Keywords and keyword phrases are what people type into search engines when they're looking for something in particular. For example, if you're looking for a Massage Therapist in Seattle on Google, you might type in "Massage Therapist Seattle", which would be a keyword phrase.
Note About Search Engine Optimization
There are no magic tricks that will instantly place your website on the first search engine results page. Keywords are just one part of the equation. With that in mind, if your text is keyword rich, your page structure allows the search engines to get to this text easily, and you've crafted your meta tags well, you have a great chance of getting the search engine positioning results that you are striving for.
For more information about SEO, you can search online and check out sites like SEOmoz and Search Engine Land.
By identifying keyword phrases that people would associate with your website, you can shape your website content around these words and increase the likelihood of your website coming up on search engine results pages. The higher your website ranks on the search engine results page, the higher the amount of traffic directed to it.
Building a List of Keywords
There are a couple of ways to start building your list of keywords:
- Think about what YOU would type into a search engine if you were looking for a product/service/business like yours.
- Ask friends and family what terms they might use if they were looking for your website.
- Expand on the terms that you found using a thesaurus, like www.thesaurus.com. People will use all sorts of words that you'd never even think of.
- Include alternative spellings ("doughnut" vs. "donut") or misspellings ("field" vs. "feild") of your words.
- If your location matters to your customers, you'll want to include it. For example, "Pet Supplies Seattle".
2. Keyword Density Tools
Keyword density tools will show you what words are being used frequently on a website page. All you have to do is enter the URL of the page, and the tool will show you which words and phrases are used most frequently.
You can find keyword density tools online - we like the Term Extractor (http://www.seomoz.org/term-extractor) from SEOmoz.
Once you've found a keyword density tool that you like:
- Look at your existing page content (if you already have some).
- Look at your competitors.
NOTE: You can also look your competitor's keyword tags by right-clicking on their webpage, then clicking 'View Source'. You'll find the keywords listed between the tags at the top of the page and it will look something like: .
3. Keyword Suggestion Tools
Keyword suggestion tools offer keyword phrase suggestions based on the keywords you enter. They also offer statistical information, like how frequently the terms are searched, how popular they are among advertisers, etc.
There are many keyword services, both paid and free, to choose from. So take a look out there and see which ones you prefer.We like the following:
Google AdWords Keyword Tool (https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal)
Wordtracker's Free Keyword Suggestion Tool (http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com/)
Trellian Keyword Discovery tool (http://www.trellian.com/)
Note that not all the keywords suggested by these tools will apply to you, so pick and choose which ones best fit your website.
If you decide to use these tools, you may want to create a spreadsheet that will allow you to see each keyword phrase's conversion rate, search volume and competition rate (as given to you by the tools mentioned above). These figures will allow you to figure out how valuable a term might be for your site and will help you narrow down your focus.
Focusing on a Few Keywords
You should be able to come up with a pretty hefty list of keyword phrases by following the steps above. Now you need to narrow down your focus and pick about 10 - 20 keyword phrases that you think will produce the best results for you.
The more targeted your keywords, the more likely you are to pull in the right kind of customer. For example, if you sell raw, organic dog food, you'd probably want to focus your efforts on the keyword phrase "Raw Organic Dog Food" instead of just "Dog Food". Not only will "Dog Food" be harder to rank for due to a large amount of competition, you also won't necessarily pull in the people that are looking for your specific product, which would be "Raw Organic Dog Food".
How to Use Keywords
Once you've picked your main keywords, you'll want to use them throughout your website content.
On each page you'll want to focus on about 3 of your keywords/keyword phrases. You should be putting them in the following places:
- Domain & Page URL
- Title Tags, Description & Keyword Meta Tags
- Images & Alt Tags
- Body Text
Domain & Page URL
If possible, try to include your most important keyword in your domain name, like www.BobsOrganicDogFood.com.
Also, try to include keywords in your page URLs, like www.yoursite.com/organicdogfood.html. When you add a new page to your website, you can also customize your page URL. If you already know what keywords you'll be targeting on that page, you can include it in the URL at this time.
You can always change your page URLs after the page has been created by clicking the 'Edit Site' -> 'Properties' -> 'Change URL'.
Title Tags, Description & Keyword Meta Tags
Title tags, description meta tags, and keyword meta tags are pieces of HTML code that help provide information about your site to search engines.
Images & Alt Tags
Including your keywords in your image titles and in the alt tags associated with your images will also help. Alt tags are the text that's shown if an image is broken, blocked, or when the mouse is hovering over it.
When adding images using the Easy Editor, you can easily insert Alt tags by entering text under 'Alternative Text'.
As part of laying out or formatting your content, you can label titles and headers with "heading" tags. This then applies the design standards set for your website for those pieces of text (ie. bolder, bigger, etc). It also lets search engines know that keywords in that text are an important topic on that page and increase the page's relevance for those keywords.
To label your headings using the Easy Editor:
- Highlight the text you want to label.
- Click the drop down menu beside 'Format' and select the heading you'd like to use.
Like with headings, placing keywords in your links provides extra emphasis on them - this includes the page names in your menu. Like the customized URL, when you add a new page to your website you create the name that appears in your menu. You can change the menu names at any time by clicking the 'Edit Site' tab, then 'Rename' beside the page you want to rename.
When writing your page content, you want to include your keywords at least 2-3 times on the page. Place the most important keywords more densely at the top - try to use them within the first sentence, and again within the first paragraph, then sprinkled throughout the page content.
Despite the importance of using your keywords, don't ever sacrifice the readability of your text. Remember, you're speaking to your visitors first and search engines second. If visitors are immediately turned off by choppy content, they won't bother learning more about you.
IMPORTANT: Don't just repeat your keywords over and over again at the bottom of your page. This is called keyword spamming and when detected by search engines, you will be banned from the results.