Imagine if your website had more than one doorway, i.e. the home page.  What if you could roll out a welcome mat at each page of your site, making it possible for Joe Searcher to come in via the page that is most interesting to him?

Optimize your page well, friends, and it’s possible.  So, how do you pick which keywords to target with Search Engine Optimization?  How many terms can you optimize a single page or section for?

Choosing the Right Keywords

Choosing the Right Keywords


For a jumping off point, look at your website analytics to see what keywords are already bringing in converting traffic.  If you saw 3 new sales last week from the search phrase “Camaros in Kansas City,” it’s likely to be a good phrase for you to target.

Add to that list with various – usually free – keyword tools, like Google’s.  Look at search volume to assess what words are getting attention in the search field.  Google will also make recommendations for alternative keywords based on the area you’re interested in or can crawl your site in order to make suggestions.  Wordtracker is another tool, but is paid.  You can actually Google “keyword tools” for a full list.  Don’t be surprised if Google’s own tool shows up on top!

Then trim by starting with the basics: you’re looking for keywords that drive not just a lot of traffic, but targeted traffic.  Better yet, you want keywords that drive traffic that converts.  ROI is the magic word.  Usually, three- or four-word phrases convert better than one- or two-word phrases.  It’s more likely that they’re shopping rather than ‘just browsing.’

One-word nouns like “cars” aren’t great for focused traffic and you’ll be in heavy competitive territory.  If you aim to target these simple phrases, be prepared to develop massive amounts of content and to be in it for the long haul.  Try variations of the keyword – “cars,” “automobiles” to fight off saturation.


To flush out your list of keywords, add descriptors like brand, color, size and location information.  How do you win business offline?  Use those adjectives and adverbs to target search traffic online, too.

You probably want to try to limit yourself to 5 keywords of a similar theme when optimizing a page or section of your site.

After you have created the lists of keywords you want to target, the next step is to check your current ranking on these keywords.  This will help you benchmark your progress, as well as help you determine if your pages are currently ranking well.  There are various websites and pieces of software that can do this for you, or you can go to the top three search engines (Bing, Yahoo!, and Google) and perform searches by hand.  Record the results somewhere so that in a month or two following your initial site changes, you can measure your results.

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