The More Keywords The Better!?

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There is a common misconception that in order to develop a successful online business you need to be targeting hundreds or thousands of keywords.

This perception often causes a great deal of confusion and can lead to ‘Analysis Paralysis’ as people spend months analyzing keywords looking for the perfect opportunity. As a result they never follow through to create a complete and profitable business.

Last week, a group of us were discussing this problem and came to the conclusion that the reason this misconception is still so prevalent is that in the past, focusing on quantity versus quality DID actually work.

In the early days of Internet marketing, if you placed a large number of related keywords on a page or included them in Meta and Alt tags you could often get rankings that led to traffic.

Similarly, in the early days of Google Adwords, it was possible to load your account with thousands of keywords and generate a steady stream of traffic to your site.

However, while this may have been the case in 2003, it is very important to realize that THINGS HAVE CHANGED.

The old approach was a ‘shotgun strategy’ in which you targeted a large number of keywords, took a shot and hoped for the best.

With the continuous improvements in search engine algorithms and the development of quality metrics such as Google’s Quality score, this approach is no longer effective.

The mantra of “The more keywords the better” is a thing of the past.

The alternative to the old shotgun strategy is a new ‘laser like’ approach in which you explore your market carefully and then zero in on a small subset of specific keywords.

old keyword strategy versus new keyword strategy

To understand why this laser focused approach is so important we need to examine something we call the ‘Iceberg Principle’.

According to the Iceberg Principle, finding a good keyword is just the tip of the Iceberg.

In order to transform a keyword into a genuine asset for your business, you need to undertake a range of tasks that most people unfortunately never get around to.

These tasks include:

On-page optimisation

Off-page optimisation

Obtaining high quality backlinks

Writing articles

Conducting targeted PPC campaigns


The truth is that every one of these activities requires time and effort. Clearly, if you are trying to target thousands of keywords, following through on these activities becomes virtually impossible.

So, instead of generating lists containing thousands of semantically related keywords, here is the laser focused strategy that we recommend in today’s SEO environment.

To get started, use Market Samurai to generate a sample of keywords in your niche and then continually refine and filter these keywords until you find 5-10 keywords that have the following characteristics:

(1) They are highly relevant to your niche

(2) They have reasonable levels of traffic eg. 100 visitors per day

(3) They have acceptable levels of competition eg. Less than 30000 competing web pages

(4) They have low strength of competition ie. The top 10 sites in Google are not well optimized

Once you have identified and selected your target keywords, redirect your focus to the on-page and off-page SEO tasks necessary to transform your keywords into genuine traffic-generating assets for your business.