Written by Digital Impact Solutions on January 26, 2016
Despite the recent advances in the way that search engines process data, and the way they come up
with results when a user inputs an enquiry, they still need a way to decide what websites to serve to match what a user is searching for.
In the SEO world we call these searches “keyword phrases”. They are the foundation work to any successful SEO campaign as we need to make sure that we aware of the phrases that people will search for when either browsing for information, requesting a download, or ready to buy a product or service.
Tools To Help Find Keywords
There are a range of tools to help you decide which keywords are relevant to your business. The main one being Google’s own Keyword Planner tool. To access the tool you need to have a Gmail account available. However, despite it leaning towards AdWords you do not need to be running a pay-per-click campaign to take advantage. I normally pick out three main keywords to describe what it is the client does “real fur bobble hats” or “sign lettering” and then go through the list of keyword ideas it gives you.
Make sure you pick keywords that are related to what you do. Try and avoid one word keywords as these are going to be far too broad and too competitive to rank for. Here you will see the average monthly searches for the keywords, how competitive is in terms of pay per click bidding (good indicator for organic search too) and the suggested pay-per-click bid amount. I normally exhaust every possibility I can think of taking into account the different services you provide or products you want to sell. Also bear in mind the geographic areas you want to cover too. So instead of putting “Mortgage Broker” if you only cover Sheffield, put in “mortgage broker Sheffield”. This will give you a much better indicator of the local search volume available.
If you’re stuck for keyword ideas I usually type my main phrases into Google and have a look what competitors are optimising for.
For instance, here we see a Google search for the term “sign lettering”. Here I can see Built up letters, 3D Lettering, moulded letters, plastic letters, trade signage, letters for signs and a huge range of possibilities.
Other tools:- Google Trends – Is a great way to see historically how people have searched, other keyword suggestions SEMRush – Great way to spy on competitors and not only see keyword examples but also what they are ranking for. Paid service.
So you have your list of relevant keywords, how do you let Google know the keywords you want to be found for?
Well Google is extremely clever at looking at your website (a process called crawling) and figuring out by the content of your website, what it is you do, and which searches you should be found for. We help Google with this by a process called optimisation. On-page optimisation involves tweaking (I hate the word manipulating as it insinuates doing something to trick the search engines) the content of a website. It is the process of telling no.1) your users and then no.2) search engines what it is you do and what you can offer. Always, write content for your visitors, NEVER write content for search engines. You need to make sure that when a visitor comes to your page the content draws them in to no.1) confirm you are indeed an expert to be trusted or have a product they need 2) tell them what to do next (sign up, register, call, buy, or download etc).
So if you’re a plumber in London and you want to be found for “plumber in London”, I would make sure the keyword phrases are mentioned in your text a number of times. Around 3 times max per 300 words. You may hear people call this “keyword density”. This is the amount of times a keyword is mentioned in the overall text as a percentage. So if you had 300 words of text and you mentioned
your keyword 3 times you would probably be looking at a keyword density of around 2%. Be careful
though, Google is very clever at picking up what you do according to other related phrases, so for instance if you were a plumber Google would expect to see “central heating,” , “boiler repair” etc in your text. This is why It is important to write your content for visitors rather than search engines.
Apart from the actual text of your website you can also pay attention to:- 1)Inner Page Linking - Linking to pages of your website that are relevant in the text. I.E if we go back to our plumber, he may link to his boiler installation page, his boiler repair page and boiler services page in the home page of his website. This Is called inner linking and can be a good signal of what is you do and the important pages of your site
2)Write authoritative content – Make sure the content of your website reflect the audience it is for, mentions industry related terms and is grammatically correct.
3)Bold, Italics, Headers – Like a word document we use headers to space out paragraphs when we write content. Making sure important keywords are in your headers can help. Just make sure the keywords appear naturally and aren’t stuffed into your content as this can cause Google to penalise you. (see our information on the Panda update).
4)Linking pages – Again another important factor is the URL or website address. If you use a content management system like wordpress, or an ecommerce site, make sure your keywords appear naturally in the URL but don’t overdo it. CMS’s or ecommerce systems often use pieces of code in the URL’s such as session id’s and article id’s. For example www.acme.com/boiler-repair is better than www.acme.com/content_article=4&sid=6
5)Meta Title & Meta Description -
When you do a Google search for anything you will always find a title description, the URL and then a paragraph or two. These are very important in terms of SEO, whether it’s to increase ranking or your actual chances of getting a click rather than losing it to a competitor above or below you in the Google rankings. You can manipulate what appears here, by editing a piece of code called the <title tag> and the <meta description tag> depending upon how your website is setup will determine how you can change these. The title tag should be no more than 64 characters long and contain two to three keywords maximum. The meta description tag should be no more than 160 characters long and include a call to action i.e buy now, visit page for more info etc. You need to make sure you write this a sentence rather than just listing keyword phrases.
Third Party Linking/Link Building
People often talk about link building and whether or not you can use keywords in your link building campaigns anymore. My advice here is if you are building the link yourself i.e a local directory, editorial, guest post, always use your website brand (i.e company or website name) and or URL ( http://www.acme.com) when linking back to your website. I would never recommend using keywords if you have control over how the link will appear. This is the biggest reason why some websites get penalised by Google by over using keywords in their link building strategy.
This is why it is more important than ever to plan out your keyword research as a foundation as to what is you do and want to be found for. If the keyword doesn’t appear in the content on your website as a signal to what is you want to be found for, you are seriously hampering the chances Google will ever rank your website for that keyword.