So you have a site concept developed that you are ready to start writing great content for.
So what's the next step?
It's time to develop your " master keyword list " which you will use to craft your WebPages. These are the words or phrases you would like to get ranked high in the search engine's for and get the free targeted traffic that this will bring to your website.
It is not enough to simply "pluck" words from the air and start writing your web pages. You need to carefully select which words and phrases to target.
Food for thought:
What if there are already 10 billion web pages about your chosen keyword(s)?
Do you think a small business owner can compete with large companies who invest millions of dollars into their SEO strategies for highly competitive, high traffic keywords?
Obviously the answer is no but there is a bright side to the equation if you are willing to invest time into researching your keyword phrases carefully. You will want to choose "niche" keywords that offer a combination of high traffic and low competition.
This of course is easier said than done but it can be accomplished as long as you use some of the help that is available on the internet.
Here are a couple of first steps, tips and tools you can use to put together a list of niche keywords for the website topic that you have developed.
1. Keyword Brainstorming and Research
Think of throwing out a "wide net" here and try to write down as many keywords and phrases (consisting of 2-4 words) that are related to your Website Concept as you can.
Take each one of these words/phrases and visit: http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/
Type the first keyword phrase into the " Get suggestions for :" box and hit the search button.
This will return you a list of words and phrases that are similar to your keyword phrase and also provide you with the number of searches for each of these results on the Yahoo-Overture network for the month.
Copy all of the keyword phrases that you think best suit your site concept along with the search data into a text file or spreadsheet. Save this file as your " master keyword list ".
Note: Some of the results will be totally unrelated to your site concept you do not need to copy these into your "master keyword list".
Repeat this process for all of the keyword phrases that you initially brainstormed. By the end of this process you should have a "master keyword list" of several hundred or thousand words and phrases.
Google provides a free keyword research tool as well but does not provide the search statistics that Yahoo-Overture does. Augment your keyword list with any results that you find relevant using this tool. http://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordSandbox
2. Refine Your Keyword List Part 1
You need to shorten your keyword list to a tightly targeted and highly profitable subset of your master keyword list. These are going to be the words you use when crafting your web pages for the search engines.
Start by performing searches for each keyword phrase in your master keyword list at: http://www.google.com
Google will tell you the total number of sites it has indexed for the keyword phrase that you are searching for. Copy this number into your master keyword list for each keyword phrase.
You will now have the data for the number of searches on the Yahoo-Overture network for the month and the number of competing websites for each keyword phrase in your list.
Think of these numbers as supply(websites) and demand(# of searches) . Finding the supply/demand number for each keyword phrase will help you decide which one's you want to target.
You will have to use your own judgement here depending on your goals and the amount of traffic you would like to generate. Make sure you have a nice mix high traffic and niche keyword phrases in your master keyword list.
It's not that useful to be ranked #1 for a keyword that only gets 5 searches a month. Similiarly, it is very hard to achieve high rankings for high traffic keyphrases because there is going to be a lot of competition.
Trim your keyword phrase list down to 50-100 entries and get ready for step 3.
3. Analyze the Competitor's Backlinks
There are 3 purposes to this analysis: analyzing whether a chosen keyword space is too competitive, identifying potential link partners (to be used in a later lesson), and to trim your "master keyword list" down to 15-20 keywords that have a reasonable level of competition.
To get started take the first term in your master keyword list and perform a search for it at: http://www.google.com
Note: we are only going to be interested in the "top 10" results for each keyword phrase since our goal is to get listed on the first page of results for our target keywords.
Our goal from this analysis is to find out how "established" your competition is in your chosen keyword marketplace. An analysis of the number of sites that link to your competitor should give you an initial indicator of how important their website is to the world. If a lot of websites are linking to your competitor they must be providing valuable content or a useful tool/service.
To find out who is linking to your competitor visit: http://www.uptimebot.com and enter the first domain from the Google Search results into uptimebot's search bar.
Uptimebot will then query all of the major search engine's and return a report showing the number of links the domain has pointing to it. A site with a lot of backlinks to it must be an information hub and therefore very important.
Perform this uptimebot search for all of the "top 10" competitors from your initial Google search results.
If you are finding that the sites in the search results have several 1000 backlinks to them you will know right away that you are going to have a hard time getting a high ranking for that keyword since a large number of links suggests that the site is already a well established information hub in that keyword marketplace.
Uptimebot also provides you with a link to the search results showing you the actual websites that are linking back to your competitor. Visit as many of these sites as you can and try to identify which ones have complimentary content to your site. You may want to consider contacting the owner's of those domains to request a link to your site.
4. Refine Your Keyword List Part 2
After performing this analysis for each keyword phrase in your master keyword list eliminate the keywords that you identify as having too much competition (i.e. too many well established "hubs"). We will use this list in the next lesson to start writing your first web page
Using these tips you should now be able to tell which market's you will be able to compete in and which one's already have too many established information hubs to make it worth your while. You will also have a list of "complimentary" websites that you may want to consider requesting links from in the future to help boost your website's "link popularity".