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4 tips for choosing SEO keywords

In prehistoric times, we wanted to eat, so a nice big woolly mammoth was the hot item. In Roman times, we yearned to be citizens of Rome, so good seats at a Coliseum orgy were highly prized. In the digital universe, we want to get found, so the first page of Google is the sought after, lay it all on the line, strive-your-ass-off-for-it-prize.

While hardly as cool as hunting a giant beast, or getting wasted at a gladiator death match, being on page uno of a search engine can generate big traffic and fill up your inbound marketing funnel.

How then to achieve this lofty ambition? For one, you must employ a different area of the brain than our ancestors used to hunt mammoth or fuck their brains out at a Roman orgy.

It comes down to choosing the right keywords for SEO. Those that best describe your products and services, are not hyper competitive, and yet generate good traffic to your site.

Here are 4 tips for choosing SEO keywords:

  • Identify your buyer personas

You need to identify who would be looking for information about the things your organization’s into. How would this group search for solutions to their problems? What queries do they type into GooglusMaximus (sorry, can’t stop with the Roman analogies this AM).

  • Create a list of keywords

Make a list of words and phrases you identified during your research on buyer personas. We always tell clients to think in terms of long tail keywords (phrases with 3 or more words) because that’s how searches happen these days. So instead of the broad “kids clothes” you might jot down “kid’s clothes in Central Los Angeles.”

  • Research competition

When deciding on which keywords to optimize your site and blog posts around try to pick those that are: a) not super competitive b) still relevant to your organization and c) still relevant to your buyer personas. Use the Google Keyword Tool (or Hubspot’s if you use the service) to inform/educate your decision.

Unless you are a big player, spending loads on paid search, you probably aren’t ever going to get on page one for highly competitive keywords like “kid’s clothes”. This is where your longtail keywords come in. You probably CAN rank for those.

Still having trouble figuring out where you can win? Keep the synonyms box checked and also click “Get Keyword Ideas” The tool will spit out options.

  • Optimize for keywords

Use your keywords in your website copy, where they make sense. Write for humans (not woolly mammoth or algorithms). While keywords are fodder for search engine spiders, high quality content, produced for sentient beings, is pre-requisite to impressing visitors and converting them into leads.

You should also use keywords in meta tags, meta descriptions and title tag. Break the copy of your web page into small paragraphs, or preferably, into bullet points and provide suitable headings with the keywords/phrases. SEO is an ongoing activity and so be sure to review your content and strategy after every 4 to 6 months to ensure it is in sync with Google’s search algorithms and matches competition.

A word to the wise

Romans who did not pay their taxes typically found themselves in deep shit. You, my modern Google-coveting friend, will too if you engage in Black Hat SEO practices.

Black Hat SEO practices include unethical techniques such keyword stuffing, doorway pages, invisible text, and more. Search engine spiders are programed to spot these pretty easily. If you are caught, your website may be penalized or even banned.

Good luck, and remember achieving high rank on Google takes time.

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