Define your keywords
Getting to the 'top of the search results' is great, but what terms do you want to be #1 for? Getting lots of visits and leads from irrelevant keywords is not going to help your business, and it may even cost you money and time.
- Get specific
- Be prepared to iterate
- Keep being specific, keep iterating
1.Which phrases and keywords are people searching for?
Start by making yourself a list of keywords you think people would use to find your business. If you get stuck then sit a few family members & friends in front of Google and ask them to enter some terms they'd use to find your products and services. Take polite & grateful notes of the terms they use - some of them will be totally off the wall, but if you snort at those you'll never get the good ones.
Once you've got yourself a list of 10-15 phrases it's time to do a bit of research.
Some of your phrases might be highly competitive, some might be highly searched for ( not necessarily the same ones ), and some might just be something that only your slightly mad uncle would use in a search.
2. How can you differentiate worthwhile keywords from bad?
It would be hugely disappointing to work on optimising your site for keywords that are rarely searched for - even if they're highly relevant to your market - so make sure you're targeting a market that exists.
There are a few tools online that can help with this, and that can start you iterating and honing your keywords & phrases.
Try out Wordtracker.com. You need to sign up for a free account, but you can then check out the estimated traffic for your keywords and it will suggest other phrases around the topic.
Search in Google - how many Adwords adverts show up? If you see lots then it is probably a highly valuable term with a good conversion rate. If you have an Adwords account then use the Keyword Planner to get more accurate data.
This will save you the effort of optimising your website for phrases that people rarely search for, and it will suggest other related key phrases to target.
3. Iterate those phrases & keywords
Once you've generated some content around your keywords track the results in your analytics package, see if you get more traffic and see if that traffic converts. Loop back to step 1 and keep looping through.