How Many Keywords Should My Business Focus On?

Posted by on October 11, 2013 in Marketing, SEO [ 1 Comment ]

keywords for your businessSEO standards have always put the utmost importance on determining which keywords drive the most traffic and contribute to the highest conversion rates. However, a study conducted by MOZ, discovered that less than 15 percent of search engine ranking factors are wrapped up in keyword targeting. The other 85 percent have nothing to do with keywords! This is not to say that keywords are not important. Search engines are language based and therefore keywords play a significant role, but major search engines mainly focus on the quality of content on your website.

Related: 6 SEO Mistakes That Kill Your Website

Google released a statement saying, “In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share.” The algorithms used to rank websites focus on the quality, relevance and value of a website.

How can you use your keyword list to improve the quality and relevance of your website?

  1. Use unique, long tail keywords. Long tail keywords are defined as keyword phrases that are between two and five words, usually used when searching for a specific subject. This will make your website stand out.
  2. Use primary keywords at least once in the page title and close to the start of the title.
  3. Headlines should include a matching or similar keyword to increase overall relevancy.
  4. Make sure that the body text has significant content. There are advanced topic modeling algorithms at work assessing the relevance of the page.
  5. Secondary keywords should be placed in the headlines, title and body of the text as appropriate.
  6. URLs often get used as anchor text around the web. A good URL has keywords included, making it easier to rank.
  7.  While not heavily weighted in a search engine ranking algorithm, the meta-description will help the searcher decide to click on a page or not. Is this really the content that I was looking for? A good meta-description helps make that decision!
  8. Images also play an important role in search. An image’s alt attribute, similar to anchor text in a link, should include important keywords. This will attract higher rankings on the search engines.

Related: Find an SEO service to improve your search rankings

Keyword placement is important, but be careful about the number of keywords to focus on. Websites that use too many keywords are frowned upon and search engines will decrease the rankings of websites that are strictly “keyword stuffing.”

 Important questions to ask when creating a keyword list are:

  1. What questions are your potential clients asking the search engines and are the answers available within your pages?
  2. How competitive are the keywords?
  3. How many questions can you properly and sufficiently answer on a single page?

The last question is particularly important because it suggests that you have a dedicated page for every one of your keywords. If you cannot meet that expectation, then you should scale down your keyword list. Focusing on 10-20 keywords is an ideal place to start. Use Google’s Keyword Tool or Keyword Planner to determine which terms are competitive and generate a high volume of searches.

Related: Think Like Your Target Audience When Choosing Keywords

With Google’s recent decision to secure search data, it’s now harder to measure keyword performance, but by following these recommended tactics as well as providing relevant, editorial-quality content on your website, the challenges of SEO can be tackled.

Author Bio: Mark Schmukler is the cofounder of Sagefrog Marketing Group and leads Sagefrog’s marketing planning and brand strategy. He brings more than 30 years of global marketing and consulting experience to his work. Follow him on Twitter @sagefrog.
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