I know many bloggers who are obsessed with getting to the top of Google for their target keywords. Unfortunately, geting to the front page may not do you a darn thing. How can I say this? Sadly, I’ve been there.
When I founded my first website, Engineer-a-Business I chose a few keywords that I thought would work well for me. One of my primary keywords was “engineer business.”
Why did I choose this keyword? Well it seemed like it made sense because it was the same name as my website. Also, according to Google it received about 19,000 searches a month.
So I worked for six long months optimizing for that keyword. After all that hard work, I eventually got my site to the front page. What did that do for me? Unfortunately, it didn’t do me much of anything.
After doing IM for a while, I realized that I made two key mistakes:
- I looked at the wrong traffic estimates. When I looked at the traffic from Google, I was looking at all searches using that keyword. I should have used the Exact Match feature with the Keyword Research Tool. If I had done that, I would have seen that only about 400 people were actually searching for the term “engineer business.”
- I failed to look at conversions. This was admittedly a very dumb thing to do on my part. I was creating a social networking site for technology entrepreneurs. Would technology entrepreneurs interested in building networking opportunities likely be using the keyword “engineer business?” Probably not. There were plenty of much better keywords I could have targeted instead. Something along the lines of “social networking entrepreneurs” would even have created some decent conversions. Many entrepreneurs coming to my site searching for that keyterm would likely have been working on some kind of technology venture.
- Don’t optimize for your site or business name. Most people are not going to be searching for your website. Even if you have a name that does get searched for quite a bit, you shouldn’t optimize for it if it isn’t an accurate depiction of what you are selling.
- Use the exact match feature in the keyword tool. There is nothing worse than optimizing for a term that doesn’t give you any real traffic. Unfortunately, I found out the hard way how misleading the search traffic estimates can be. You need to look at the exact match to see how many people are really searching for that keyword.
- Always think conversions. This is obviously a very big part of search engine marketing. You aren’t going to benefit from doing SEO if you are optimizing for a keyword that doesn’t convert. Gauging the conversions you are likely to receive is one of the most subjective measures of SEO. You will need to use your own judgment. Start by asking yourself what people would normally be thinking of when they type a certain keyword into Google. Maybe half of them will be relevant to your niche and the other half are looking for something else. Once again, it’s subjective. But it’s definitely something that needs some thought.