Optimizing your website so that search engines find it and display it for people looking for the information, products or services you provide is an ongoing process. Keywords are a major part of SEO but what exactly does this mean?
Keywords are the words and phrases your customers will use to search the web for products or services that they want. By using the same keywords, your page should rank in the search results. This is a very simplified view of keywords and SEO but it gives a basic overview.
Why do you need to update your keyword list?
When you created or last updated your website, updating your keywords list and phrases should have been one of the tasks completed. You need to update keywords for two reasons: how people search the internet for your products or services will change as too will search engine algorithms.
With the ‘right’ keywords in the ‘right’ place, you would think that you’ve won the internet and your website will automatically be listed in the top spot. It’s not quite that simple! But by understanding keywords and optimizing them for your site and customers, your rankings should improve.
1 Build or re-visit your keyword list
A keyword list is literally that: a list of words and phrases, including questions, that web users will type into search engines when looking for products or services, or information.
When you create the content for web pages, you’ll ask a copywriter – or you may do it yourself – to create readable content, that is informative and carries the brand voice and tone you want. Within this mix, you need keywords so when search engine assesses your site, they pick up clues as to what you are about and what you offer.
For example, if you offer personalized giftware, they’ll be a whole list of words and phrases people will use to find products from ‘personalized gifts’, ‘funny personalized mugs’, ‘printed mugs UK’ and more.
But if you included them all, content would look and read like pure spam. So you need to decide, with the help of tools such as Google Keyword Planner – although there are many other keyword tools available – which keywords are most prominent and the most used.
You will need to do a keyword audit from time to time – every 6 to 12 months – to determine if the ranking and use of keywords have changed so that website content can be updated as necessary.
2 Repurpose content = revitalize keywords
The fight to stay at the top is a hard one but that doesn’t mean you constantly have to re-invent the wheel.
A keyword audit may throw surprises your way. For example, you may find that a blog post written several years previously now starts to get traffic once again. This could be because the subject is relevant once again and the keywords you use, and the information contained within it, is the type of content people are looking for.
Keywords are not just about written content, but all content – popular blog posts could be turned into an instructional video, or an infographic or the subject of a podcast.
Repurposing content is not just about re-publishing it with a new intro. It is about combing through the content, updating and revitalizing it for today’s audience and consumer. And that include keywords and the phrases used.
3 Pay attention to where keywords are located
Algorithms vary, as does the individual weighting each search engine gives to certain aspects of optimizing a website.
In terms of keyword placement, some experts suggest that it does make a difference. For example, if you publish a blog post on business growth hacks, you might want to say something like this:
Growing your business is the goal of most entrepreneurs but it can hard to give your ideas the attention they need to push to the next level.
If you are struggling for ideas on how to grow fast, prepare to be inspired by others!
This article contains many of the most imprisoning stories to effective business growth, using low-cost marketing and promotion techniques to drive incredible business growth.
The underlined phrases are keywords, as determined by an audit list. This is the opening few paragraphs of a blog post and as you can see, there are three different phrases used high up in the content.
You can change phrases so that the text reads better. This is known as latent semantic indexing of LSI. It means using a different word or phrase that means the same thing. It helps to stop content from being stuffed with the same word over and over again.
4 Keywords and phrases can be used in other places too
From the URL slug to headlines and maybe one or two subheadings or questions, there are other areas where you can use keywords.
Images and graphics can be optimized for your prioritized phrases in both the alt-tag and the caption beneath. But again, consider if this is a natural thing to do and whether your readers will like this or not.
Natural keyword use and placement are critical to optimizing how you use these important snippet signposts.
5 Don’t get hung up on keywords…
Keywords are important. They act as signposts to your website and the content therein. If people like what they see, they’ll consume more or, for e-commerce business, convert them into customers.
Overdoing it with keywords is possible and does happen. We become so entrenched in the minutia that before you know it, phrases and keywords and peppered across content.
Read your content out loud. Is it sounding spammy? Does it sound artificial? Content should always be written for people first and search engine algorithms second. It needs to give people the information they want, how they want it.
Understand keywords by all means and weave them into content and pages but don’t be blinded by stuffing it full of phrases that you think Google or Bing would like to see.
Joe Dawson has a passion for creating meaningful experiences. Through design, he creates authentic and innovative digital products. Read Joe’s blog, https://www.creative.onl/posts/