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.