Brand new websites that are just beginning their SEO campaigns should undoubtedly begin with onsite SEO, the first step of which is keyword research. The keywords you choose (based on the content of your site) will ultimately help determine what search phrases your site rank for and what kind of searcher will find your site. Because new site’s don’t have 6 months of analytics to jumpstart their keyword research, here are 4 tips to keep you on track:
Use your competitors as a starting point.
If you’re website is relatively new, you don’t have a deep pool of analytics and data to base your keyword research on—the numbers just aren’t there yet an it’s hard to pull the right keywords from thin air. In order to get started with your onsite SEO, take a look at the competition and see what keywords and keyword variations they seem to be targeting. Older, more established sites that have been around the SEO block a few times have a pretty good idea on how their target audience is searching. While you shouldn’t assume their keywords are an exact match for your site, it’s as good a place as any to get started with your keyword research. You can always go back 6 months down the road and swap out under-performing keywords for new ones.
Don’t assume industry jargon is the best way to go.
A well optimized website should use a mix of broad and long-tail keywords, including industry jargon. Just because you know the language of your industry, company and products, that doesn’t mean your target audience does. They might be using a completely different set of keywords to look for your product/services. If you fail to take user intent into account when conducting your keyword research, you’re bound to miss the mark.
Consider who you are targeting.
Who is your target online audience? How do they use the Internet? What sites do they frequent? What are they looking for online? The better you can understand your online audience, the more you can think like them and the better you can steer your keyword research in the right direction. Just like any other marketing tactic, SEO is designed to make your website appealing to your audience. If you don’t know what they are looking for and how they are looking for it for you’ll never get your website off the ground.
Give your keywords time to perform.
Don’t assume that just because one particular keyword isn’t driving hundreds of visitors to your site overnight that you’ve completely missed the mark with your keyword research. SEO is a long term process and it can take a while to ramp up. I would recommend giving it at least three months before going in and really analyzing the data you accrued over that time. If you change keywords too quickly you’ll never really know what is and isn’t working.