If you have read anything about Search Engine Optimization then you will already know some of the basic steps to take and what to alter but what is often not covered is the most important thing; keywords. In this article you will learn what keywords are, what keyword phrases are, how to find them, how to understand what they can do for your website and how to analyze them.
What are Keywords?
In simple terms Keywords are words and phrases that people type into search engines to find products or services that similar to yours. As an example I will use Google, these keywords and phrases are stored in Google’s database and they make an assessment about the webpage and what it is about. Google highlight particular terms and expressions that paint the picture of what your web page is about – ideally these would be your keywords for this page. Then when someone searches in Google on these terms your website shows in the results. In the end how well placed in the search results is as a direct result of many different factors, but I shall not cover many of these in this article, only the actual researching of keywords.
Why do I need keywords?
You may have heard a lot about keywords and how important they are to the SEO process well to sum it all up they are the lifeblood of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Without the right keywords you could alter all of the correct elements (title, description, alt tags, meta tags, H1’s etc etc) on your website but have little or no impact on how your website places in the search engine results pages (SERP’s). It is essential to alter all of the right elements on your website with correct keywords. This is what SEO is all about, the marriage between the correct search word terms (keywords) and your web pages.
You might have read some SEO references or you may just think that keywords are being over-rated and are not as essential to SEO as the experts make them out to be. You may even think that you know all of the words and phrases that people search on to find products or services like the ones that you offer, I can assure you that you do not, and that you do not need to research keywords. Many people try and optimize their websites by making up their own keywords from what they “think” are the right keywords but 99.99% of the time these efforts will fail – how can you know what are the most searched on keywords in the World for a particular topic without some research?
By now you should be getting the idea that Keywords ARE every bit as important as they’ve been made out to be, and that bad selection or research on keywords will leave you with an incorrectly search optimized website that may actually cause it to drop in rankings.
How Do I Select Keywords?
Selecting the correct keywords for your website is fairly complicated but I shall break it up into smaller more manageable chunks so as not to confuse you. There is a bit of a process to researching keywords correctly.
We must look at our website as a whole. What is the overall theme of the website? What are our main products or services? How many pages? Then we break up the website into web pages. We optimize a whole website by search optimizing all of it’s individual web pages. It is important that we understand the overall theme of the website but look at its individual web page content in more detail so as to optimize for it effectively. Write down the main terms to describe your website and its products or services.
To do the following few tasks I like to have two browser windows and a spreadsheet open. Some of the following websites may require a login, but they are well known and reputable websites.
We should now identify the web page we are going to be optimizing keywords for and write down the main terms that are relevant to this web page. If you are just starting out then I suggest you do some of your interior web pages before you do your front page as you get used to the process of optimizing this will make your life easier. So choose one of your main product pages to start with.
1. Open “overture inventory” website in your browser window. Using your written notes, type in your product or service and press the submit button. Now copy these results over to the spreadsheet program and label as Overture.
2. Open “WordTracker” in your browser window and using either the free trial account or a normal account, login to the system. Using the WordTracker wizard tool now type in the same product or service you typed in the last step. Highlight and copy over the WordTracker results to the spreadsheet and label as WordTracker.
3. Open “Google Adwords” in your browser window. Login and navigate to tools->keyword tool and then type in the same product/service we entered in the last two steps. Be sure to check the “Use Synonyms” checkbox. Once done copy all of the resulting words over to selected keywords and click on the “estimate search traffic” button. Now copy all of the results to the spreadsheet.
4. Now, looking at the spreadsheet you have generated there should be three columns of information, Overture, WordTracker and Adwords. In this step we want to remove all items that are totally unrelated or irrelevant, so go ahead and delete them.
5. Now, sort the three lists by search volume descending. Looking from the top down on each of the three lists we are going to bold the highest searched on and most relevant phrases. From each of the lists, now copy the bold items to a fourth space in the spreadsheet, these will form our more complete list of the top phrases and keywords.
We have now formed a complete and relevant list of keywords and phrases to use on our individual web page. We should repeat all of the above steps to identify keywords relevant and take note of these.
Using the keywords you have now identified you can now begin the process of integrating these keywords into your web pages and website as a whole. There are many articles out there that detail how and what elements to optimise on your pages. Trying searching in Google for “Introduction to SEO Strategies and Techniques” and follow the most basic on-page SEO techniques.
If you miss the mark, search engine optimization can cost you both a lot of time and money, without getting you the results. However if you do it right, SEO WILL improve your internet business.
What IS the goal of search engine optimization?
The goal of search engine optimization is to bring new customers to your web site. SEO is about being found by the right people. It’s about matching a prospect with the right offer. It is as simple as that.
