Understanding what search terms or phrases your potential site visitors might use to find you via search engines is the first step. You can guess, but its not advisable.
Search Engines use complex algorithms to determine the ranking order for over billions of websites. Based on that reason alone, guessing at keywords and phrases is a hit-or-miss proposition you probably shouldn't engage in.
In addition, the website designer/marketer/owner must determine the right balance of keyword popularity and competitiveness, which is measured by the search engine to determine the ranking results for the keyword/phrase used.
Lets use a bakery as an example; If you owned a bakery, key words and/or phrases people would most likely enter "local bakery", "bakeries in NJ", or maybe "creme filled donuts for sale" (to name a few.)
If you Google 'bakeries' the outcome is 72,300,000 results (or other websites/pages that are are using 'bakeries' as one of their keywords and are competing for the top 1-3 pages (which holds a total of only 30 organic spots.)
If you Google 'bakeries in NJ' the outcome drops to 13,700,000 results, a more achievable set of keywords or phrase. So based on the above, your keywords/phrases might include "bakery", "bakeries", "NJ".
It is also important to find frequently used keywords that only a few sites are targeting.
If you Google 'pastry shops NJ' the outcome drops even lower to 163,000 results. For a more immediate outcome, it would be best to include the words "pastry" "shop" and "NJ' in your set of keywords/phrases so your website has a higher chance of being found in the top 3 pages when people enter these keywords into the Search Engine.
Using analytic reports is useful as you are able to see the actual keywords/phrases being entered into the search engine to find businesses such as yours.
Once you have determined your keywords and/or phrases, be sure to use them on each of your web pages, in logical sentences - don't forget, you are not only pleasing the search engine but must make your content pleasing, engaging and in some cases educational for visitors once they do find your website.
I hope you have found this article useful; please feel free to comment and or ask questions by clicking on the link 'Comments' below. Please be patient as this blog monitors all comments before they are posted to remove spamming comments prior to posting.