Understanding Keywords is a fundamental step to initiate a successful SEO campaign – they are one of the first and most important elements to consider at the moment of optimizing your website.
Keywords are the words and phrases in your web content that make it possible for people to find your site via Search Engines. When people are searching for information on the web, they will usually go to a Search Engine (i.e. Google, Bing, Yahoo!) and they will enter some words or phrases to describe what they are looking for. The Search Engines will then return the best results listing pages that meet those words. These words used for people to search the Internet are called keywords or search terms.
Keywords are very important in your SEO campaign as they can be used in many ways throughout your website. Choosing the right keywords to optimize for, is one of the first and most crucial steps on your campaign. They enable people who need your service, product or information to find you.
How to choose the right Keywords
There are many ways to find the right keywords for your website – first of all you need to put yourself in your client’s/customer’s shoes and determine what words or phrases they would enter when they are looking for services like yours. Another important step is determine those keywords that you feel describe your site/service best. For this you can review your site content and pick out key words or phrases that describe your business, product or service.
List these keywords-phrases and they will form the basis for optimizing your web pages. The more specific your keywords the better. Simple word keywords will have a lot more competition for top ranking search results than phrases. For instance if your website is about dogs don’t optimize for the words ‘dog’ or ‘dogs’. Instead you should try to optimize for words-phrases like: ‘small dog breeds’, ‘dog obedience training’, ‘dog food recipes’, etc. Trying to get a well ranked listing for one or two keywords is very difficult due to the extremely high competition, but optimizing for specific phrases is a more realistic goal.
Another tool you can use to help you with your keyword search is the Google Keyword Planner. To access this tool you need to sign up for a Google AdWord account – it is free to sign up, you only pay when you start a AdWords campaign with Adwords. After you sign in to your account, go to Tools and Analysis and then ‘Search for keywords ideas‘ and enter the required fields: your product or service, landing page, product category, etc. When you have added the required information click on Get Ideas for a list of keywords-phrases. This tool will also show you average monthly searches for the different suggestions, how high is the competition for them and the possibility to add these keywords to your AdWords plan if desired.
Where to use my keywords
After you have found your keywords you need to use them in your website. Probably you have heard about the Keywords Meta Tags and we cover that in a previous article. Keywords are very important not only in quantity but in quality as well.
SEO best practices dictate that you include relevant keywords in a number of prominent areas on your website, like.
- The URL (Permalink)
- The title and H1 tags
- The first sentence or at least the first paragraph
- Image file names and alt text
- The Meta Description tag
We have seen that keywords are very important for your website optimization, but it is extremely important to remember that keywords can also be overused, and that can be more harmful than beneficial. Also called ‘keyword stuffing’, this can be seen as an indicator of spam techniques. This practice is frowned upon by the Search Engines and can result in penalization or even the removing of your listings. Use your keywords only as they are relevant to the subject and make sure your writing makes sense to an average user.
Always remember that a well optimized website is the one that offers unique and quality content. Get your content right, and you’ve created a solid foundation to support your SEO campaign. Review/create your content always with your visitors needs in mind, think about what they are looking for and give them a little bit more than what other similar websites are offering them. For example: if you are a Motel or Holiday Park, offer information about transportation or things to do around your area; maybe the weather conditions and what to bring when they are visiting.