Don't select a key word that is too hard to get good ranking on settle for key word that will just get you traffic. An example of this is the site I mentioned is number one when search for "bbq podcasts" but is not in the top 30 + on the key word "bbq" BBQ is a very hard and sought after word to get in the top 30 while "bbq podcasts" got me a number one and some traffic quickly. I do have sites that are ranked #9 and #19 at this time on the tougher keyword BBQ but it took a long time. Also these things change from time to time and you really have no control on that.
This is the only thing I disagree on. Generally, people create sites on a specific subject which in turn reflects the keywords.
Unless you are creating sites purely to generate traffic and take advantage of the traffic, then your keywords are already defined. It's pointless targetting easier keywords if less people are searching for that term in the first place. I expect the harder the keyword is to get ranked the more traffic is at stake. This goes back to my point of view that if a keyword is particularily hard to get a good ranking from SEO copy alone, then spend the money and pay for sponsored search results.
A site I have just had debut at #3 in Google and #1 in Yahoo & NineMSN for my main two keywords ranks low on the two terms individually. I believe this is because the two terms individually are 'hard' keywords, but when combined I had little competition. I am confident I will be able to take Google #1 with little effort (although I am quite happy with anything on the first page.) When you search with the two words together you I will use quality link aquisition to start with along with some trade publication print advertising. If we still don't rank on the first page of results then I will use sponsored links.
I will qualify my statements above by noting that my sites audience will be fairly limited. Our first tier target audience is a city with a poplutation of 90,000 and people intending to visit the city. As such, taking adantage of local print and tv media will be easy and very cost effective. In addition to the local audience, the 2nd tier target audience is national. National trade advertising for my particular audience in Australia is cheap. I can take a 1/4 page, full colour ad out in national magazines for around $200AUD which is brilliant. Our 3rd tier audience is international visitors coming to the region. I anticipate the efforts of tier 1 and tier 2 will filter through to tier 3.
I have a question for you, do you think it would be an advantage to rename the slice names for the template? I have read that file names and alt tags help can help improve search engine ranking. I am not sure if you could make use of slice alt tags but renaming slices would be easy enough.
Mame du Bois