Finding the Correct Keywords for Your Content Is the Only SEO Technique That You Will Ever Need to Know

Even the most enthusiastic search engine optimization (SEO) expert will tell you: Finding correct content keywords is the most important SEO technique you will ever learn. You can employ myriad other techniques. But if you are optimizing your pages for inappropriate, unpopular or overly competitive keywords, you are wasting your time. Unfortunately, finding the correct content keywords can be a little tricky. After all, what makes a "good" keyword?

Interest should outnumber available pages

The holy grail of keyword research is to find keywords, or keyword phrases, where the number of people looking for that content outstrips the number of Web pages supplying it. Back in the 1990s, and even early in the new millennium, this wasn't hard to do. But the number of Web pages available online has exploded. More people are maintaining blogs. Search engines include transient content, such as comments made on social networks like Twitter. Now, competition for traffic to highly competitive keywords tends to outstrip the demand from people searching for that content.

Because this is the only SEO technique that you will ever need to know, a good place to start when looking for correct keywords for your content is the Google AdWords External Keyword Tool. Enter your keyword candidates, and Google returns its suggestions, showing the number of global and local searches for each during the past month. The trick is to remember that Google does not distinguish between singular and plural words, takes no notice of word order, and does not care whether the searches are a broad match or exact match to your keyword candidate.

To find out exactly how people are searching your keyword phrase, take the list of suggested variations and enter each of them in the query box inside quotation marks. This will give you a breakdown of the total number of global searches. Next, enter each of the phrases into Google, inside quotation marks, and you will see how many pages Google has indexed containing the exact phrase. This will tell you two things: exactly what people are searching for and where the gaps in content provision are.

Content should tightly focus on keyword phrase

Once you know which keyword phrases your potential readers are looking for, you can provide content tightly focused on the exact keyword phrase. Then you won't need to know much about any other SEO technique. You might want to read Google's Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide, but if you remember to add descriptive title tags and create a file naming structure that reflects the content of the pages, everything else should fall into place.

Google's advice is to write for human visitors primarily, and only secondarily for SEO. Their algorithms are improving all the time to weed out artificially targeted content. With advances in Latent Semantic Indexing, search engines are catching up with natural language use patterns. So focusing a page on a keyword phrase is not about ensuring the phrase or its constituent parts appear an exact number of times. There is no magic formula. It's about ensuring that the content you deliver matches the expectations of your human audience. Use the correct keywords for your content, and Google will be trying to find you. Use SEO optimization techniques, and you will forever be chasing them.

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