Keyword Selection Basics-An SEO Fishing Metaphor

Greetings internet marketers! The past two weeks we went over the importance of keywords and how to brainstorm a killer keyword list. But how do you choose the right keywords? Dartboard? Dice? Let's get you out of the game room and help you make an educated decision for your keywords.

Think of this process as fishing on a lake. Just like having the gear designed to catch the specific fish you want, you also have to make sure your keywords match up with the content on your site so that you get the kind of visitors you want.

After that, there are two main factors for finding the right keywords (and a good fishing hole):

  1. Competition (how many other people are fishing on the lake) and
  2. Search Volume (how many fish are looking for what you have)

On the lake, you don't always want to be on the same part as dozens of others trying to catch the same fish. Same goes for keywords. There are always popular keywords that every other webpage uses to lure more visitors. Search engines are going to favor established websites on the high competition keywords. You can easily see how many other sites are out there for a particular keyword simply by looking at the "results" number at the top of your search engine page. You want your keywords to be somewhat unique so you can hook searchers to become visitors.

Search Volume

This is the second part of the "keyword difficulty" equation. If no one is searching for one of your potential keywords (or there are no fish where you are fishing), you may want to rethink your strategy. Think of this as the 'fish finder' of keyword research. There have been times when I've caught a fish even though there wasn't much on the fish finder screen, too. So don't stay away from a keyword just because it does not have high search volume. You can find some easy targets with this metric!

And sometimes, even though there are quite a few boats in the same location, there might also be tons of fish to be caught. Using slight variations of popular keywords, you might be able to attract visitors. For the beginner, these two nuggets (competition and search volume) are the most important things to focus on.

A Quick Note About Long Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are simply long phrases made from a primary keyword with several descriptive words in the keyword phrase, creating a "tail" that follows the main keyword around. For example, if you search for "Spend Time Now To Get More Leads With Less Time & Money Later", our main page will most likely be #1 in the results. That's a long-tail keyword. But no one really searches using that exact phrase. Search for "Get More Leads" however, and we are definitely not on the front page, but more people are probably searching for that term. The long tail keyword that has slightly lower search volume, but minimal competition may be the part of the search engine lake where you want to "fish" for visitors.

We'll review a few popular keyword tools in a future post, but you can hopefully see the logic of choosing good keywords through our fishing metaphor! Share your tips in our comments below!