Selecting the appropriate keyphrases is the first step in a successful SEO strategy. It’s an easy process, even if you’re doing your own SEO.
The first mistake many website owners make is to choose the most obvious keyphrase. For example, deciding to optimize your website for the term “assisted living” without first conducting any research. In many cases, a broad term like assisted living isn’t the best choice. For example, if your company runs one facility in one location, you’ll spend a lot of valuable time trying to optimize for a highly competitive term that won’t offer you the most benefit.
A few easy steps can help you determine the most appropriate keyphrases for your assisted living website.
- Make a list of possible keywords and keyphrases. Include geographical terms, such as Bellevue assisted living or Washington assisted living. Senior care is a very localized industry, and geographical terms are usually easier to rank for. If you have multiple facilities in different cities or different areas, you can optimize a page on your website for each geographic location. In order to simplify the process, research keyphrases for one area at a time.
- Use a tool, such as Google AdWords Keyword Tool or SEO Book Keyword Suggestion Tool (free registration required) to find the most frequently searched for keyphrases on your list. For example, a search for Bellevue assisted living on the Google Keyword Tool shows that there are 1,300 average monthly searches for that term. Also listed are closely related terms, which may give you more ideas. Narrow down your list to those with 1,000 or more monthly searches.
- Use Google’s search page to find out how many relevant websites appear in the search engine results page for each keyphrase. Using the example of assisted living, we find 1,200,000 results. Bellevue assisted living brings up 139,000 results.
In general, it’s easier to rank for terms with less competition. But you should also consider the quality of the competition by looking at the first page or two of Google search results. If you see low-quality or spammy sites in the top 10 or 20 results, it might be easy to beat those sites for ranking.
You should also consider the number of searches a term is getting. Obviously, the more searches, the greater your chances are of having visitors click through to your site. However, with greater search volume comes greater competition, so finding the right balance is key. There’s no hard or fast rule, and it really depends on your goals. For a longer keyphrase or a geographically-focused term, close to 1,000 or more monthly searches is a good number. For broad, general terms, you should look for a considerably higher search volume.
You can always hire an outside SEO agency to conduct research and optimize your site, and it’s likely that they would use a much more complex process to determine the best keyphrases for your assisted living website. But if you’re going the do-it-yourself route, these few simple steps can help you select keyphrases that will bring you good results.
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