The most important thing in SEO isn’t getting backlinks or even your content. Before any of that can even come into the picture, you first need to choose the right keywords to target. By choosing quick-to-rank keywords, you’ll start getting traffic and profits right away, instead of having to wait months to see results.
How do you choose keywords that you can rank for quickly?
Go for Long Tail Keywords. Generally, you’ll want to be targeting keywords that are three words or longer. Target keywords with at least 1,000 searches a month, more if you have a PR 2 or higher website.
Do an exact match search for your keyword. In other words, put your keyword in quotes, i.e. “this is my keyword.” This will give you the exact number of competing websites.
Ideally, this number should be less than 50,000.
Evaluating the Top Five
Your primary aim is to get in the top five places as quickly as possible. There’s so little traffic below the top five that it’s not really even worth shooting for.
The weaker the top five, the better your chances of ranking for those keywords quickly.
First of all, evaluate whether or not the top five are deliberately trying to rank for the keyword you’re targeting. There’s a good chance they just ranked by accident, which will make it much easier to push them off.
Do they have the keyword you’re targeting in their title tag? Is the keyword in their meta keyword tags? If so, then you’re in for a tougher fight. If not, the going will be much easier.
How many backlinks does your competition have? Use the Yahoo! Site Explorer to find out. (Google hides links and is inaccurate for the purposes of SEO competitive analysis.)
Also gauge your competitor’s PageRank by using a PageRank checker. Then take a look at the domain age, as well as the number of pages on your competitor’s sites.
The easiest keywords to rank for will have competitors that aren’t specifically targeting the keyword, that don’t have many backlinks, that have low PageRank and/or low domain age. Hard to rank for keywords will have just the opposite.
Try to Find Keywords without the Root
Most keywords that contain the “root” keyword will have a lot more competition than those that don’t.
For example, if you’re in the diet niche, keywords like “best diet” or “low carb diet” or “six pack abs diet” are going to be highly competitive.
On the other hand, keywords that don’t have the word “diet” in them will have much less competition. For example, “get a 28-inch waist” will be much easier to rank for.
If you combine these techniques, you’ll have a solid strategy for finding keywords that you can rank for within two to six weeks. Remember that SEO is as much an art as it is a science, and that getting fast rankings is as much a function of putting up many pages targeting different keywords as it is picking good keywords.