Choosing keywords is one of the most important steps when setting up a website, because this can determine how much traffic the website gets from search engines. The website owner should focus on choosing keywords that are specific and not general, because general keywords may be hit or miss with visitors. Checking the number of average searches for the keywords also may help, because ranking for a keyword with few monthly searches may not be worth it. To see if the website owner can rank for keywords, he should check the number of backlinks that competitors have. If one keyword does not work well, then the website owner can try a variation of the keyword.
There are many general keywords, and a website owner may want to go for these keywords, because they often get searched more than specific keywords. A general keyword would be a word such as “computer”; it fits many niches and is very broad. While specific keywords usually have fewer searches, however, they typically fill the visitor’s needs much better. For example, most people do not look for the word “computer” in a search engine; they instead might search for something specific, such as “black high-resolution desktop computer.” Choosing keywords that are more specific usually delivers more relevant traffic.
Before choosing keywords, a website owner should check the number of monthly or daily searches with a keyword analytics program. This is because ranking a website for keywords takes time, and the website owner should only target keywords that will bring in enough visitors to be profitable. For example, unless he is targeting a relatively new niche with lots of buyers, keywords with 100 monthly searches often will not generate enough traffic to profit from. Better keywords typically start with around 1,000 searches and go up.
Most keywords are covered in search engines, so a website owner typically will have competitors who are ranking for the same keywords he is targeting. To rank his website, the owner should see how many backlinks his competitors have. Backlinks are links directed at a website, and they often determine — or, at least, greatly affect — search engine rankings. If a competitor has 300 backlinks or less, then the keyword generally is easier to rank for; if the competitor has a large number of backlinks, such as 10,000, it may take months or years to rank.
If a keyword does not work, either because there are not enough searches or it is too competitive, then the website owner may try a variation on the keyword. For example, the phrases “used red car” and “red used car” typically will have different search numbers and competition, even though the keywords are similar. This can help in choosing keywords if the keywords the website owner originally wanted are not suitable.