Before we start optimizing, we need to know what keywords we want to rank for. Keyword research involves many tools and depending on how big the project is, it could take weeks of work. What I want to briefly cover is that there are two basic keyword strategies and you should pick one before we move forward.
Two Basic Keyword Strategies
1# Fat-head Approach
The first is the fat-head approach. That's where you try to optimize your site for one or a few terms that have a large search volume. So for the store, we're going to build, we could try to go for the keyword cake store. There's going to be a ton of traffic for that term. And if we rank well for this term, we could receive thousands of visits every month. The great part about the fat head strategy is you don't need a giant list of keywords that you're always trying to optimize. You have one keyword and all of your copy and pages are about that one keyword. The downside is that it's really hard to rank for one of those popular terms. There are thousands of other sites trying to rank for the term, cake store.
2# Long-tail Approach
What's a bit easier is the long tail approach. That's where you go for a bunch of search terms that are less popular but also have less competition. So instead of trying to rank for cake store, we might try to rank for cake store in Carpinteria, or vegan cake store, or catering for a birthday party in Carpinteria. All of these are going to be much smaller terms and it'll take a while to write articles or sections of your site for each of these terms. And since these terms are so specific, there's less competition, which means it's easier for you to rank well.
Generally speaking, the long tail approach is going to be a much easier strategy. Unless your current site is already ranking well, I'd focus on long-tail keywords that address a specific question or specific questions that your audience has. It's a much easier approach than trying to rank for a general term. For my site, I'm going to go with a long tail approach and have a few keywords in mind, so I can start optimizing some of my posts for those keywords.