So the question is what are the right keywords to choose. I firmly believe that whatever keywords you choose, they are probably better than what the client has chosen so you can do no wrong. With that being said your keyword research depends on how much data you actually have.
A great place to start is paid search data. You can never know for sure how well a keyword will work until you are ranking on page 1 and one sure fire way to do this is if you pay to do so. Paid search data will give us insight into click through rate, conversion rate, and Cost per acquisition (or lead). Now we know how effective a keyword may be. Whatever the objective maybe for the client (yes it can be different) use their goal to determine the top keywords from the paid data. If you actually have comprehensive organic search traffic data then you should definitely be reviewing conversion rates for organic as well. Take note the higher the ranking there tends to be a higher correlation with conversions as well since Google has done such a great job with showing users relevant sites page 1 above the fold.
If you do not have paid search data you will have to review the keywords based on what the client says they would like to rank high. With this list of keywords use Google’s Keyword Tools to determine which keywords have a high local exact volume, and what the competition is for these keywords. In addition you will want to pull the current rank for the list of keywords as well. Once you have sorted your keywords by volume you need to then decide if you can compete for these keywords.
Can I compete? Take a look at who are the top listings for your core keywords. Review the amount of backlinks and pages indexed they have to determine if these are types of websites you can compete with. In addition if you are currently ranking in the top 20 versus not ranking in the top 100 it will be more difficult and time consuming to rank. The last piece is to consider the Halo Effect. By targeting one broad match term you might also be targeting additional long tail keywords as well. What is this worth to you and how impactful will this be to the campaign should also be considered.
The end result is once you have determined your keywords this will layout your keyword mapping and many other aspects to your website. Take the time to thoroughly go through your research and make sure the keywords you have chosen make logical sense for the type of content you will be creating on your website as well
Daniel Kamen, Seo Manager at ConvergeDirect