Correctly choosing the keywords that your website wishes to compete on is the single most important aspect of a search engine optimization campaign. Proper keyword selection can provide your business with an extremely solid foundation to build.
However, the opposite can be said for websites that make mistakes at this point. If your website dives straight into a competitive keyword selection there is a good chance of drowning in the oblivion of search engine results. Choosing keywords for your website requires a fine balance of research and modesty.
If there is a particular item or product range that your company sells then make sure your keyword selection reflects this. Being vague results in higher levels of competition. If your website sells golf clubs then optimize your pages to match what kind of golf clubs you are offering. Do they have graphite shafts? Do you sell a left-handed selection? What kind of brand are they?
Regionalise your selection if appropriate
Focusing on a regionalised market will result in a much more targeted market and the competition will also lower significantly. If you only sell your products and services within Ireland make sure you contain specific phrases (e.g. Ireland, Irish, Dublin, etc.) within your Title, body and anchor text.
Domain Name Selection
For many new (and existing companies) the ideal website name might already be taken. Or, for branding purposes, the choice of a keyword rich domain name may not be applicable. This shouldn't be a major concern to companies as the weight search engines give to the URL of a website is of limited importance when it comes to ranking well within the results pages. However, if your website contains keywords that your company wishes to compete on then you should exploit this when choosing your inbound linking text (a.k.a. anchor text).
Inbound links from websites can provide your site with a two-fold benefit. The first (and obvious) is that these links can help your company by sending potential customers to your website. The second benefit is that Google and the other major search engines will see these links as votes of confidence therefore giving your website a boost in its rankings. When developing inbound links it is important to take advantage of keywords that your site might be targeting.
For example, my website is http://www.betteririshwebsites.com. It contains a number of articles that can help webmasters and companies promote their websites. With this in mind, a link that contains the anchor text Website Promotion Articles will help both visitors and search engines to understand what this website is all about. By developing links with keyword rich anchor text your website can rank higher in the search engine results for the terms that you are competing on.
When choosing keywords you feel are suitable to target your desired market you may end up with a list the length of your arm. If you create a website with a logical structure containing a number of pages that deal with the range or products your company offers you will be able to professionally and effectively optimize your entire site for all of your selected keywords.
For example, if your company sells office supplies and office stationary (both extremely competitive keyword phrases) you could still drive a large amount of traffic to landing pages that sell "Executive Leather Chairs" and "Printer Ribbons". This is only an example, creating and optimizing landing pages is a technique that all websites could and should do regardless of what they are offering.
Remember, your optimization efforts should never stop after your home page is completed. Your entire site should be professionally optimized for maximum results.
About the Author: Barry Fenning is the owner of Irish Website Promotion, A website that is aimed at people new to the area of search engine optimization and online marketing. The articles available on the website are suitable for people that want to learn how to conduct effective and professional SEO campaigns without having to outsource. There are also a number of more "advanced" articles suitable for experienced webmasters.
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