While many factors influence the rankings of a web site, any search engine optimization effort isn’t worth even a second of your time without one and single unknown: relevant and competitive keywords.
Let’s examine an example: a local moving company decided to optimize its website. It knows (or assumes that it does) that the most popular keywords for their type of business are “movers” and “moving”. At a first glance, looks like everything’s fine: the keywords seem to be relevant, and should produce good results. However, there are two mistakes made here.
The first one is keyword relevancy. What’s the use for our local moving company of people that are looking for “movers” or “moving” in Denver, CO, Boston, MA or New York, NY, if they are located and offering services in and around San Francisco only?
Another mistake is keyword effectiveness. It’ll take much more time and effort to get top rankings for such popular and competitive general keywords as “moving” and “movers” than to get same results for something more specific and relevant, such as “movers San Francisco” or “moving San Francisco”. Not only are these keywords more likely to convert visitors to buyers, but also it’s a much easier and less time-consuming task.
If the world we live in consists of atoms, the smallest and most important particles in search engine optimization world are keywords. In fact, there’s nothing complicated about them, if one remembers three things about keywords: relevancy, effectiveness and Wordtracker.
Wordtracker.com is an UK based company that offers an irreplaceable search engine marketing service tool: keyword research and analysis. It helps to find and pick keywords that are both relevant and competitive. Relevant mean that the keywords are related to your website, and that these are the words people are typing in Google, Yahoo or MSN in order to find your kind of business. Another important factor in determining a “good” keyword is its effectiveness. Let’s say we have a keyword “movers” which has a record of appearing in Google search list for 1009 times; there are 15400000 different web pages competing for this keyword. This means that this keyword’s effectiveness index is 1009/15400000=0.066. This index shows that the keyword is far too competitive and you’ll probably end up somewhere in the middle of Google’s search results if you try to optimize your webpage for this particular keyword. A rule of thumb is to find keywords that are quite popular and at the same time have fewer webpages competing for them. A good keyword is considered to have an effectiveness index of over 100, although anything in between 10 and 100 can be targeted as well.
Needless to say, without having the right keywords that are both relevant and competitive it’s impossible to succeed in any search engine optimization campaign. Without knowing your niche words, you’ll probably end up competing against web sites with thousands of inbound links optimized by search engine optimization gurus and will be lost in millions of search results – no one will even ever find out you exist. On the other hand, all it takes to get your web traffic from 0 to couple hundreds a day might be something as simple and cost-effective as Wordtracker.