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October 9, 2013

How to Determine Which Keywords to Use for SEO

So much of search engine optimization revolves around which keywords to use that will establish good ranking in search results.  Using the right keywords and keyword phrases in the right places within your website that will yield results depends on several factors.  Just because you want to use specific keyword phrases doesn’t mean they will help. 

We are often asked to review keyword phrases that companies wish to use to help rankings.  Much of the recommendations we make are based on the following:

Website MozRank.  In its simplest form MozRank represents a website’s link popularity score. It reflects the importance of any given web page on the Internet. Pages earn MozRank by the number and quality of other pages that link to them. The higher the quality of the incoming links, the higher the MozRank.  The rank is from 0 to 10 with 10 being the best.  Getting a MozRank to move from 4 to 5 is 10 times more difficult than moving from 3 to 4.  Top MozRank sites like Google are a 10 while small stagnant websites with few or no links might score a 1 or 2.  Growing inbound links (referred to as link building) is the best way to increase your website MozRank score.  You can get your MozRank with the SEOMoz Tool bar. SEOMoz ToolbarWhen you’ve installed the tool bar, click on the magnifying glass, and use the drop down menu to access the “Link Data” option. That’s where you will find the page analysis with MozRank, which is pictured to the right.

Keyword Competition.  By using the Google Keyword Tool we can identify how competitive key words and keyword phrases are.  Competition is graded on a scale from 0 to 1 (in fractions).  The closer the grade is to 1 the more difficult it is to use the keywords to accomplish good rankings.  Competition refers to how many OTHER websites use the same keyword phrase within their websites to achieve rankings.  The more sites that refer to the keyword phrase, the higher the percentage of competition.

How to Choose Keywords

The general rule of thumb is to choose keywords that have competition percentages that are near or below 1/10 of your MozRank.  For example:

  • If your website has a MozRank of 5.40, you should select relevant keywords that have competitive grades under .60.  The lower percentages, the better.
  • If you choose keywords with higher percentage grades (> .60) the less likely you will achieve rankings based on them.
  • This is referred to finding “good” keywords which are “low” competition.

So mapping 1/10 of your MozRank to keyword competition percentage grades should help you make good decisions when selecting keywords.

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