These days, the Web is taking on an ever-increasing role in every successful marketing plan but without a keyword strategy, many plans are falling short. If you’re hoping that your site will come up at the top of Google’s search results pages when someone searches for something related to your business, you must plan which phrases you want to be found for, and develop on a calculated plan to achieve it. Top ranking on Google doesn’t just happen. It’s a process that’s only achieved with intentionality.

To rank well for a phrase that no one is searching for, is a relatively simple task because there’s likely to be very little competition. However, if you want to rank well for a popular phrase that has hundreds or thousands of searches every day, then your task is much more difficult.

Keyword research is the first step in any successful campaign. You have to know how many people are searching for your desired phrase. You need to determine if there are other phrases that you might be overlooking and also uncover how much competition there is for each phrase. When I say competition, I mean, how many sites are already listed on Google. if you search for the phrase that you want to be found for and you see that there are already 50 million sites listed, you can imagine that you might have a hard time beating out all 50 million companies so that your site comes up at the top and the others are listed below yours. On the other hand, if there are only a couple hundred thousand sites, believe it or not, the task can be a relatively simple one.

In subsequent postings, we’ll talk more about how to rank well on Google but for now, just remember that you need to begin thinking about which keywords are important to your business before you develop your site. That means before you draw a site map and before you ever consider what your pages are going to say.

Chadd Bryant