Understanding how competitive your target phrase is has a direct impact on how hard you will have to work to get a SERPs ranking. This is always the best step to keep your expectations reasonable. The more competitive this phrase is, the more links, pages, and fresh content you will need to keep pace much less make up any ground. You want to choose target phrases that have a decent amount of searches, but not so much competition until you are capable of going broader.
Is your site even capable of being competitive? Take a look at the top 10 sites for your target keyword phrases and ask yourself, honestly, if you really have the ability to compete with them. If they have 10,000 inbound links and over 1000 pages, a beginner site with 7 links and 12 pages is not really going to have a chance. If the top 10 includes Amazon, eBay and Wikipedia, you really need to do some serious re-evaluating of your goals to have a hope of success. Keep your expectations reasonable and understand the limits on what you can do at any given time.
If you have an established site, rankings will come much more rapidly. If your site has been around long enough to accumulate a lot of links, but falls short in the area of fundamental SEO and proper navigation, fixing these issues will also bring results rather quickly. For new sites, however, the necessity of building links will significantly increase the amount of time it takes for you to climb the rankings.
LunaMetrics gives us a great list of keyword targeting mistakes (go read the full list! It’s worth it!) I want to point out this one:
So you’ve done your research, and you’ve got these sweet keywords picked out, and they have that new keyword smell and everything. “What do to with them?” you wonder. Bingo – you’ll just put those keyword into every single thing you write and you’ll be raking in traffic in no time. That’s the ticket right?
Well you’d be wrong, but not alone. First, rather than spreading your beloved keyword all over your site, you should concentrate your efforts into one page that has the page authority to rank and make it the page on the net that searchers of your keyword want to land on. Remember, in SEO , we need to pick our battles and concentrate our forces if we don’t want to get destroyed.
Secondly, this “tactic” commits the abominable SEO sin of keyword cannibalism, wherein if you do manage to rank for the keyword you’ll be competing against yourself and killing off your pages’ ability to draw new traffic for other keywords. Remember, each page is an opportunity to reel in more traffic for a different keywords.
So, take note and make sure you are doing the best job you can for keyword targeting – now and throughout 2013!