What is NOT the goal of search engine optimization?
SEO is NOT about getting listed for every possible keyword. This is the biggest mistake that is made by webmasters and web designers. Most people try to get as many high search engine rankings as possible, AND for as many keywords as possible. That is not only a lot of work, it is also a complete waste of time.
It is not important that your web site is listed for a lot of keywords. It is important that your web site is listed for the right keywords, and that your web site then turns visitors into buyers. Without achieving this you will not be successful.
How can YOU improve your search engine optimization results?
1. Create convincing web pages
That really is a very important step. If you do not have web pages that appeal to your target group, then do not bother with trying to get visitors.
Your web pages must be designed so that your visitors become buyers.
2. You must also first create trust, and convince your visitors by making your web pages easy to use.
3. Find the right keywords
You must find the keywords that work best for you, and for your website. Build a keyword lists that is related to your business. There are many Free Keyword Generators that can help you with finding the right keywords for you.
Yahoo offer one here:
4. You can then use the keywords that you find in a pay per click (PPC) campaign on say Google’s Adwords, or with Yahoo’s Overture. What this will do is give you a quick way of testing your new keywords. It is also important that you then track these keywords with a conversion tracking tool, which will tell you which keywords lead to sales, and which keywords are just a waste of both time and money.
5. Optimize your web pages for these keywords
Once you know the keywords that lead to conversions, (sales) you should then set about optimizing your web pages for these keywords. While PPC allows you to quickly test keywords, and you can see the results within only a few days, optimizing your web pages allows you to get targeted visitors, WITHOUT you having to pay for them.
Search engine optimization can lead to great results if you concentrate on the right goals. Search engine optimization is about improving your business. It is not about getting as much traffic as possible. Focus on your target group, and on keywords that work best for you. You will save a lot of work while at the same time increasing your profits.
Search engine optimization (SEO) can be a complicated process, especially if you are not very familiar, or well-versed, with the method. A lot of SEO beginners, and even some professionals, continue to commit the same mistakes when they do try to use SEO, thereby making it harder for them to get the results that they desire for their site’s page ranking.
Fortunately for you, by simply determining what mistakes they make and avoiding them, you can actually fair off better than those people who commit them, even if you are an SEO beginner. If you are already well-versed with the SEO process, then learning these mistakes won’t hurt your chances either, but rather, help improve them.
Wrong or irrelevant keywords
A lot of people try to use popular or common keywords in order to get people to their sites, regardless if the keywords that they use have any relevance to their site or not. You may be able to generate traffic using this type of method, but since you are not offering relevant content based on your keyword, people visiting your site will just end up leaving simply because you are not offering any content that they are looking for. You are actually getting traffic of market that isn’t even interested in your site or its content, so you just end up with nothing.
Avoid doing this method, instead try to focus on using genuine relevant keywords, so you can direct traffic of possible clients to your site, and not just useless web traffic.
Overuse of keywords
Another mistake that people do when they try to optimize their site is by over-using keywords, or using them repeatedly in the title, tags and body. They believe that by overloading their site’s content with their chosen keywords, they will be able to trick search engines, and improve their site’s page ranking in the process.
Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case. Search engines will be able to detect if you are committing the over-use of keywords, or “spamming”, and if so, your site will pay the ultimate price by getting itself banned from the search engine’s index.
Good or relevant content missing
You may believe that even if you do not offer any good or relevant content in your site that your site itself is still good enough to get and keep the traffic that you are able to produce, but this, however, is not the case, as good and relevant content is what will get people, or your possible clients, to stay to your site.
People are driven to go to your site with the keywords that you have chosen, but it is your site’s content that they will be looking for, so make sure that whatever keywords you have chosen to use, those keywords will direct them to relevant web content in your site. Do take the time to write good and relevant content in order to ensure that your site would continue to do well against others offering the same thing. Remember that the only way that you can get your site to stand out against other sites would be your site’s content.
Wrong HTML codes = HTML errors
If your site commits a lot of HTML errors when people try to access it, even if it has very good and relevant content, chances are people will visit your site a whole lot less. So before you submit your site to search engine directories, you need to check and double-check your HTML codes to avoid any problems with your site, such as slow loading time, browser conflicts, and low page ranking.
Too much graphics
Bear in mind that search engines detect texts when indexing, analyzing and checking sites, and are not programmed to look for graphics, so creating a graphics-rich site will not give it an edge over other sites in terms of SEO, but can actually have the opposite effect. Since search engines are not programmed to look for graphics, they may bypass your site, giving it a lower page ranking.
Learn to avoid these SEO mistakes, and you should be able to do a whole lot better than others.