If you are starting your site from scratch, selecting keywords at this stage is a time and money saver. If you are redesigning your website, this is the time to outdo your previous mistakes.

Zeroing On the Right Keywords

If you are wondering what keyword has to do with website design think again. It determines whether your website architecture will have a folder or linear structure. If it is a folder structure then how many levels?

Let’s take a hypothetical example. Suppose you are a company selling confections. You are designing an e-commerce website. You may have two or more options for website architecture.

Option 1: confectionary company displaying products by type e.g. cakes, candies, cookies, chocolates etc.
Option 2: confectionary company displaying products by occasions e.g. birthdays, weddings, thanksgiving, baby showers etc.
Option 3: This option is a tad expensive because it involves more complex programming at the database level. You can let the visitor decide how he or she wants to view the website product wise or occasion wise.

Which structure will be more appropriate?
Before deciding we need to find the online search behavior of our future customers. Using a keyword tool we find out that the search phrases customers use to find the ‘ cakes’ are for specific types of cakes like wedding cakes, birthday cakes, diaper cakes and so on. Same stand true for candy.

Naturally the second option is a better website architecture structure. It can grow both laterally and longitudinally. It’s more suitable for search patterns hence later it will be easier to optimize.

The best way to do a keyword search is to write down the phrases that describe your website’s purpose. Start with:
5 one-word phrases
10 two-word phrases
5 three-word phrases

Run them in a keyword tool. You will be amazed at the results.
Save them in a spreadsheet.

Selecting the Right Keywords

Your spreadsheet probably has a thousand keywords. It’s best to have a base keyword in mind around which your site will evolve. Keep these in mind before you start selection.
• One word phrases are the hardest to rank for because they require a high number of backlinks which is difficult for a new site.
• Their conversions are also the worst because people are not searching for that product or information. They realize it as soon as they type it and see 44 million websites for ‘cakes’.
• Two phrase keywords are good to optimize for as they have more searches and hence more conversions. But they are difficult to do so especially for a new website.
• Three phrase keywords may be few but are relatively easy to optimize for. It’s best to start with three word keywords.

Select the 3 word phrases most suitable for your site. Make them top priority for now…But do not ignore the 2 phrase or single word keywords. With time you will be able to drive traffic to your website using these keywords too and they most probably will have more search traffic.

The other factors that matter are
• The number of competing sites
• The strength of those competing sites

Select a long string for 3 word phrases whose searches rank more than 5 per day. This is the starting list for keywords for your site. Repeat the same procedure for two word phrases.

At this stage it may be suitable for you to leave out 1 word phrases not in the website design but in the optimization process..

Integrating the Keywords in your Website Design

All efforts at selection are useless if keywords are not properly integrated in design.
 
2 tips before starting:
Do not optimize for more than 3 keywords on one page
Preferably optimize for related keywords
Example:
Virtual Offices in Irvine Orange County (keyword)
-Virtual Offices
-Virtual Offices Irvine
-Virtual Offices Orange County

Get your website designer to use these search phrases in the page in Title tags, Keyword tags, Header tags and Alt tags. While writing the content for the page make sure you use the phrase at least twice in 350 words of content. Use synonyms of the keywords.