How to Choose a Main Keyword Phrase

March 31, 2010

A main keyword phrase (kp) is the most important part of your SEO campaign. This is the phrase you would like potential customers to use to find your website in the search engines. It is used as an anchor text to link back to your website. It must also appear as is without any variations, at least 3-5 times on your homepage.

A main kp normally consists of 3-4 words. Any more or less will dilute the effect your SEO campaign. A main kp can take two main forms:

  1. Geo-target Line of Business e.g. Dallas car insurance
  2. Line of Business in Geo-target e.g. Car insurance in Dallas

The geo-target can be a city, county or state. It can be the city your main offices are in, a place that you would like to attract a larger customer base from or a new area that you would like to break through to. If you cover multiple cities then the county that encompasses all of them or even your state will be beneficial.

Some things to consider when choosing a geo-target:
  • A city is what most potential customers search by. If it is a common name, it may be necessary to add a qualifier, eg. the "TX" in Dallas TX Car Insurance.
  • Consider the number of search results in your decision. Do a search in Google for the different geo-targets with the line of business, and see how many other companies/entities you are competing with. The larger the area, the more entities you are competing against e.g. State vs. City. If the results run in the millions then it may not make sense to pursue that keyword. Consider adding a qualifier or changing the geo-target altogether to reduce the number of results.
  • Choosing a lesser known or smaller city will get you to the top of search engines faster as there are not many entities you are competing with. However, that may also mean that less people will consider using a smaller city to search by.
  • Not many people search for insurance by county; however, if you feel it most accurately describes your geo-target then go for it.
  • Choosing a state as a geo-target will have the largest pool of competitors. You should think seriously about choosing a state, as this will take longer to show favorable results.

Some things to consider when choosing a line of business:
  • Choose a line of business that you want to attract the most new customers with.
  • Choose a line of business that you can guarantee will get most the new customers and then entice them with another line of business once you have them.
  • Consider the number and kind of competitors for that line of business; if you have numerous competitors in your area who concentrate on auto insurance, then it may be viable to focus on something else like home insurance which may get you to the top of search engines faster.

Bear in mind that the main kp you choose is not the be all and end all of your SEO campaign. With this type of 'natural' SEO, it can take up to a month or two to see favorable results. However if you find after two or three months, this main kp is not working for you, then change it to another geo-target or line of business.

You can also create secondary and tertiary kps. These are normally in the form of the same geo-target but with different lines of business. You can add these to the page keywords or anywhere else it is necessary.

As with all SEO, no guarantees can be made with regards to results. Consult your SEO Coordinator to determine what is best for your agency.

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