SEO Basics – The Reality Check of Keywords
You are free, of course, to optimize your website for any set of keywords or key phrases you wish. However, there are certain considerations to keep in mind.
Be realistic about your keyword choices. It's always better to optimize your page for keyword phrases rather than just one keyword. For one thing, searchers tend to search by phrase, not just by one word. For another thing, it is highly unlikely that you will drive the kind of targeted traffic you are seeking to your website based on one word. For example, if you really want to be found for the word "chocolate," do you really think you can compete with Hersheys.com? Not to mention that Google has 162,000,000 sites in its database for "chocolate." On the other hand, what if you specialized in fine handmade chocolate and you had a candy store in New Jersey? In Google, the competition for "handmade chocolate New Jersey" is significantly lower at 61,600 entries. Not only that, chances are those who are searching for that keyword phrase are exactly the people you are trying to attract to your store - people who are actually looking for your type of site and more apt to buy something from you. So, if you are Duffy"s Delicious Candies from Gloucester City, New Jersey, it turns out that you can compete for "chocolate," at least if it is part of a relevant, targeted keyword phrase.
When choosing the best keywords to optimize for a website, there are a number of factors to consider. Primarily, it is good practice to match as closely as possible the actual content of your site. However, it is not the best practice to concentrate on keywords that are vague or too generic. Two other factors of prime importance involve numbers. In the first instance, it is important to target keywords that people are actually searching for in significant numbers. In the second case, it is preferable to compete against fewer sites if you wish to capture those searchers who are looking for a particular keyword phrase.
Lets explore the keyword "glasses," for instance. Every month many people search for this keyword but the word is far too generic and also vague. Many of those searches tend to revolve around eye glasses more than glassware. Glassware, as well, is a bit too generic. There also happens to be 24,800,000 sites related to glassware in the Google database. There are significant numbers of searchers who are looking for wine glasses and for martini glasses, so it would seem logical to optimize for one of those key phrases, if that's what you sell. There are more searches for wine glasses compared to martini glasses; however, there is also a great deal more competition for that phrase. What if you specialize in hand painted wine glasses? Your competition drops from 4,240,000 entries in Google for wine glasses down to 208,000 for "hand painted wine glasses."
In conclusion, the process of keyword selection is the process of matching key phrases which reflect your site's content, but making sure that the optimized keywords reflect what people are searching for. Just as important however is the selection of keywords that are easier to compete for, improving your chances over that of your competition of capturing your targeted market. This is called niche marketing, with the ultimate goal of capturing that slice of the pie that represents the audience who is seeking your particular product or service.