How to choose a keyword for your small business website is the most important online marketing skill to learn. It’s the difference between short and long term online success and total online failure. If you choose wrong, you will be forced to pay for expensive PPC and other advertising for the rest of your time online, and undoing bad keywords is expensive and sometimes impossible!
Top 5 Mistakes when Choosing a Website Keyword
- Too Big – Choosing a keyword that is just too competitive means you’ll never make it to the top of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). 0% of 1000000000 is a lot smaller than 10% of 10 000.
- Too Small – Choosing a keyword that only receives a few hundred searches a month is OK, if it’s not the keyword for your money page and if you’ll make top five on SERPs for it. If you have to fire expensive backlinks at it or if it hovers in a luke warm page two slot – don’t bother.
- Broad Match – When using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, ensure you’re on exact match. Broad match will show search numbers for synonyms and related terms – unless you’ve got mad SEO skills, you’ll want to start out a little more specific.
- Lazy research – The competition bar on the Google Adwords Keyword Tool is for those wanting to buy adwords, not those looking for website keywords. High competition means that advertisers like the term because it makes them a lot of money (so the ads will be expensive for them) but it’s not a true indicator of what is best for your site. Thoroughly investigate each keyword, Google it, check out the competition stats!
- Off Topic – Tons of traffic, no conversions? Off topic keywords, or keywords that don’t deliver what they promise may result in plenty of traffic but they won’t convert to sales. If you dominate for “cheap cars” but you sell expensive motorbikes, you’ve wasted a lot of time, money and effort optimising that phrase. On topic keywords pay out more!
How to choose keywords that will grow your small business website
- Choose two keywords for the home page. One very specific one with fewer than 1000 exact match monthly searches to get you started and one you can aspire to over time. Create internal linking that targets both.
- Google your keywords and check out your competitor’s metrics using a tool such as Linkscape. Although it is almost impossible to predict exactly where your site will sit in SERPs, this will give you some indication.
- Google promises that it ignores prepositions and articles (in, at, on, the etc) but in fact, there are variations in search numbers for some of these. Watch that carefully. Plurals, spelling variations and word ordering all greatly affect a keywords search numbers and performance, so keep your eye on the details!
- Choose a highly relevant keyword with reasonable monthly search numbers for every page of your website. Use on page optimisation and internal anchor text linking to get Google finding all pages on the site.
- Use no follow tags to all non-money pages and keep a special no followed area for terms and conditions, privacy, copyright and other “wasted” SEO pages. If you can’t no follow, then use your brand name as the keyword for the contact us page (for easy internal linking purposes) and then add a H1 based link back to the home page to divert all that juice to where it can do its best work.