Ah, the joys of picking keywords. Some call it a process, others consider it an art, but in reality keyword selection involves tedious manual research and a whole lot of guesswork—a sort of keyword trivia.

No matter what your method, what lie at the center of keyword selection are your customers, potential customers, and site visitors.

With 60% of internet shoppers using search engines to find what they are looking for, accurate keyword selection is of utmost importance to drive transactions. But, how do customers search for your company? What words do they use to describe your products? How do they talk about your industry and the business you are in?

Analyzing the search terms people have used to reach your site begins to paint the SEO picture, but not the whole picture. The more valuable terms are the ones that your company is overlooking, the ones that drive valuable Web traffic elsewhere, when it should be going to your site.

Enter Social SEO, a new approach to keyword selection and SEO strategy that puts your customers' conversations at the center of SEO efforts and delivers accurate search terms the way your customers will actually search for your brand, company, and products.

Customer conversations are everywhere today—social networks, blogs, forums, and other social-media outlets. These are unbiased, unfiltered interactions that can deliver rich information about how your customers talk about topics that are relevant to your company and brand.

Though it would be nice if people were to use your company's messaging in their everyday interactions, the reality is that for the most part they don't.

Social SEO—tapping into how they talk about you and your industry so that you can determine how they will search—is the most effective and foolproof way to master that art/science/guessing game of picking keywords.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dan Neely is the CEO of Networked Insights (www.networkedinsights.com) and has been instrumental in the creation of the Networked Insights social-media listening platform SocialSense.