No SEO campaign or strategy can be successful without this first, crucial building block. Whilst you may be lucky and get some phrases correct, without good keyword analysis, much effort will be wasted. To get results, you need to understand how people are searching for you.
What is keyword analysis
Keyword or phrase analysis involves using a tool like Google Adwords keyword tool. The first thing you need to look for is search volume - is anyone actually searching for that term? Secondly, look at the competition - how hard will you need to work to rank well for that term?
The next step is to decide which words or phrases (generally, today, you'll be targeting phrases as words are far too broad a match to be successful) you want to try to rank for. High search volume is not necessarily the best - they usually have the highest competition. Often, phrases with medium, or even low, competition still have good volumes and present a far easier opportunity for ranking.
How many to choose?
As many as you want! However, for the purposes of good SEO work, you should be limiting yourself to 2-4 phrases per page. When you get too many, the power of each phrase gets diluted and is wasted. For your front page or home page, we recommend a maximum of 3 keyword phrases. This is where most visitors will land, however, we don't neglect internal pages. These can also rank well if done correctly, which means that on a single organic results page, you may have 2 or more entries.
Now what do I do with them?
Once we've worked with you to select the key phrases needed to optimize and rank for, and determined what pages they're going to be on, the job is to carefully craft them into the copy of that page. That doesn't mean stuffing the page full of them, nor repeating them exactly the same each time. The search engines are now good at picking up synonyms and occurrences of one of the phrase words in isolation.
Let's say you're wanting to rank for "Glendale dog groomer". Google will pick up "dog grooming", "groom", "canine", "groomed", or "pooch", and credit those towards what the page is about - Glendale dog groomer. In fact, this is how they prefer to see it done, and can penalize those who think that repeating their key phrases 20 times is the be-all and end-all.
It's in the presentation
To add complexity to the job, it also matters where your phrases show up on the page, and what sort of emphasis you place on them. Having them in the Title tag, the Heading tags, bolded or italicized, all of these treatments tell Google that "...these words are important..."
But we're now getting into the area of SEO. You can see more on the page dedicated to SEO, or download our free SEO 101 primer. There's also another page which goes into more details about offpage SEO & SEO backlinks.