Developing a Strategy for What Keywords to Target
SEO it's not about ranking number one in Google: it's about ranking well for keywords that have a decent search volume per month. To achieve this you need to develop a strategy for what keywords you need to target that work for your business.
You can build your online business only if you have enough traffic to your website. Now, you can get traffic from organic searches (the healthy way), from social media networks or from paid methods (PPC, paid links or paid banners). No matter how you do it you need traffic that is relevant and that also converts. This basically means that you need high volume traffic of readers that are actually interested in your products, services, expertise.
Any other type of traffic will only increase the bounce rate and will do you more damage than good.
target only keywords that offer decent search volume
How many times you've heard businesses brag about how they are number one in Google for some strange long-tail term that has actually under 100 searches per month or almost none? SEO it's not about ranking number one in Google: it's about ranking well for keywords that have a decent search volume per month.
Now, the monthly search volume for a keyword that would interest you depends on your market and your business. You have to realize that the bigger the search volume it's a big chance to meet bigger competition. If the search volume is great and the competition is low then something is wrong: basically means that even thou those keywords can generate traffic will probably have a low conversion rate and that is why to few target them.
When I start creating a strategy and I'm choosing what keywords to target I look at the search volume and the competition. Beginning with keywords that have up to 10,000 searches per month usually leads to a maximum of 3 million pages competition. This is the number that I consider to be the first level that you have to pass. Ranking well on keywords that have 3 million competitors on Google represents a good foundation to build on.
Start with long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are phrases made up of 4, 5 or maybe more keywords. These kinds of keywords offer less competition and usually, it's not so difficult to rank well for. The thing that you'll have to pay attention to is what long-tail keywords to target. Why? Unless these terms don't generate a decent search volume it's not worth the effort. Always target only keywords that generate traffic.
You may be wondering how to find long-tail keywords that are being searched. I usually start with a very high search volume keyword (mostly made from 2 words) that also has huge competition. I take that phrase and starting to add qualifiers: it can be about the location (where is your business located or where do you deliver), or about pricing (affordable, cheap, low cost, luxury) or any other particular things that the business offers related to that search term(professional, services).
Knowing the business and its products help a lot in developing search terms. Long-tail keywords are great because it incorporates the high competitive term and also offer low competition and easy ranking. No matter if a search term is highly competitive you have to start using it: in titles, in description metatags in the text of your pages or in long-tail keywords. All these actions will count in the big picture in time.
Another thing to take into consideration is on what pages to target long-tail keywords. As a rule, use those keywords on pages that can be reached from 3 clicks or more. Google weights different your pages depending on how many clicks it takes to get to those pages. More clicks mean less important and giving the fact that long-tail keywords have low competition on Google it's best to use it here.
What kind of keywords you should target on the main page
I've already mentioned above that Google assigns weight values to your pages. This means that some pages are more important for Google than others. The page that plays the main role in your website is your home page. This is the place where you should target the most important keywords for your business or for your website - if you have multiple keywords in mind choose the ones with the highest competition.
To get to a certain page of your website you obviously have to click some links. Try to develop an architecture of links where you don't have to click more than 4 or maximum 5 links to get to a page. 5 it's a lot. Why? Because Google will think that those pages are not that important to you and that is why are not that important to Google.
As a general rule (or tip or advice) is to target the long tail terms on pages that have a lower weight. Target the keywords with the highest competition on the pages that have the highest weight on your website. This means pages that are one click away or maximum 2. You'll have to decide how to group keywords depending also on how relevant are to your business - this kind of decisions can really make the difference in SEO.
Check who you are fighting against
Even if the competition is low on a keyword phrase you should check it out on Google. Why I'm advising you to do this: if the first page of Google search results is full with huge websites or with authority blogs in your market then you should reconsider targeting that keyword. At least for a while. Realizing who exactly is your competition is an act of intelligence. This way you can save time that you could invest in developing content to target other keywords.