Choosing the right keywords and key phrases to target for your website is essential if you plan on people finding you on search engines. Many people believe that most of their traffic will come from a handful of 2-3 word “money phrases”. But on a good information and content rich site, you will get traffic from many searches that you never thought of, a lot of them 4+ words in length.
It is best to choose keywords that are 2-4 word phrases and accurately describe what you offer using everyday language that people are likely to type in. It is important to not choose keywords that are so competitive that you have no chance of getting on the front page. If your keywords are too general then it is likely they will be too competitive, and even if you do rank well on them your traffic might not convert well, since people are usually looking for something specific. That said, if your keywords are too specific then your site will become harder to find resulting in fewer visitors to you site.
Note that since search engines rank pages, not whole sites, you need target different keywords on different pages. You might go for a more general term on your home page, and more specific terms on your sub pages.
Common keyword selection mistakes…
In most cases, search engines will look for your website’s keywords in the page title, meta description and page content. In some cases the meta keywords will also be picked up, but this is becoming less common as the meta keywords have been abused therefore making them less trustworthy to the search engines.
It is important that you do not overuse your keywords, as search engines will see this as spamming and my penalise your site resulting in poor rankings. In addition to this, it is also essential that your content reads naturally and does not just contain a list of keywords (keyword stuffing). Search engines want your site and it’s content to be created for the user and not for them, so just bare this in mind when you are writing your content.