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DIY SEO for Small Business – Narrowing down your keyword list

by Kelly Exeter | April 18th, 2011 | 2 comments

Narrow Keyword List

In our third post on keyword research, we showed you how to use the Google Keyword Tool to generate a list of target keywords for your website. Now we’ll show you how to narrow down that list. Your goal here is to select the top 3-5 keywords for your home page, plus 1-4 keywords for each core service/product page.

  1. Open your “Targeted List” file in Microsoft Excel (if you don’t have Excel, two free alternatives are OpenOffice http://openoffice.org or Google Docs http://docs.google.com ).
  2. Determine the Competition: The level of competition displayed by the Google keyword tool isn’t accurate for this type of research. The best way to determine the true competition is to go to Google.com.au and do the following:
    • Click on the “Advanced search” link to the right of the search box.
    • Click on the “Data, usage rights…” link at the bottom
    • Select “in the title of the page” from the drop-down menu next to “Where your keywords show up”.
    • Go back to the top and type your first keyword phrase in the second box, next to “this exact wording or phrase”.
    • Click the “Advanced Search” button.
    • This will return all the pages that have your keyword phrase in their Page Title. Write down the number of results in the “Competition” column of your spreadsheet and repeat for all keywords on your list.
    • Avoid keywords with over 10,000 results. Your best bets are those with under 1,000 results.
  3. Narrow the List: Once you have eliminated the words with too much competition, use the following criteria to make your final selection:
    • Number of Local Searches: You want to pick terms with a higher search volume, because this increases the potential number of visitors it can send to your website.
    • Relevance of Keyword: Relevant keywords are ones that you would naturally include a lot on your website (if SEO didn’t matter).
    • Geographic Importance: If you have a local business and mainly want to attract local customers, then you will want 70-100% of your keywords to include a geographic location (like “painters perth”)
    • Category Coverage: Be sure to choose at least one keyword for each core service or product category you will be featuring on your website.

You should now have your list of “Core” keywords. For smaller businesses, this will probably be about 10 phrases. Larger businesses with a broader range of products or services will have more. Our next instalment will address where to place these words on each page for maximum effectiveness. In the meantime, if you missed the beginning of our series, head over to “What Is Search Engine Optimisation?

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