One of the most common SEO mistakes I see small business owners make is their keyword selection. Choosing the best keywords for your SEO efforts is essential.

Try this- think of your keywords as fitting into one of these 2 categories, “Research” or “Transactional”.

Both categories will have a place in your SEO strategy but knowing the difference between the two and the purpose of each will help you prioritize your SEO efforts.

A “Transactional Keyword” is a search query that is made more frequently by people who are “ready to buy”. For example many people come to this website after Googling on “ed taylor coaching“. Somehow they have heard of me and they are looking for me and MY coaching. To me this seems like a better prospect because this is a more “transactional” keyword. Of course your transactional keywords will be much different but they are usually more specific than “Research Keywords”.

Research Keywords are used when people are at the beginning of the buying cycle, when they’re just “checking things out” or “shopping around”. I get a lot of visitors to this site who Google on “how much should i pay for seo“. I search engine optimized a blog post for this “research keyword” because a number of people who are looking for what I provide ‘Google on’ that keyword. That keywords indicates they are researching SEO services and I want them to consider my Internet Marketing Coaching program if they decide to get help with their SEO.

SEO for both types of keywords is important, one can bring visitors who immediately convert onto customers and the other can bring visitors who become customers in the future (especially if they subscribe to your blog, or newsletter, etc. before they leave your website- see Website Conversion Rate and Why You Should Increase it).

A final word, there is another type of keyword that people sometimes get distracted by. I call them “waste of time” keywords. These are words like: real estate, insurance, motivation, coach, etc., etc, etc. Don’t waste your time and effort trying to SEO for keywords that are so broad that even if you could get top rankings (which is a very, very, very long shot) the percentage of visitors who came to your site form these types of keywords who would have any interest in what you actually provide would be infinitesimal.

Refine these keywords to be more focused and targeted: real estate for sale La Jolla, auto insurance Denver, motivational keynote speaker, internet marketing coach, etc.

Just an FYI, this blog post was written on 07-01-12 and is optimized for “SEO for keywords” an informational keyword. Please Google on “SEO for keywords” and in the comment box below please let me know where this page ranks.