A well laid-out digital strategy is important for any organization looking to appear on the first page of results for online search engines. Without a plan of action, many businesses fall to the wayside as well-optimized ones begin to take up the top spots in search rankings. While it may seem difficult at first, there’s actually a lot you can do as a business owner to improve the exposure your website has on sites like Google and Bing. It all begins with a solid keyword strategy.
What’s a keyword? Well, every time someone conducts a search, the engine scans thousands of documents online for content that contains similar language or specific references to the word being used in the search. The basic premise behind this is that people don’t search in complete sentences. Instead, they search for short words or phrases that describe what they’re looking for. These are known as keywords.
Now that we’ve scratched the surface, here are a few tips for improving your online ranking:
Choose a Focus Keyword
As you prepare your website to have a more prominent listing online, it’s important to determine which words will be your focus throughout the search engine optimization process. Before you go making changes to your page, think about the specific word or phrase that best describes your organization. Google AdWords has a great tool called the Keyword Planner, which can give you an indication of how heavily searched a term is, as well as historical data, and a figure of how many other sites are using that keyword. In addition, go ahead and do a Google search for an entry you have in mind. Take a look at your competition. Is this the group of pages you’d like to be competing with? If yes, you’ve found your focus keyword. Now it’s time to begin using it throughout your website and blog posts so that search engines can relate your content to the subject you’ve been trying to rank for.
Choose General Keywords
While the focus keyword is an important addition to your SEO strategy, it’s not everything. Another helpful tip for maximizing your website is to take advantage of general keywords within your content. When we say general, we don’t mean vague words like internet and shopping. We are, however, referring to words and phrases like “Hiking Gear” if your focus keyword/phrase is “Boulder Backpacking Equipment.” See how the two are describing a similar scene? The general keywords should always relate back to the focus without getting too specific. Scattering these general keywords around your web pages and blog posts will help funnel additional traffic to your page, as well as provide more accurate information within people’s search results during every day use.
When it comes to making sure your site gets picked up in search results, it’s all about tact. Your website should flow smoothly from page to page, with relevant content for the search algorithms to pick up on. Important places to consider adding keywords include spots like the title, meta description, the body paragraphs, within links to different pages, and even in the tags used for images. The wider the range of elements that see some variation of your focus/general keywords, the better chance you’ll have at having your content served to exactly the right people. Let’s go back to the “Boulder Backpacking Equipment” example we used in the last section. If your company is called “Bob’s Shop,” change the title online to be something more along the lines of “Bob’s Shop: Boulder Backpacking Equipment” to make your site stand out among the pack. Little adjustments can go a long way toward improving online exposure for your business.
Don’t Overdo It
We can’t stress this one enough, where keywords are concerned, there is a definite possibility of taking things overboard. While many people understand the idea that search engines want to see your keywords throughout your site, they don’t always see the repercussions of having too many scattered from page to page. In fact, Google in particular is great about scanning websites and recognizing if the content is truly useful, or just a 100% keyword play used to get a less helpful site to rank higher than the competition. To automatically sort for these types of situations, their search algorithm looks for sites with a reasonable keyword volume and links to relevant content, but skips over pages that use the keywords so often that the content loses substance.
There you have it: four quick tips to get your keyword strategy up and running. It may seem like an uphill battle at first, but we can promise that by sticking to these best practices on a consistent basis, you’ll slowly make your way up the list. Search marketing is all about putting yourself in the customer’s shoes and taking things one step at a time. Once you can think like your target market, and key into how your ideal demographic thinks, you’ll be able to generate the perfect set of keywords that drive traffic over to your page.