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Keywords optimization: the key to an effective SEO strategy !

If you have a basic understanding of SEO, you probably know that keywords research (or optimization) is the foundation upon which an effective SEO strategy is built.

Keyword optimization is an extremely broad concept. Put simply, it encompasses the whole process of searching for, analyzing and eventually choosing the right keywords to attract relevant traffic to your website from search engines.
Although optimizing keywords is the first step to crafting a good SEO strategy, keyword optimization mustn't stop at just the first phase. Experienced SEOs understand that keyword optimization is a continuing process. You must continuously come up with new keyword options and opportunities to boost your website's ranking. By regularly researching and incorporating new keywords into your keywords database, you can further boost the traffic your website garners.

In the past, keyword optimization was restricted to just optimizing a single keyword, or two keywords, in cases where the website owner was adventurous. However, the way that keyword optimization has undergone a significant change over the years from the use of single keywords to the usage of hundreds or even thousands of different keywords.

This shift from individual and single words to a whole cluster of keywords (or what is also known as a concept) is attributable to a change in the behavior of search engine algorithms. Every day, search engines are looking for new ways to improve the user's search experience. When a user inputs certain keywords in a search engine, chances are they are more interested in the concept(s) that those keywords are related to than in the keywords themselves. Search engines understand this and, as such, try to link user queries to web pages containing concepts (or meaningful clusters of keywords) rather than to pages optimized for just one or more keywords.

The baseline then is that for your keyword optimization strategy to be effective, your focus should be on creating ideas, concepts or themes around your keywords in opposition to just optimizing for particular keywords.

Developing an effective keyword optimization strategy

Like we harped on before, keyword optimization is a crucial part of any search optimization strategy. If you go wrong with your keywords research, your whole SEO strategy is likely to fail. How then can you come up with a solid keyword research strategy? Here are some basic steps:

Collecting your core keywords

You probably know already what keywords are essential to your kind of business. If you don't have a list detailing those important keywords yet, start by making a broad list of keywords and keyword ideas that are relevant to your company.

Put yourself in the mind of your business' target audience and try to imagine, if you were them, how you would search for a business like yours. Let this inspire you to come up with the right keyword ideas. Think on whether you are interested in optimizing keywords solely to increase page views (traffic) or to encourage users to purchase your goods and services (conversions).

Even when you have the right idea of what keywords to use, selecting the right ones to use might still be a tad bit difficult because there are literally thousands and thousands of keywords out there. If you are having troubles with finding and choosing the right keywords, you can simply check out some keywords research tools. Popular ones include SEMrush, Google Display Planner, Wordstream and Google AdWords keyword Planner. Experiment with these tools till you are certain you have the perfect keyword ideas. What you have at this stage is a broad list of keywords relevant to your business.

Using the right qualifiers

Qualifiers (or modifiers) refer to words which are added to keywords to make them more specific. Qualifiers take on different forms. These include intent, time and date, price/quality,
and location. You will need to locate all the possible qualifier options which go along well with your keywords, and are attractive to your target audience. The keyword tools we mentioned before

(such as Wordstream and SEMrush) can be helpful when you are searching for qualifiers.

Finding “Google-appropriate" keywords

Once you have found the right qualifiers for your keyword idea, you want to check if they will work on Google. You can achieve this by introducing them to Google AdWords keywords planner which will whittle the number down to about 15 or 20 phrases. Google's tool also supplies you with the competition scores of these keyword phrases. Be sure to select the phrases that have the potential of ranking but aren't too competitive.

Ranking your chosen keywords

Now that you have a set of “Google-appropriate” keywords, your next concern will be to check how these phrases will rank on Search Engine Results Page (SERP). There are automated tools which can help you determine how keywords rank against competition. These tools express, on a scale of 1 – 100 points, the difficulties of ranking a certain phrase or keyword. A phrase with a score between 60 – 70 points is regarded as being competitive and is probably difficult to rank. Conversely, a phrase that racks up between 30 – 40 points is relatively less difficult to rank. Popular automated tools are Keyword Difficulty tool and Moz’s Keyword Difficulty Tool.

A much simpler way to check the competitiveness of a particular phrase is to search for it. A simple search shows you information like how competitive a specific phrase is, how competitors have optimized that phrase and the details of their optimization process. Using all these information, you can come up with an optimization plan to outrank competing websites.

This book simply outlines one method of developing a good keyword optimization strategy. There are doubtless some other methods which aren’t mentioned here but may equally be important for an effective optimization method.

However, irrespective of the method adopted, the focus of content developers and SEOs should be on creating themes and concepts around numerous keywords, in lieu of optimizing for just a few keywords.

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