It seems like search engine optimization changes just about every day. It’s a tall task to keep up with Google and other search engines as they continually update and improve their search algorithms. Still, one of the most important aspects of SEO is using the right keywords in your web content. Let’s look at how to choose keywords that will create the right traffic for your website.

Aim for Search Phrases or Long-tail Keywords

Search phrases or long-tail keywords are made up of several keywords strung together. These tend to have more conversion potential because people searching for longer or more specific key phrases are often closer to the purchase stage in the buying cycle and know exactly what they are looking for on your website. Often, these specific phrases have a lower search volume than singular keywords, but they usually attract more targeted searches and have less keyword competition giving you an edge over competitors.

The best way to find what search phrases work for your website is to use the Google Keyword Tool, making sure you’ve checked the “Exact Match” box.

Use Latent Semantic Indexing

Also known as LSI, is an indexing and retrieval method that uses a mathematical technique called singular value decomposition (SVD) to identify patterns in the relationships between the terms and concepts contained in an unstructured collection of text. LSI is based on the principle that words that are used in the same contexts tend to have similar meanings. A key feature of LSI is its ability to extract the conceptual content of a body of text by establishing associations between those terms that occur in similar contexts.

This technique is highly successful due to the recent changes in the way search engines work. For example, if a web page talks about web design, search engines would expect to see other related terms like WordPress, HTML, and CSS. The more semantic words they find on that page, the more relevant your page appears, giving you a better ranking in related searches.

To help you find semantic keywords you can use the Google Keyword Tool ensuring the “Broad Match” box is checked. This will present a list of search terms that are similar to your keyword. You will notice that many suggestions are in a different order or shown with a different suffix (for example -s, -ed, -ing).

Be Sure to Use Location-based Keywords

By simply adding a country, province/state, or city name to your keyword or phrase can help distinguish your website from the competition and also ensure your website shows up in targeted local search results. For example, we might use “Toronto web design company” instead of “web design company” to target searches for web design in Toronto. Consider that many people want to support their local businesses and economy by buying local and some just prefer to work with someone close enough to sit down face-to-face.

Having a local business listing in Google can vastly help your website rank higher in local searches as well. The listing is quick and easy to set up at Google Places for Business. This also ensures your business appears on Google maps.

Consider The Keyword’s OCI

OCI or Online Commercial Intent is an indicator of the chances that someone searching for a keyword is looking to buy as opposed to browsing for information. The higher the figure, the more likely they are wanting to purchase your product or service. When choosing your keywords, you can look at the OCI value to determine which keywords will potentially attract the most serious buyers.

Unfortunately there is not yet a good free OCI tool readily available on the web, but engaging an SEO company that has the software to predict this information could yield valuable results.

If you’ve come across a free OCI tool, please do let us know!

By combining these four strategies for keyword selection you can greatly increase your website’s visibility in targeted searches and ultimately convert your online visitors from a browser into a buyer.