Choosing the Right SEO Keywords: A Non-Robot Perspective

Robot for Choosing SEO Keywords PostThis is part of The Beginner's Guide to Search Engine Optimization series, written for humans, not robots. Today, we're talking about choosing the right SEO keywords.

Before you start writing, you need to decide which keywords you want to focus on. These are the terms people would search to find your page.

SEO is about having a laser focus, so choosing your terms before writing is essential. Here are a few tips for choosing the right keywords:

Don't be too broad or too specific

It's important that the term you choose is broad enough that a lot of people will search for it, but narrow enough that you have a decent chance of getting a high search rank for it.

For example, the term “Internet” is way too general. However, “Ways to Succeed in Launching a Business on the Internet” is a pretty good one. Likewise, so is the term “Africa” (sites like Wikipedia will often dominate these spots). Though, “Best safari tours in Kenya” is a much better term to focus on.

Focus on what you're already writing about

SEO favors the “drip method” of content creation, which means that it takes time and frequency to make it to the top of a search query (according to Seth Godin, this is “the secret of the web“).

If you're trying to get a high ranking on a keyword and you only intend to write about it once, you're most likely going to fail. So pick something you write about often.

Look at your categories, article titles, and other content on your site. Are there common keywords that you're already writing on? Consider expanding on them in some way.

“But I write about everything…” No, you don't.

Do you write about early 20th century jazz music? Do you write about the mating habits of frogs? You don't write about everything.

Your writing has a focus. There are topics that you just naturally gravitate towards. Focus on what you're already writing about.

Do keyword research

Research? What?! That sounds like robot talk to me. Please understand that I'm using this term very loosely. If you just winced at the term “research” just try this: Use Google suggest, also called auto-complete.

Google suggestWhen you start typing a word into Google and it fills in the rest of the search for you, this is Google Suggest at work.

Before you finish, you'll see phrases that pop up as most relevant (and the occasional, ridiculous results). Start here before getting into more advanced forms of keyword research.

Once you get more comfortable, check out other Google tools, like the Adwords Keyword Estimator or Google Insight for Search.

Write, already!

I am prone to buyer's remorse. This affects every decision that I make, including how I blog. Once I choose a keyword to focus on, I think of 100 other terms I could have chosen. I start second-guessing myself.

Why? Mostly, because I'm scared; I'm avoiding the hardest part of writingdoing it.

Don't spend a ton of time on this stuff. Do a little research, think through the terms that you'll focus on, and then get to it. Don't let this turn into Resistance for you.

No more procrastination. It's time to write that post.

For more on keywords and writing SEO content for humans, read: 5 SEO tips for bloggers that won't make people gouge their eyes out.

Once you've chosen the right keywords, then it's time to start writing.

What questions do you have about choosing the right keywords? Do you have any best practices to share?

For more SEO tips, read this: The Beginner's Guide to Search Engine Optimization

*Photo credit: Kevin (KB35 on Flickr)