We’ve all heard that content is king, and while that’s true, many companies forget the first step actually begins with building a keyword list.

That’s because Google and other search engines match keyword searches to the pages that best fit a person’s search request. So in essence, Google ranks pages, NOT websites. That means  your content should be developed around a list of searchable keywords that you want to rank for.

Why Keywords are the Building Blocks to ContentExactly what are keywords? Keywords are essentially search phrases. It’s how you would search for something online. And since no two people are alike, the way one person searches can differ greatly from another. So it’s good to have content developed around the different ways that various people would search for what they’re looking for.

So how many keywords should be on your list? Well, this may surprise you, but usually it’s between 300 and 1,000. Remember, you can build content through specialized landing pages and blogs. And larger websites with more content almost always outperform smaller, stagnant sites.

One online tool that I’ve used to build keyword lists is called Wordtracker. It helps find certain keywords that have high traffic and low competition, which helps you rank faster and more efficiently. Other tools include Google’s Keyword Tool, WordStream and Microsoft adCenter

And don’t forget long tail keywords. These are longer search phrases that may not have a lot of traffic, but collectively can make a big difference in the long run.

There’s also some magic in the way you use keywords. You should use them in your headline, and in the copy. You don’t want to use too many keywords in one piece of content either, or on the other hand, over saturate the keywords. This was done a lot in the early days of S.E.O., but search engines quickly caught wind and actually penalize sites that have a keyword density that’s abnormal.

Of course, in addition to keywords, it’s important to have remarkable content that generates a lot of links and inquires, but I’ll cover that in another post.

Please feel free to shoot any keyword questions my way.