optimization and Internet Marketing. Keywords for your website should be chosen cleverly so that those terms define your site and at the same time are widely searched. Say you have a website on “online games”. Then “online games” seems the obvious keyword. It not only defines your site but has a huge search volume. However – though it seems apparent that this is the best keyword there can be few practical problems. For example: it’s possible that many websites are trying to achieve a good rank using this particular keyword (this often happens with keyword that have large search volumes) and so the competition is increased. The higher the competition, the less chance your site has of achieving a good ranking. You need to be very careful when choosing keywords. This article will guide you on how to choose the right keywords for your website.
Brand Keywords (Brand epitomizes a company and helps build a strong sales base): Brand Keywords are usually a URL, a Company name, Company abbreviation etc. All these should be included in your keyword list as a matter of course. Brand keywords are vital in maintaining the reputation of your company. For example: if you type “Samsung” into Google and get, instead of the company website, a dealer’s URL you’re not going to appreciate it very much, You won’t feel that the brand Samsung is particularly strong. In order for any company to keep the flag of its reputation flying as high as it should, its brand name or names should be taken into consideration while optimizing the search engine.
Already Ranking Keywords (use Google analytics to identify these): Say your website is already achieving a ranking through existing keywords. This means you are getting value from them already. Targeting new keywords and forgetting the terms that already rank is not a wise decision: that’s like throwing money away for no reason. While new key phrases must be researched and incorporated into your SEO drive, you should also devote some effort to these “already ranking keywords”. Maintain or improve their rank and your site will be that much more visible to potential customers.
Unique Product Name or Trademark Name: Let us consider a client who has launched a new venture. It will take some time for the venture to become popular. Initially, then, there may be no search volume for that particular term because the new service is not yet known to anybody. However – whilst optimizing the client’s website the new venture or the service must be considered in the list of keywords. Gradually, as the venture becomes popular, the improving rank will start paying the value.
Geo- Location perceptions (Search volumes for “produce” for US & India are different): Geographic Location is the next important thing to be considered. If you don’t understand where a client’s market is targeted then you can’t judge their culture. Hence, your choice of keyword may be wrong. Geo-Location plays an important role in local searches. If you’re dealing with a website for a restaurant, café or a departmental store, for example, then you should obviously consider their geographic location before you finalize the keywords you intend to use in their site.
Be aware, too, of search terms that have a high meaning or search volume in one geographic location but not in others, An example: the term “produce”, which means vegetable market in the USA, has a good search volume in America. There is almost no search volume for the term “produce” in India. You need to know that the keywords you choose have the right search volumes for the geographic location your website is targeting.
Services or Products (Get under the surface of the industry): Study the website in detail and try to find out what service or services the company offers. If necessary, speak to the client so you can get to know exactly what it is they do and sell. So, for example: if the product is “insurance”, then you have to understand whether the site owner is an insurance company or an insurance agent. If a company’s product or service is very niche then choosing a keyword or keywords is easy. There might not be many competitors but if the service is popular it should have a good search volume.
Competitors (Don’t re-invent the wheel): As I mentioned earlier, competition plays an important role in choosing the right keyword. If there is one apple and many people to eat, then obviously the probability of getting the apple for 1 person decreases. You can apply the same logic here. If many websites are targeting the same keyword then the probability of good rankings for any given website becomes smaller. This is why keywords that have a high search volume but a low competition are ideal targets.
Broad, Exact, or Phrase: A keyword may be categorized as “Broad”, “Exact” and “Phrase”. Let’s define these one by one. Say you own a luxury hotel in Kolkata, which has an authentic continental restaurant. Now: people coming to Kolkata and looking for Hotels may search with keywords like “Hotels in Kolkata” or Luxury Hotels in Kolkata”. These can be considered as “Exact” keywords.
Any variation from these exact terms may become either “Broad” or “Phrase” keywords. If someone searches with the term “luxury hotel in Kolkata with authentic continental restaurant”, the search becomes narrower and the probability of ranking for your hotel with this keyword becomes much higher.: because the searcher is looking not just for a luxury hotel in Kolkata, of which there are many; but for a luxury hotel in Kolkata that also has a continental restaurant. There are fewer luxury hotels in Kolkata with continental restaurants – but yours is one of them.
This falls into the “Broad” category. A “Phrase” is basically a broad keyword where the “Exact” keyword is in the right order. “Luxury hotels in Kolkata with authentic continental restaurant” is an example of a Phrase (it includes our Exact keyword string, “Luxury hotels in Kolkata”), while “Kolkata Hotels with authentic continental restaurant” is a Broad keyword. In the second example, you can see that there are terms like “Hotels “ and “Kolkata” – all of which are parts of the Exact keyword – but not in the exact order they appear in the selected keyword. We can always go for these variations to get better ranking and more authentic traffic whose conversion rate is higher.
Say someone is searching for hotels with continental restaurants: he wants to be sure there is a continental restaurant in the hotel he finds. So he chooses “hotels in Kolkata with continental restaurant” as his search term. If your website appears his chance of booking online is much higher because he is searching for something more specific. Someone who is just looking for a hotel to stay in and searching with a search term like “Hotels in Kolkata” is less likely to choose you because the search and keywords are not as directed.
Popularity:If your business is popular due to a specific product then that product must come into your keyword. Say your company is famous for making sports cars. You also manufacture other types of small cars for domestic use. Since you are known for “sports cars” then obviously that has to be one of your keywords. Go for some variations in “small domestic cars” and try to get extra rankings, too.
Search Volume:Search Volume plays an important role in choosing keywords. If you choose a keyword that doesn’t attract visitors then no amount of SEO and site ranking for that keyword will do you any good. If you get a keyword that doesn’t have a search volume ranked highly in search engines, nothing will happen – because no one searches for it. There will be practically no visitors coming via any of the search engines and all that SEO time and expense will have been wasted.
Company’s Representative names (Eat Apple but Thank Steve): Apple cash in on the brand name of Steve Jobs: because Mr Jobs is so famous in his own right, having his name as a keyword ensures that searches related to him bring up Apple.Using company representative names as keywords associates the person with the organization thus increasing the overall credibility of both the employee and the company. Protect keyword reputations and you’ll grow good rankings for both person and organization.
If you choose your keywords considering all these factors, you will be able to choose the terms for which your site should be optimized, so that it ranks high, gets more visitors and finally generates revenue through web