The Internet is made up of HTTP - that's Hypertext Transfer Protocol. That phrase contains the word "text". And, what is text? It is the actual wording of anything written. Our point in all of this is that keywords are the basis for everything on the Web, and, therefore, incredibly important. The task of keyword analysis for search optimization should not be taken lightly. When we perform SEO Keyword Analysis, we use a specific set of tools to identify and analyze keywords already in use by our client and their competitors. Next, we use another set of SEO keyword tools (like the Google AdWords Keyword Tool) to identify a larger list. There are six critical factors in identifying your ultimate set of target keywords:
  1. Relevancy
  2. Intent
  3. Search Stage
  4. Traffic
  5. Competitiveness (number of Google search results)
  6. Market Value
This should be fairly obvious, but your goal is not to simply increase traffic, but to increase qualified traffic. There are lots of keywords that might bring traffic based on curiosity (Britney Spears, Lady GaGa, etc.), but how likely are people searching for those terms to buy your service or product. The fancy word for this is Lexicon. That is, the natural vocabulary for your business or organization. Your keywords should fit within your lexicon.
There are three search modes: informational, navigational,and transactional. Informational searches make up the vast majority of search behavior. They are typically "how to" or "what is" searches. Navigational searches are generally using a search engine as an alternative to just typing in the web address or URL. These search queries look like "Aidan Taylor". And, finally, there is the transactional search. These searches are what we're really looking for as marketers. These searches are indicative of a purchase intent. These people are looking for a product or service.
Search Stage
Let's say that a person wants or needs work done on their nose. They might start by searching "nose job", and they'll find 13,200,000 results on Google (as of writing this). After reviewing a few of the resulting pages, they're likely to discover that the technical term for "nose job" is "rhinoplasty". If typical, their future searches will use the more advanced keyword, "rhinoplasty". That keyword will deliver 6,380,000 results on Google. Next, as part of their education process, they might learn that what they really need is a procedure to correct a nasal breathing issue, called "septoplasty". That keyword results in 506,000 results. In our experience, people using more advanced vocabulary (words within the lexicon) are getting closer to the point of purchase. It also means that any of your competitors that optimized for keywords further away from the close, spent effort/money to educate your customers.
Most people select their SEO keywords based on gut, without checking whether people actually search for the term (The Google AdWords Keyword Tool provides estimated traffic for keywords). Coupled with the fact that the majority of keywords have very low traffic. Our goal in this step is to identify those keywords with the potential to deliver significant search engine traffic (the meaning of significant will vary from industry to industry, niche to niche). This is a critical part of the SEO keyword selection process.
There are 10 spots available on the first page of a Google search result. The greater the number of competitive pages, the more difficult it is to get a first page position. We use the following ranges to gauge the level of SEO competition (and establish our SEO pricing):
  • Up to 12,000
  • 12,001 to 60,000
  • 60,001 to 120,000
  • 120,001 to 300,000
  • 300,001 to 1,000,000
  • 1,000,001 Plus
Market Value
These are keywords that have been tested via AdWords - Google keywords where your competitors are paying good money to advertise. We assume that they are paying attention to ROI. Therefore, if a keyword has a higher Pay per Click (PPC) value, it's probably better for business than one with a lower PPC value.
If we select our target keywords based on these three factors, we are much more likely to achieve success.