This is a guest post by Thomas McMahon.
Having great content on your site is key, but it’s worthless if it doesn’t feature great keywords as well. Let me explain why it is so important to find the best keywords for your website.
After spending entirely too much time on the internet looking at how people are formatting their sites, it’s surprising to see how often businesses, especially new businesses or small businesses, fail to highlight the keywords relevant to their business.
The point of a business’s website is to turn traffic into customers, clients, or at least subscribers, but you need to generate traffic in the first place and one of the top sources for traffic is from search engines. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is so important, and featuring your keywords is a vital part of SEO. That’s why finding and using relevant keywords is crucial to making sure people will find you in search engines.
On the web, the saying “if you build it, they will come” doesn’t apply. If your site is not showing up in search engines, people won’t know you are there.
How to find the best keywords
To find your best keywords, look at what product or service you are trying to sell. The keywords you use should be relevant to the focus of your website and should be featured throughout all of your pages.
The best tool, in my opinion, for finding relevant keywords is Google Adwords Keyword Tool. If you have an idea for a keyword, you can fill in the “word or phrase” box to find related keywords that you can implement. Or, if you’re not sure, you can find keywords based around your URL or the category you’re operating in.
Google Adwords then gives you list of related keywords along with how competitive they are, the global monthly searches for them, and the local monthly searches for them. These numbers help you to avoid a few pitfalls and help you find keywords that are more likely to lead to conversions.
Don’t get too broad
It can be tempting to focus on a broad keyword that has tens of thousands to millions of searches a month, thinking that you’ll generate loads of traffic. These broad keywords are very hard to rank on the first page of search results and if your site is buried on page 5 or 6 (or further) it is highly unlikely you will be seen by the majority of searchers.
Also, typically, the broader the keyword, the farther away the searcher is from making a purchase. An example of a broad keyword, also known as a “short tail keyword,” might be something like flowers. Ranking your flower delivery site for this search term will probably be next to impossible without some serious muscle, but the search term flower delivery in Sydney could be doable and drive high quality traffic to your local business.
Find the right balance
So as you can see, long tail keywords (that is keywords of 3 or 4 words) are more specific and people searching for them are typically closer to the buying decision.
An example might be “size 12 men’s shoe” which gets 1,300 global searches a month. This should be much easier to rank for than trying to rank for “men’s shoe” and should drive traffic to a page selling size 12 men’s shoes. However, long tail keywords can easily become too focused. This means that a low amount of people are searching and, while it’s easy to rank well for these keywords, it’s usually not worth your time since the amount of traffic you’ll get from them isn’t worth the effort.
Optimally, your site should be ranking for a healthy mixture of short tail and long tail keywords to bring a steady flow of different kinds of visitors in.
Don’t overdo it
Once you find the best keywords for you, make sure you feature them on your pages, but don’t stuff them in willy-nilly. The keywords should appear naturally within your content. Remember, people as well as web crawlers will be reading them and if it reads like an infomercial script you’ll turn people off and get penalized by search engines.
The amount of times your keywords show up in content on any given page is known as keyword concentration which is measured as a percentage. For example, let’s assume that the target keyword for this page was “keyword.” The concentration in this article would be about 4%. Now, depending on what you read on the internet, this number might be way too low, too high, or right on the money when it comes to SEO content. Honestly, don’t worry about keyword concentration. As long as you are aware of what your keywords are, you’ll naturally fit them into your content without sounding like a late night infomercial.
Keeping with the theme of not overdoing it – it’s important to realize that Google (and most search engines) rank the individual pages of a site, not the entire domain. This means that you don’t have to try and fit in your keyword into every page of your site to get the entire thing to rank. Focus on a keyword for each specific pages that you want to rank well in the search engine results rather than trying to fit the same ones in on every page of your site.
Implement keywords on one page of your site today:
- Pick a page
- Use the Keywords Tool to decide which search terms you should optimise the page for
- Go for it!
Susan’s note: If this is all new to you and your site is in WordPress, I recommend the WordPress SEO plugin by Joost. It makes the whole process much easier.
- More information about how Google Adwords can help with SEO.
- Another good keyword finding tool by HubSpot.
- Some great tips for choosing the right keywords at Inc.com.
When Thomas McMahon isn’t writing, he can be found fly fishing or trying to remember what hobby he started last week. He works for Page One Power, a relevancy first link building company.
If you have enjoyed this post and want to know the next steps to turn your good ideas into a great business, you will be interested in my free Startup Blueprint: 5 Steps to launching your 6 figure business
Grab it here It’s free!
This is such a weakness of mine -_- I know very little about SEO. Thanks for the post!
Thanks for reading and for your comment, Taylor. Your site looks nice and professional, very clean – well done. You may want to consider getting a self-hosted domain and use wordpress.org rather than wordpress.com if you want to take your site to the next level and monetize it.
As for SEO – I wouldn’t stress over it. Just write great content and grow your site naturally. Read up on some basic onsite strategies (I’m afraid I can’t help too much there) to make sure your site is being structured correctly before it gets too big. Maybe do a guest post here and there to get your name out there and to build some natural links. But like I said, don’t stress over it. Just focus on building a quality site with quality content and it should take care of itself for the most part.
I just wanted to tell you that I have read several articles today searching for a better understanding of how to choose keywords and yours is the ONLY one I found to be forthright with info and simple to understand. And you answered all my questions. Thanks so very much.
To find the best keywords I use google keyword tool.
To learn more about keywords, these articles are great:
So loving this article. Question-Is it wise to hire a Digital Media Specialist to this for me to optimize and generate my desired traffic that turn into paying clients? I just felt that as a start-up business, I have been devoting so much of my time with media marketing than developing & creating products for my services. I understand that it’s critical for any start-up to exhaust every opportunities out there. Thanks!
Thanks for your question Mahal. My thought is to do it yourself while the site is small. That way you learn what you need to know about SEO so that when you do hire someone, you can make sure its someone who knows what they are doing. Most people that optimise sites can’t actually do that properly until you have a critical mass of traffic so they can do statistically relevant testing. If you are just starting out my priorities would be 1. build and audience first and do basic SEO, 2. Launch a product once you have about 1000 subscribers, 3. Spend on SEO optimisation once you have income coming in to leverage your efforts.
Sometimes I do forget to change it up a little in regards to my KW.
Thanks for the reminder! Heading over to KW tool now, to see what’s new.
Thank you for the info. I have ignored working hard on keywords and it seems I am paying the price. My traffic is reduced quite a bit after the initial adwords boost it got for few months. I will try to concentrate back on keywords to drive some organic traffic.
A great free tool for finding if a keyword is available in a domain name is leandomainsearch.com . If only they had it for other extensions like .com.au etc .
It is still handy!