#seo411 Recap: Choosing Keywords for SEO

By Amanda Sides | Mar 31, 2010
More Articles by Amanda


Yesterday, Search Mojo hosted its second #seo411 Twitter chat session, Choosing Keywords for SEO. Last week we discussed SEO from a more general perspective, so the next step in the process would be selecting the keywords you want to optimize. This can be a tricky process, and is the foundation of your strategy, so you want to approach it correctly. Everything from research tools to aligning your keyword strategy with your site content was discussed in this week’s chat.

We want to thank all of our #seo411 participants for the great discussion surrounding Choosing Keywords for SEO. These chat sessions wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for you guys! Here’s a quick recap of what went down yesterday afternoon.

Q1: What are your favorite tools for SEO keyword research? Why?

The Google External Keyword Tool was popular during the discussion. The tool is great for coming up with related keywords and their estimated search traffic; it’s great for determining search traffic differences between two search terms. Other tools mentioned were Market Samurai, Keyword Elite 2.0, and SEO Link Assistant. You can also get SEO keyword ideas based on Analytics and/or PPC data; try looking at your best converting keywords, they may convert well for SEO too.

Q2: Should you use the same keywords for SEO and PPC?

General consensus was sometimes… if you want to cover more SERP real estate, and have more visibility for a certain keywords (such as brand-specific); you want to own your brand terms in both SEO and PPC. However, sometimes you may not want to advertise on the same keywords that you optimize for with SEO, the segment of users may differ.

Q3: Should SEO keywords be more long tail, or more broad?

Broad keywords bring in more traffic, and long tail keywords are more targeted, so which route would you choose? You want to bring in a lot of targeted traffic, so choosing long tail keywords with more broad keywords within them kills 2 birds with 1 stone.

Q4: What do you think makes a good keyword for SEO?

Try to stick with keywords that are targeted to what you offer, but aren’t too broad. Just remember that these keywords need to be integrated into the site content, so choose what fits best.

Q5: How do you make sure there are no inconsistencies w/ keyword strategy & content? What are your biggest challenges with this?

From the beginning, try to direct your clients in the right direction with their keyword choices, you don’t want to choose unrelated keywords that aren’t found in the site content, or can’t easily be edited into the site content. A big challenge is convincing the site owner that breaking up their content into more targeted pages is worth the return on their time.

Q6: Do you base your content off of your SEO keywords, or choose your SEO keywords based off of your site content?

A good way to approach this is by basing keyword selections off of the site copy as well as the company’s focus; sometimes copy doesn’t reflect the message well, so you can’t just go on that. You could also use “reverse engineering” by finding the most popular targeted keywords and then compiling content around it.

Q7: What do you think about using misspellings of your brand as SEO keywords? Do it? Don’t do it?

An all-around NO. If you choose misspellings for your SEO keywords, you’ll have to incorporate the misspellings into your site content, so stick with covering those variations with PPC.

Q8: How many keywords should be on your SEO target list? Is there a limit?

There is no limit to how many keywords you can optimize for, but you should limit to about 10, some say 20, keywords to focus on at a time. As long as you have a page of content that matches the keyword, you can optimize it for SEO, but a short list will help you know which keywords are the highest priority.

Q9: Do you think you should include competitors’ brand names in your keyword list?

It’s unlikely that you’ll outrank your competitor; brands usually have a firm hold on their own name in SERPs. You’d have to have a comparison landing page on site to have any chance at all. Also, keep in mind how likely it would be that you’d convert the conquested traffic.

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Thanks again to all of our followers who help make our #seo411 chats successful! I hope everyone will spread the word and join us next Tuesday (4/6/10) at 2pm ET for our next chat session: #seo411: How Website Content Factors into SEO.

View the full #seo411 chat schedule

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