The first step to developing any search engine optimization effort is picking keywords. The general consensus is pick keywords with solid amounts of traffic and a minimum of competition. At the risk of being laughed off the Internet, here’s a different view.
Going Big…Going VERY Big
Should you do research to identify keywords receiving lots of traffic? Absolutely. Of this group, should you identify the keywords with the lowest amount of competition? Again, yes. After all, who would be foolish enough to try to attack keywords with a few million competing sites? Well, me for one.
People that go for a keyword phrase like “for sale by owner” [2 million plus searches a month and KEI of 0.000000000…] are often dismissed as amateurs with unrealistic expectations. For those of us that have been in the business for some time, this bias deserves some reconsideration. The motivation is greed…pure and simple greed.
Seo greed is arises when one achieves top listings in Google, Yahoo and MSN for a site. Using the example above, assume the client is a car-listing site and you’ve conquered all the listings for “car for sale by owner.” Yes, it took 15 months, but the client is happy and so are you. Or are you?
After a few weeks, you start thinking, “Damn, I should have gone for the phrase ‘for sale by owner’ and the extra 700,000 searches a month.” You start getting visions of changing the site, but the anchor text in links and so on is already set. In the end, you feel dissatisfied because you want more, damn it!
A Different Approach
Okay, I am not advocating you throw competition analysis out the window. You should absolutely find keywords that have solid traffic and low competition. If nothing else, you need short-term carrots to keep you motivated. That being said, you must also plan for the inherent evil greed in your twisted little seo soul. Don’t even try to deny it.
Here it comes…
I am advocating you go for keywords with monstrous amounts of traffic, competition analysis be damned! Yes, I know. What a fool.
Throwing caution to the wind, I am even going to argue that…[drum roll]…you consider one-word keywords! I know… Blasphemy!…Insanity!…Stupid Moron…etc. But think about it. When you’ve accomplished your goals with low competition keywords, why not have a go at the biggies? What if you get them…even a few?
Putting it all together, my theory is this. Identify the low competition keywords, optimize your site and so on. Just make sure you also throw some “wishful thinking” keywords. If the optimized site survives for three or four years, you might just be thankful you did.
I’m off to optimize for the keyword “travel.” Lets see, Expedia is listed number 1 with a page rank of 8 and 67 thousand back links on Google.