Research and selection of keywords for SEO is the #1 priority in establishing an Internet Marketing campaign. All SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC campaigns (Pay Per Click or Paid Search Marketing) require a well conceived list of keywords.

You need to know what the TOP KEYWORD is for your goal.  If you want to be found for “your product”, use Google External Keyword Tool and be sure you are using the right keyword.  The keyword with the greatest search volume is your TOP KEYWORD.  There can be significant difference in search volume that come down to a simple “s” added to the end of what you thought was your best keyword.

However, there is a problem. Google says they want you to create good content – the articles should help your readers. And the more people that share and link to your articles, Google will reward you that way. Google use keywords (obviously), but you aren’t supposed focus on keyword optimization they say. So they make keywords difficult for many reasons we won’t deep dive into here. So you need to know where to look for your keywords and how to spot the right ones.

1) How do we know which keywords people use to find us?

In Google Search Console ( also displayed in Google Analytic when the accounts are linked correctly ) there is a section call “Queries”. NOTE that the numbers in this report are not accurate.

2) How do we know the most popular keywords?

In Google Adwords there is a feature called Keyword Planner, under Tools. use this to discover the popularity ( volume ) of keywords. NOTE that just like the above, these numbers are not accurate – just use them as a guide.

Tip: Notice that there are only about a dozen keywords in “Queries” that really bring home the bacon. As a beginner it is very easy to get lost in the weeds looking for the “absolute best keyword” when in fact the “best” are pretty obvious.

The best indicator of a good keyword is the CTR ( Click Through Rate ) – which means “effective”. So if you are looking to write about something, use good CTR keywords that are not getting a lot of clicks ( but also are not too obscure ).

Now that you have a good list, you don’t want to change the list halfway through the optimization process, so no other steps in your SEO checklist should begin until all parties have agreed on the keyword list.

Keywords should not be selected just because the words and phrases describe the product or service, but because they are the words people actually use to find your business/product/service.  It is not uncommon to be surprised that you do not understand what words people use to find your product on search engines.

The most important task of keyword optimization is to determine whether your pages are optimized for and rank highly in search engines for keywords that people actually want to find. If no one is searching for your targeted keywords, it won’t matter how highly the site is ranked in the search engines.” IBM

The RIGHT keywords are not always the TOP keyword (those that have the largest search volume).  The right keywords are perhaps more descriptive, and likely to be phrases.

The problem with good keywords is that they are usually not words at all. Good SEO keywords are usually phrases, that is, two or more words strung together in a saying or idea. When you enter keywords into your meta keywords section, don’t use words, use phrases.” ProBlogger April 2011

Now to win the gold-star, your keyword list should be organized in a hierarchy that agrees with the structure of the data contained in the web pages and this should also be reflected in the navigation of the website.  Put all that together and you’ll have a solid optimized website.