Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Keyword Research to Reach the Customers You Really Want

by Michelle Dale

Keyword research is probably the most important part of your job when you're setting out to design and construct a website. It really doesn't matter what you've planned for the website, assuming that you do indeed have something planned for it, because if you want your website to be seen by others in any meaningful number, then you'll need to pay particular attention to this task.

A keyword is basically a single word or a number of words strung together into a phrase describing something. Hence, your keyword could be "dogs" or something more complex, such as "yellow Labrador retrievers". This latter phrase is known as a long tail keyword, or in other words, a more detailed description of a simpler term. The success of a website is based around the relevance of a keyword or set of keywords - even if the owner of the site doesn't realize it! Your keywords will directly relate to the very nature and purpose of the website.

It goes without saying that if you're to construct a website for a meaningful purpose, maybe as a commercial entity, then you'll need to plan its construction carefully. Part of this process involves the right choice of keywords relevant to your subject, topic or speciality. Once these keywords have been correctly selected you should construct your website accordingly, and in a fairly regimented fashion. This is known as search engine optimization, as it is basically a way of ensuring that everyone else in the world has a way of finding your site if they are interested in what you're saying, promoting or selling.

Keyword research is a fundamental part of this job. There are many varied opinions, but in this challenging global marketplace we live in, you must make sure that your selected keywords are both relevant and applicable. As you will be trying to "rank" for your keywords (or end up as high as you possibly can within the ubiquitous search engine rankings of sites relevant to your niche), you must make sure that you have a good chance of doing so, firstly, and then secondly orchestrate your approach to give yourself the best chance possible.

One of the mistakes that many people (including some so-called SEO experts) make is to misinterpret the supply and demand for your keyword.

Demand: There are many tools, some more complex and more costly than others, which determine the demand for your keyword or long-tail keyword. Put simply, how many users are looking for content closely linked to your keywords. Google and others have a way of measuring the number of times that someone will search their engines for that exact keyword. They will supply you with figures which show, on a monthly basis and broken down into geographical territories if you wish, the number of times someone entered that phrase into the search box. This will give you a good idea of what the actual "demand" for information about your keyword is.

Supply: If you go to Google's search page and enter your keyword in the search box, you'll come up with a number of sites which Google considers to be relevant to that phrase. In some cases this can run into the many, many millions. If your keyword is - and it probably will be, a long tail, you should know that this initial supply figure is based on a broad analysis, and in order to get a realistic return on the number of relevant sites, you'll need to enter your keyword in quotes "". By doing this you'll see that the number of sites returned is significantly lower, this being a good indication of the "supply" for that keyword. The websites found in this fashion will be your competition.

As you'll quickly see from conducting this exercise, a very broad keyword - such as "dog", has a very high demand and a very high supply. Don't try to chase this demand as the likelihood of ranking highly for this keyword is not great. Generally speaking - the higher the demand, the higher the existing supply. Nonetheless, one important aspect of the art of keyword research is in establishing long tail keywords that more closely relate to your particular speciality. For example, if we research "yellow Labrador retrievers", we can see that there is a reasonable amount of demand - somewhere in the region of 3000 searches per month for that term, and a low amount of supply - less than 1000 competing sites. In this example, we would likely include this exact keyword in our campaign.

This is merely an introduction to keyword research, which should be a fundamental part of your online business strategy. The correct implementation of chosen keywords is an entirely different issue, but you must make sure that your keyword research is correctly founded and conducted before you move on.

About the Author

Michelle Dale is The Managing Director of Virtual Miss Friday, a highly experienced Executive Virtual Assistant Service which collaborates with businesses and individuals with the sole aim of accomplishing their professional goals. Want to learn more about these comprehensive online business building success strategies? Join the Campaign for FREE Virtual Assistance today at=> http://www.virtualmissfriday.com