After you have completed the initial keyword list gathering process, you will likely end up with hundreds of potential keywords. Your next task is to narrow the list down to about 20-30 popular and highly relevant keywords. This is probably the most important step and it requires both the use of keyword research tools and your own judgment.
At first, this step may seem like simple task, but you have to keep two things in mind. Optimizing keywords which are irrelevant or too competitive will hurt your optimization efforts and your search engine ranking. On the other hand, mistakenly eliminating well targeted keywords from the keyword list could cost your website important visitor traffic. This is why thoroughly researching your keywords is such an important step in the overall search engine optimization process.
Here are some of the keyword selection mistakes you should avoid:
One word keyword phrases are usually very difficult optimize, which is why most web searchers use two to three words in search queries. The one word key phrases may be too broad in terms of your website’s theme and as a result may produce mediocre conversion rates.
Some examples of one word keyword phrases are: insurance, mortgage, car etc.
Low popularity keywords
Keywords with very low search volumes are not going to bring many visitors to your website. The number of searches performed for a specific keyword phrase will have a direct effect on the number of potential visitors coming to your website. Getting a few dozen unique visitors to your website each month may not be worth the optimization effort unless the keyword term is highly relevant to your website.
Some examples of low popularity keyword phrases are: “career fashion merchandising new york”, “above ground hayward pool pump”.
Overly competitive keywords
Highly competitive keywords can drain your search engine optimization efforts and can also leave you with disillusioned with the failure of achieving a high ranking. Assessing the competitiveness of keywords is a very complex process and we have dedicated a complete lesson to discussing this topic.
Some examples of keywords that may be too competitive are: mp3, download software, download music
Low keyword relevancy can be assessed in many different ways
If you can not answer the question “Can I expect the visitors coming to my website to take some type of action using this keyword?” with a ”Yes”, then you need to remove the keyword from your selection. The word “action” in this context simply means buying, signing up, or contacting you about your products and services.
Some examples of low relevancy keyword phrases are: “bunk beds” used by an office furniture retailer, or “internet marketing” used by website hosting company
Not targeting trade or brand keywords
We have to consider the long term business value and brand awareness of these keywords even when the search volumes are relatively low. Low popularity but highly relevant keywords can have long term business value and can create strong brand awareness for your website.
Some examples of brand name keyword phrases are: hayward pool pump, zebra label printer
Targeting keywords that are too general may bring visitors to your website
Don’t expect a stellar conversion rate from keywords that are broad and can mean many things to many different people. General keywords don’t sufficiently describe your product or services and therefore most likely will attract the wrong target audience.
Some examples of keywords that are too general are: small business, online solution, software solution, internet service
Not measuring visitor traffic and conversion will result in wasted effort and time. Continuous monitoring of visitor traffic and website conversion rates at the search engine and keyword detail level is crucial to your website’s success. You may have heard the saying “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”, it’s especially true in keyword research. Using Google Adwords or Yahoo Overture pay-per-click advertising to test new keywords is a great way to get instant feedback. You can measure click through and conversion rates instantly, before waiting months for your keywords to rank naturally.