Finding your niche market is the key to getting visitors from search engines. I have had a lot of success getting healthy search engine positioning for very specific search terms. Getting result#1 on page#1 is not as difficult as you think as long as you are specific.
Hypothetical Example: Maybe you sell insurance – probably one of the most competitive markets on-line. How do you compete? ‘Niche’ is the answer – maybe you sell pet insurance – still quite competitive I imagine, but maybe you specialise in pedigree dogs.. Optimise for search terms such as ‘Pedigree dog insurance’ and you will stand a better chance of breaking into the top few pages. If you offer a local service, then without a doubt adding your location will help.
There are tools that will help, such as the Google Adwords Keyword Planner – it’s designed to start you off on a pay-per-click advertising campaign, but it works just as well for your own on-page and off-page optimisation. Imagine yourself to be the potential target visitor to your site…what specific phrases are they likely to type into Google? It is worth spending a good half hour or so considering this question – brain-storm ideas with someone and keep a list of the resulting search terms. You can then spend more time researching these terms in-depth – but it’s as easy as anything to pop the search terms into Google and check out the results. Are your competitors listed? Why not experiment by optimising for the terms and see if you can get ahead of them?
The best results come from finding something suitably ‘niche’ that still gets results – the Google Keyword planner can tell you how many times a specific phrase has been searched in a month. Let’s say the result for a very specific phrase is not in the millions, but just 200 – chances are that if you optimise on that term you will get a high percentage of that very targeted section of the population visiting your site – every month…especially if you achieve position#1, which will actually be a relatively easy target.
For myself, I don’t usually use any keyword tools (maybe I should?) I just try to work out what I think people would search for. The great thing about the keyword planning software is that it can actually tell you how many people have used the search term, so you know how big your ‘audience’ is, or how good you are at guessing search terms that your visitors might use.