You know that SEO is absolutely essential because without it you’ll always be fighting to bring new visitors to your website. When you rank for great keywords that get searched for thousands of times per month you can relax a little.
Even though it would be nice to rank for hundreds of juicy keywords it doesn’t usually happen because people go about it the wrong way. The only thing they check is the Google Keyword Tool and they listen to whatever it says.
If you want to see great results you need to be a little smarter than that. You need to go after the keywords people don’t know about. You need to attack the keywords your competitor is ranking for. You also need to make sure the keywords will attract paying traffic because why would you spend months trying to rank for a keyword if it won’t make you any money?
Let’s take a look under the hood and go over some of the things you should be doing.
Test keywords with paid traffic
Imagine for a second that you’ve found a keyword you want to rank for. Why do you want to rank for it? You will never know if it will make you any money unless you test it first. Spend a little money on Google Ad Words and drive some traffic to your website, but make sure that you test your conversions. If a lot of people are buying your products or signing up to your list it means you should definitely try your hardest to rank for the keyword organically.
Use Alexa dot com
This is a cool little trick you can use to see what keywords your competitors are ranking for. Just type in Alexa dot com and when you get onto the homepage you can type in the domain name of one of your competitors.
Go down to the bottom-right corner of the page and it will tell you the keywords that are driving the most traffic to their site. These might not be keywords you will find in the Google Keyword Tool, so they should be easy to rank for.
Buy a keyword tool
Basic keyword tools can only go so deep and they will tell you a limited amount of information. If you spend some money and buy a premium keyword tool they are usually a lot better. Some of them have extra features that let you keep track of all the keywords you want to rank for, so you will know how close you’re getting to the number one spot.
If you are not sure you will probably be able to give most of them a trial run for a few weeks and you can decide if they are worth the money.
Go onto Google and type in a keyword you want to rank for and make sure it’s one of your main ones. After you see the results you should scroll down to the bottom and look at the foot of the page where you will see lots of ‘incoming search terms.’ Google associated these search terms with your main keyword, so if you use them on your website it will help tell Google exactly what you’re trying to rank for.
Old school tactics
When people used to carry out SEO in the past they would use silly tricks that don’t work anymore. They would bold and italicize their keywords then scatter them throughout the article. The main keywords would have H2 tags and they would be mentioned in the first and last sentences.
They might not work anymore, but you can go through your competitors’ articles and pick out the keywords they tried to rank for because they probably won’t have changed anything.
John Miller is an online marketing executive and works for a well-known SEO company. He indulges in blogging about SEO techniques in his spare time off from work.