KeywordsDeveloping winning keyword strategies is critical to the success of your internet marketing campaigns — both search and social media marketing. Here is a guide to help you develop effective keyword strategies for your organization:

Make a game plan

Keywords are words and phrases people enter in search engines to find information on the Internet. They influence how often and how high your web site appears in search engine results. Your goal is to score higher rankings, so choose your keywords with care. Think, plan and research; it’s worth the time to strategically select the best words.

Use phrases, not single words

The term keywords is misleading. Single words seldom make effective keywords. Phrases work far more efficiently. Imagine how frustrating it would be to look for your favourite hockey team by simply typing Leafs. Toronto Maple Leafs is a far more powerful keyword. Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team is even better.

Think like a customer

Select the keywords that your customers will type, instead of the products or services that you offer. For example, a customer seeking playoff tickets would type Toronto Maple Leafs playoff tickets, not Toronto Maple Leafs box office.

Avoid generic terms

Every keyword is designed to assist prospective clients to find your product or service quickly and easily. General terms that refer to many different industries, like management team and consultant, deliver broad, unfocused results. The best keywords are exclusive to your industry.

Target keywords strategically

Don’t fight the battle, win the war. Let your competitors waste their efforts feuding over the ultra-competitive phrases. They’ll compete with thousands (perhaps millions) of other sites. For the same time and money they spend fighting for a single top ranking for your industry’s most popular phrase, you could win top rankings on twenty other phrases.

Select tightly focused phrases

The trick to attracting serious visitors is to use niche keywords, detailed phrases specific to your organization. For example, changing a web-wide search for Leafs jersey to autographed Mats Sundin Toronto Maple Leafs jersey on pages from Canada reduced the results from 2.3 million to 12,000. These targeted phrases are a magnet for motivated prospects who know exactly what they want. If they find it on your site, your chances for a sale soar. In fact, adding the word buy to a Canadian search for autographed Mats Sundin Toronto Maple Leafs jersey brings up only 650 listings! Niche keywords yield more sales per visitor because they attract buyers, not window-shoppers.

Use broad terms to get links

Search engines are one way to attract visitors to your site. Directories are another. A directory is a collection of web sites, just as the Yellow Pages is a listing of phone numbers. If directories are hitting the top of the list with your industry’s most popular phrases, why not piggyback on those top listings. Many directories are willing to add your name and a link to your site.

Brainstorm for keywords and variations on your keywords

Consider all the different ways you can express your collection of keywords. Think of variations like player, players, playoffs and playing. Substitute different endings, like ‘ing’ and ‘ed’. Use nouns (things) and verbs (action words). Don’t forget variations on the acronyms and short forms common to your organization (i.e. NHL, N.H.L.) Search the Internet for businesses like yours and hunt for good keywords on these sites. Ask your friends, family and colleagues what words they would use to find your web site. Look up your keywords in a thesaurus and a dictionary to discover new keyword combinations. Try www.yourdictionary.com. Then sit down with a highlighter and shortlist twenty to thirty of the most promising keywords.

Test your keywords

Once you’ve chosen your keywords, it’s time to test how well they perform. This step shows you who you’re competing against and how you measure up. If your site isn’t winning enough searches, fine-tune the keywords. What makes you different? What makes you better? Evaluate your unique strengths and assets and find the niche keywords to promote them. Let our team help your team.

Monitor and update your keywords regularly

Search engines prefer keywords that are reviewed and updated regularly. That’s only one reason to check your keywords often. Another is to keep you on top of changes. Over time, the effectiveness of your keywords can fluctuate and new keywords can emerge. Play the game right. Monitor and update your keywords regularly.

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