What’s the best SEO Strategy?

By Herb

This question frequently comes up: When optimizing a website for search (SEO) should you focus on a Handful of key phrases or target a large number?

Recently, Scott Smigler, President of Exclusive Concepts responded to this question on a message board this way:

Without hesitation I can say that a good SEO strategy should not focus simply on a small handful of key phrases. I say that for several reasons:

1) A majority of searches are unique. Data shows that people use search queries that are, to a large extent, unpredictable. While a lot of people may search for “computer monitors,” for example, a lot of searches will be done with a variation on “computer monitors” like “computer monitors silver flat screen pc.”

2) In general, I think it’s a bad idea to put all of your eggs in one basket. While it is true that the click thru rate that comes from being ranked #1 on an important term is about 42% (according to research performed on the data AOL made public), it’s probably a bad idea to build a business contingent on a few very good rankings. No matter how good your SEO strategy or your SEO firm, things happen. Between randomness and Google quirkiness, there is a good chance that sooner or later your rankings will fluctuate. If you are ranked on a variety of important terms, consider yourself diversified, and better able to withstand small shifts. If all of your business comes from 3 or 4 key terms, you’re at risk.

3) You’re just missing out on opportunities. More descriptive search phrases lead to a lot of traffic in the aggregate.

So, the question is then how do you effectively optimize a website when you want to target a broad base of terms (some you can identify, others you could not possible predict), not just 5 or 6 very important ones?

There is a lot you can do, but i’ll give two important tips here:

1) As part of the keyword discovery process, cast a very wide net and target as many search phrases as possible (hundreds or thousands). Acquire data and prioritize these keywords, and make sure you either integrate them into your existing content or build new content to support them. A lot of people look at this initial research as being unimportant. We look at this initial research as being absolutely critical to the success of our SEO campaigns.

2) Adopt an SEO strategy whereby you attempt to communicate a real theme. That’s where the art of SEO comes in. The keyword mix you bring into your website, and the content that supports that mix, and the kinds of sites that link to you… all contribute to your website’s theme.

I thought posting this response would be useful. Let us knoiw if you agree