If you’re having trouble ranking on Google one of my first recommendations would be to pretty much dump the whole keyword list thing if you have one. While making use of words relative to your site in the pages and posts is important, overdoing it and trying too hard usually doesn’t work out very well.
If you’re doing your own SEO forget the keyword list. Why? Keyword lists tend to lead to keyword stuffing which is bad, doesn’t help you rank better and just all around makes your website suck. Instead of concentrating on stuffing specific keywords in a lame attempt to boost SERP rankings I suggest concentrating on writing useful and informative content and improving your website instead. Besides I don’t want to just rank for a few certain words, I want to come up in the search results for literally hundreds of variations of various keywords.
Even worse than keyword stuffing is the keyword back link spamming. I have a client that used other companies that made big first page of Google promises and then used high risk spammy tactics and every single word on their list of keywords no longer appear in the Google search results at all after having high rankings for a lot of those same words in the past. My assessment, they’ve been penalized for keyword spam.
If you’re going to build back links to your site I highly recommend that do it manually on high quality sites with a decent page rank higher than yours. Add quality to the site you’re leaving the link at and use variations of your brand name, site name, your business name or even a generic name like your first name. Spamming keyword anchor text links on other sites isn’t going to boost your site up in the Google search results anymore. There are still a lot of companies using these spammy techniques that don’t work anymore because they don’t know how to do legitimate SEO.
Use relevant words and phrases in your pages and posts on your site. Use the main words and phrases in your page/post titles (which carries the heaviest keyword weight.) I also use keywords in the meta description and meta keyword tags but I don’t use a big keyword list. I have an idea of what words I’d like to appear for but I’m not hell bent on any of them. The key really is building your site up.
For instance on another site I have a blog post about “Useful OpenCart Extensions.” I have another post on the site about a WordPress Ads OpenCart extension. The site doesn’t have very many posts at all and doesn’t get a lot of search traffic but most of the search traffic is to the Useful OpenCart Extensions blog post. Out of just two blog posts I’ve gotten a lot of mileage on long tail keywords.
It’s not a lot of traffic but it’s a steady flow, now take that and magnify it by 1,000 posts. Some of which will bring in more traffic and some which will bring in less and you’ll have a steady flow of traffic to your website. 1,000 quality blog posts is no joke though and requires work.
I have a larger entertainment type site that has thousands of posts and gets thousands of searches everyday for thousands of various keywords and numerous long tail versions. The best luck I’ve had has never been trying to get ranked for certain words but by producing relevant content that people find useful or interesting. If you can do that the search rankings and backlinks will build themselves over time. Don’t limit yourself to a small list of specific terms you want to be found for, chuck that keyword list.