As an SEO provider, you'd think that a keyword like "SEO" would be my number one priority, right? After all, that's the industry I work in, it's the services I offer and it's a keyword that could potentially generate a ton of business for my company. In the US alone, "SEO" gets well over 2.2 million searches each month--that translates into some serious revenue for a company that can own "SEO" in the SERPs. But as I have discussed before, a high search volume doesn't mean it's the right keyword for you. "SEO" may be an important keyword for me to target, but it isn't my number one priority.

One of the things that makes the SEO industry so unique is the sheer amount of players this industry supports. There are hundreds of SEO companies, consultants and experts across the country. Big agencies, one man operations, local SEO providers, industry specialists and more---and all of them are targeting "SEO" to a varying degree. But just like any keyword, only one company can be in the number one spot in the SERPs. In the case of "SEO," it's not even a company ranked number one; Wikipedia is! Think how many hundreds of SEO companies are pining after ranking in the top ten for "SEO;" I highly doubt most (if any) of them will make it. Does this mean they should give up on targeting "SEO"? Not at all! But it means their priorities need to change.

Let's say you own woman's clothing company that has both a physical and online store. Your physical store primarily serves customers in your town (maybe a few towns over if you carry really unique items) but you want to help your e-commerce site reach a more national audience. Obviously you sell things like dresses, blouses, skirts and so forth, so theoretically a keyword like "women's dress" would be a great keyword for you to target. After all, it's applicable to what you sell and you have plenty of content supporting your decision to target that keyword--but should it be a priority keyword?

In my opinion, a priority keyword is based on several factors. First and foremost, your priority keywords should be based on some of the more profitable products your company sells. But you have to temper the most profitable products with keywords that provide you with the most opportunity for success. Let's say your clothing boutique makes the most profit by selling dresses. Instead of just targeting "dresses," which is far too broad to make any real headway on a national level any time soon, niche it down to more specific, long tail keywords that still focus on your best selling/most profitable product but are a less uphill battle for your SEO. For instance, you could target keywords like "summer dresses," "casual dresses," "black dresses," "strapless dress" and so forth. These long tail keywords should be a priority over just "dresses." Obviously "dresses" is still going to be everywhere on your website and in your content, but it's not the most important keyword.

Your priority keywords can also evolve with the seasons (either physical or based on consumer behavior). It doesn't make much sense to keep "summer dresses" as a priority keyword in February, so maybe you target "sweater dresses" instead. Or maybe you do a push for "cocktail dresses" around New Year's Eve. Priority keywords don't have to be set in stone, and it could actually be potentially hazardous to your SEO if they are. You have to be willing to adapt to changes in users' search behavior to make sure your website has the best possible chance at success.

Prioritizing your keywords is especially important for sites that target many different niches or sell a lot of products (like an e-commerce site). There are so many different directions you could take with your SEO it's important to create some kind of road map to follow so you're always getting the most value for your efforts.

July 24, 2012

Nick Stamoulis is the President and Founder of Brick Marketing, one of the premier full service SEO firms in the United States. With over 12 years of experience Nick Stamoulis has worked with hundreds of companies small, large and every size in between. Through his vast and diverse SEO, search engine marketing and internet marketing experience Nick Stamoulis has successfully increased the online visibility and sales of clients in all industries.


the use of keywords to be able to master the SERP competition is important, but I still have not been able to do it, just keywords setandard just that I still use. a very good article, thank you

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