Q and A: What keywords should I be optimizing for?

QuestionDear Kalena…

I’m not sure about keywords. Should the most used keywords be used to promote a website to the search engine, or least used words?


Great question Florence,

There is a great deal of confusion over how to go about selecting which keywords to optimise, and part of the confusion is because there is not really a “correct” answer.  The keywords to choose for optimisation will depend on what you are offering, what your goals are, the niche you are targeting, and may very well include  high volume (popular) keyword phrases or low volume (long tail) keywords – or a combination of both.

At first, it might seem obvious that the high volume phrases should be the ones that are most important, as these are likely to generate the most amount of traffic.  But high volume phrases also tend to be more competitive, and you are likely to find it much more challenging to achieve good rankings for these phrases.  Also be aware, that high volume phrases might also be more “general” in nature, and the people using these phrases may be more likely to be in “research” rather than “buy” mode, so even if you get the visit, they may be less likely to follow through with a sale.

Lower volume phrases, tend to be more specific, and are also likely to be much easier for you to achieve good rankings.  Low volume phrases (which are often known as “long tail” keywords) are also more likely to have a higher conversion rate, and although generating less traffic may actually provide you with more sales.

Ultimately, the keywords you optimise for should be the ones that convert the best – i.e. the ones that result in the most sales, leads or enquiries.  You should be able to determine this by analysing your site usage statistics (analytics), or if you are running a Paid Advertising (PPC) Campaign, you can look at the types of keywords that are generating sales – these are the keywords that you should be optimising for organic search.

Andy Henderson
WebConsulting (Brisbane SEO Consultant)

Spread the joy!