My keywords are hurting my business!

Hey, you say, aren’t keywords supposed to be good for me?

We know that keywords are the foundation on which any SEO strategy is build. The pages you will create are optimized around the keywords, the content you will create will be focused around those keywords, the links you build will be to those keyword pages, and you will syndicate and promote those same keyword pages across relevant user, web and social communities.

So this brings us to the conclusion that choosing the right keywords can make or break your SEO campaign ahead.

Some examples of wrong keywords:

1. The keyword has very little or no traffic 2. The keyword has not been searched for in the past 2 years 3. The keyword shows a downward trend over the years 4. The keyword has nothing to do with your business, or the services/products you offer 5. The keyword is VERY competitive (you don’t want to spend the next few years chasing a keyword) 6. The keyword cannot translate into a conversion for your business

How to choose the right keywords?

Choosing keywords has nothing to do with your understanding of your business. While this is a bold statement to make, choosing the right keywords is more about studying statistical, analytical and factual data of the keywords performance and user behavior over years.

So let’s see how we can overcome the wrong keyword traps.

1. The keyword has very little or no traffic

There are many tools that let can help you understand the traffic potential of the keyword you plan to choose. Google Adword gives a free tool that can be very useful in understanding the traffic potential (volumes in last month, local volume, and global volume) for your keyword. In addition you can check out the competition you will probably face in targeting that keyword. You will also find various permutations and combinations of your keyword and their traffic potential, and decide to choose a better keyword that is a traffic puller as well as has minimum competition. If the keyword does not show up with traffic numbers (as in case of keyword with very low volume), then it’s time to analyze your keyword again. There are a variety of paid tools as well, but I am mostly an advocate for the free stuff.

2. The keyword has not been searched for in the past 2 years

If your keyword has not been search for in the past, it’s unlikely that the keyword will suddenly start attracting traffic, unless you have some inside information into a new trend.

Using Google Adword tool in point above, and using another tool like Google Insights you will get an idea into the history and performance of those keywords. Google Insights gives you keyword volume percentage, and a graph which shows the trend of keyword usage from 2004 till date. It can also tell you which countries show maximum usage of the keyword, and permutation and combinations of the keyword with traffic volume. I have found many right keywords using this tool.

3. The keyword shows a downward trend over the years

If the keyword you plan to choose is showing a downward spiraling trend, its best to avoid that keyword. Targeting a keyword takes a long time, effort and patience (not to forget money), and in that time the keyword could become worthless.

Using Google Trends you can predict rising or falling interest in your keyword, industry, geography, business etc. Used in combination with Google Adword and Google Insights you will be more capable of predicting the traffic potential of a keyword.

Another great place for checking the trends is on a site like Twitter There are millions of people talking about everything under the sun. Search for your keyword and see if people are talking about it, and what they are saying. Some very useful keyword hints can come out this effort, not to mention some good contacts.

Enter your keyword in the search box. Check if there are any Blogs, Lenses, and Forums etc about the topic. Spending some time on these sites can give you insightful information into keyword usage, variations and possible trends. Even better, invest some time and participate in these sites.

4. The keyword has nothing to do with your business, or the services/products you offer

This seems silly, but you will be surprised with the number of keywords that lead to a page that has nothing to do with the information you are searching for. Before we blame the search engines, look deep into your own list of keywords. Do all of them relate to your business, products and services? Or are some just attractive as they pull lots of traffic?

5. The keyword is VERY competitive (you don’t want to spend the next few years chasing a keyword)

Personally I stay away from very competitive keywords unless your business depends on it or your pride. In my case I want to rank #1 for the keyword “seo expert”. It’s very competitive, but very relevant so I don’t mind spending a year or so chasing it. But would I spend my time trying to rank for the keyword “seo”? You get it.

6. The keyword cannot translate into a conversion for your business

There is a lot of time that needs to be invested in choosing the right keywords, analyzing their traffic potential, studying their competition, following their trends and usage. Now what if you manage to rank well for those keywords, only to realize the traffic from certain keywords just does not convert into business. Check to see if the keywords you are targeting will attract buyers or window shoppers.

Avoiding these pit falls will help you target the right keywords, and then the next step is to build a SEO expert strategy around those winning keywords.

About the Author

Nevil Darukhanawala, Seo Expert India , and Author of <a href=”http://www.seo-optimization-experts.com/seoblog.html”Zen of SEO