Your First SEO Campaign: How Many Keywords?
At Houston SEO Pros we Picking out your targeted keywords is one of the earliest and most important steps you need to take in any Houston SEO strategy. The importance of smart keyword selection cannot be overstated; your campaign will never deliver the results you’re looking for if you pick the wrong keywords. Right along with identifying the most effective keywords, you need to decide how many of them you’ll actively work on.
You may be tempted to pour all your efforts into a solitary keyword. Resist that temptation! Even with the most modest of budgets, you can get better results out of a multi-keyword campaign. Any one keyword that’s popular enough to drive significant traffic to your site is likely to be highly competitive. In practical terms, it’s impossible to turn your site into a high-ranking performer for the single most effective keyword in your niche. Targeting one of the less popular keywords exclusively is also problematic. You might get great ranking results, but the keyword won’t send enough traffic your way by itself.
The next temptation that arises will be to target every keyword you can think of. The pitfalls here are not hard to see. If you spread your attention too thin, you risk shortchanging all of your keywords and wasting all your hard work. Producing only modest ranking improvements for lots of different keywords will result in an SEO campaign that has a minimal positive impact on your site.
It is best to divide your attention among a strictly limited set of keywords. This is especially important when your site is relatively new. Keeping your keyword list short allows you to give each search term an effective portion of your resources.
There is no single rule dictating how many keywords are right for your SEO campaign. The specific circumstances of your site and your niche have to play a role. As a first attempt, try targeting about five keywords. Make them fairly significant ones; confirm that each keyword is being used in at least 100 searches a month.
Five keywords might not sound like a lot. If you do your optimization well, though, you’ll be surprised by what a difference you can make. For one thing, very strong performance on one keyword will also improve your site’s ranking for slight variations.
If you make one of your keywords “mortgage tips,” for example, your optimization work will also improve your ranking for related keywords like “tips for getting a mortgage” and “tips on mortgages.” As long as your Houston SEO strategy involves producing quality content, you’ll see a “halo” effect as it also captures search traffic for related longtail phrases.
To extend the mortgage example, you might publish an article on your site that includes the phrase “where is the best place to get mortgage tips.” Though this phrase is too low-traffic to target directly, including it will improve your site’s ranking on the rare occasions a search engine user enters it. Remember, most keyword research tools don’t deliver solid tracking data on very long keyword phrases like this.
While longtail keywords don’t individually generate a lot of search traffic, when you consider them as a single class, they make a surprising contribution. By some estimates, up to 40 percent of searches are executed on longer phrases (those of at least four words). A site with diverse content that hits a lot of different longtail keyword buttons can pull in a lot of traffic even if no one phrase is particularly common.
Even if you follow the advice provided above and start with just five keywords, you’ll probably see your site rank well on several other phrases. Watch for developing patterns. Some of the largest volumes of traffic coming to your site through the search engines can come from phrases that fall outside your SEO targets. Many users will arrive at your site by searching for longer phrases that you’ve used organically in your content.
Besides being welcome in the general sense of “all traffic is good traffic,” these longtail hits have an additional benefit. Longtail searches often deliver more conversions than shorter phrases. People who have narrowed down their search for information to very specific terms are more likely to be closer to making a meaningful decision.
After you have an effective Houston SEO strategy in place and see some gains on the first five keywords you’ve targeted, it’s time to consider adding new keywords. One further benefit to keeping your target list small is that it accelerates the pace at which you see your results. Once your optimization efforts are live, you’ll have plenty of search performance data to examine with tools like Google Analytics. More experience will help you identify the most promising keywords to move onto next.