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Keyword Research and Grooming Your Site for Success

May 19, 2008
Before you leap into a hasty relationship with the wrong keywords, get cozy with your audience and try to place yourself in the mind of your ideal visitor to think how they would think and more importantly to search how they would search.

Finding the top keywords for your niche may require many a few blind dates with questionable outcomes, but the result is well worth the conquest when your pages meet their perfect match.

Millions jump into relationships daily with keywords (PPC and Organic SEO included) that may have been around the block a few times or frankly they want the most popular and obviously more frequented traffic-bearing phrases that yield results.

Not only can this lead to frustration after your countless woos are ignored, you need to make sure you have enough game (in your branding and marketing pitch) to send the right signals.

The First Date:

Selecting the right keywords is like going out on the perfect date and falling in love at first sight, as a result the parallel of keywords to courtship comes to mind.

While testing the relationship and finding the most important keywords for your industry, try curbing your initial expectations until you see how that keyword performs (using statistics and user engagement metrics to evaluate conversion).

Make sure to cover your bases, just in case your targeted keyword doesn't measures up (by having a few alternatives to interject). But, before you even go there, ensuring your online hygiene is up to par is paramount. The last thing you want is a click and run because your online breath was kicking.

Grooming:

If you want to impress your keywords and the traffic they bear, make sure your pages are well groomed in order to make the right first impression for those who may follow them back to your site.

Just like in the real world your website should follow certain guidelines to emulate appeal and has a discriminant "feel good" affect at first sight.

Just you need to make sure your hair is groomed (optimize your titles), make sure your teeth are brushed (your navigation informative and easy to use), your nails manicured (your images relevant), a touch or perfume or cologne to set the mood (your content is appealing) and by all means, mind your fashion statement (your template should not look like the lovechild of Myspace & Angelfire), that is, if repeat traffic is important to you.

Here are a few tips for landing the perfect ratio / relationship of content, promotion and links:

1. Start simple, evaluate the most searched keywords using a keyword research tool.

2. Look for key phrases that have overlapping connotations. Pairing the top keywords with the appropriate modifiers can generate more exposure than just obsessing over one top ranking phrase.

3. Don't overlook root phrases, people still use the terms company, services, professional, expert, examples, how to and many other out of the way modifiers. The more you optimize (when your on to the right scent) the more relevant traffic your pages receive.

4. Using a combination of the right domain name, the right titles, carefully crafted content, an appealing template/design and the right series of back links can cut to the chase and put your site in the top 100 with very little effort. From there, aging and authority combined with a consistent content development strategy is a winning formula that can elevate your content into the top 10 if managed properly.

5. Once you have a top 10 position, leverage that position until you have 5 more, then 10 more, etc. Just like the buddy system, once your pages are anchored in a relevant niche, search engines look to your content first (if your pages have authority) to see if you have anything worth noting when those queries are entered in the search box.

In closing please note, that traffic is only one part of the equation. Quality over quantity (for content, keywords and links) is the key to a successful search friendly site, but above all else minding your appearance and tidying things up a bit can do more for conversion which is above else the real reason your in business to begin with.
About the Author
Jeffrey L. Smith is an seasoned search engine optimization expert and founder of SEO Design Solutions SEO Company. Jeffrey has been involved in internet marketing since 1995 and brings fresh optimization methods and search engine optimization services to businesses seeking organic search engine placement.
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