SEO 101: Everything You Need To Know About Keywords
Published on 18th October 2018
A great-looking website is only the beginning – if you really want to succeed online, you’re going to have to make sure your website is working as hard for you as it can do.
How can you achieve this? Search engine optimisation of course!
With the right search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy in place, you’ll be able to get your website showing up as high as possible in Google’s search results, which will mean your website is seen by a greater number of potential customers looking for a business like yours.
The more people that see your website in search results, the more people will visit your website. This in turn will lead to a greater number of website sales or enquiries, which just goes to show how important SEO is to your online success.
So, where do you start? The answer is keywords.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about keywords so you can find the best possible selection for your business and use them to turn your website into a lean, mean marketing machine.
Table of Contents:
What is a keyword?
A keyword is a particular word or phrase that someone enters into a search engine like Google when they are looking for something online.
The purpose of a keyword is to sum up what the content on a website is about. By choosing the right keywords, you can therefore show search engines and potential customers that your website is relevant when people search for products or services like yours.
For example, if someone searches for ‘gardener’ and you have used this as a keyword on your website, this shows Google that it’s appropriate to display your website in the search results for this person’s query.
What is a long-tail keyword?
Keywords can be as short as 1-2 words in length, but these tend to be broad terms that are highly competitive to rank for in search results.
A long-tail keyword is typically any keyword of three words or more that targets a much more specific and less competitive search term.
For example, your website is unlikely to appear very high in the search results for ‘gardener’ because this is a vague and very popular keyword. However, if you optimise your website for the long-tail keyword ‘professional landscape gardening services’ , you will be competing with far fewer websites and will reach people who are specifically searching for what you are offering, increasing your chances of a sale or enquiry.
As well as being less competitive, long-tail keywords are an important part of any modern SEO strategy because they also help you to reach customers using voice search. Thanks to the growing popularity of voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant, voice search is very much on the rise, and because we talk differently to how we type, voice searches tend to be longer and more specific queries that can be targeted through long-tail keywords.
Lastly, another benefit of long-tail keywords is that they allow you to target multiple search terms at once. Google understands that many queries are related, and so will often show the same results for variations of a certain search. This means that by using one long-tail keyword on your website, you can appear in the results for multiple different searches. For example, by optimising your website for ‘professional landscape gardening services’, it’s entirely possible that you will also appear in the search results for ‘professional gardening services’, ‘landscape gardening services’, and ‘professional landscaping services’.
How to choose the right keywords for your website:
1. Brainstorm about your business
Nobody knows your business better than you. Sit down and make a list of all the words and phrases that relate to your business, taking the following factors into account:
What do you want people to do when they visit your website? – If you want to attract new clients for example, you might want to note down phrases such as ‘hire [your profession] in [your local area]’, ‘book [your services] online’, etc.
What are your customers likely to search for to find a business like yours? – Think of your customers’ needs and how your products or services could help them. Also think of your business from your customers’ perspective – how would they describe what you do and the services you offer?
Which keywords are your competitors ranking for? – If you have a few ideas in mind for keywords, it’s always worth searching these to see if your direct competitors are already ranking for them. If they are, you know you’re targeting the right search terms. Looking at your competitors’ sites may also present you with a few keyword ideas you hadn’t thought of.
2. Use Google autocomplete
Anyone who’s used Google before will be familiar with the autocomplete function. As you start to enter your query into the search bar, Google automatically suggests searches based on what you’ve written.
When you’re looking for keyword inspiration, this can prove to be a goldmine.
Simply start typing out a phrase related to your business, and see what Google comes up with – you’ll be presented with plenty of long-tail keyword examples of typical search terms related to your products or services.
3. Check out Google’s related searches
Ever noticed the ‘Searches related to’ section at the bottom of Google search results? Much like autocomplete, this is often a treasure trove of keyword phrases that you can use on your website.
Just search for a keyword relating to your business, then scroll to the bottom of the results page to see what other queries Google suggests. This should give you a great idea of what people are searching for to find products and services like yours, and may give you some alternative ideas of long-tail keywords to target.
4. Try a keyword tool
If you want to take some of the guesswork out of keywords, it helps to use a keyword tool. These will tell you exactly which keywords you should be focusing on, and can provide useful metrics to help you decide, such as how competitive search terms are, and where your website ranks for them.
There are many such paid tools available, but if you’re looking for keywords on a budget, we recommend the following free keyword tools:
Google Search Console
Less of a keyword tool and more of a website control centre, Google Search Console is an extremely valuable resource for website owners. Head to the ‘Search Analytics’ section and you’ll find the ‘Search Traffic’ feature, which lets you see which keywords your website is already ranking for. You might just find some keyword opportunities hiding in the list which you hadn’t considered before.
An all-in-one keyword research tool recently relaunched by SEO guru Neil Patel, Ubersuggest is quick and easy to use, and unlike many similar tools out there, it’s completely free. Simply enter your chosen keyword into the search bar, and you’ll be shown how competitive the keyword is, how easy it is to rank for, suggestions for related search terms you could try, and much more.
If you like Google’s autocomplete feature, you’ll love AnswerThePublic. Just enter in a topic of your choosing, and you’ll be presented with an incredible list of related questions and phrases that real people are searching. This should provide you with plenty of potential keywords to use throughout your website.
Where to use your keywords:
Now that you’ve picked out your keywords, it’s time to put them to use. Working keywords into your website is an essential step for SEO, and is one of the most basic ways of making sure your business gets found by potential customers online.
Here’s where you need to include your chosen keywords:
Metadata – Your page title and your meta description are key places to include keywords. These are displayed in search results, and if written effectively can have a big impact on how many people click through to your website. Page titles can also influence rankings, as these help search engines like Google to determine what each page is about.
it'seeze tip: If you have an it'seeze website, editing your website metadata couldn’t be simpler. Click here to find out how to add keywords to your page title and description.
URLs – It’s a good idea to use keywords in your page URLs as these also act as a signal for Google, telling it what each page is about and helping to increase your chance of ranking for that keyword.
it'seeze tip: When you create a page on your it'seeze website, the name that you give it will automatically become part of the URL for that page, so it’s easy to make sure your keywords are part of it.
Headings – The headings on your website should give people a clear indication of what the content that follows is about, so it’s only natural that you’ll want to use keywords here. Search engines also use headings to work out what each page on your website is about, so targeting keywords with these can give your SEO a boost.
it'seeze tip: Did you know you can quickly and easily add headings to your it'seeze website using the headings component? Click here to learn more.
Content - It’s an obvious one, but you’ll want to include your keywords throughout the text on your website wherever it makes sense to do so. You can also use your keywords as inspiration to influence what new content you create for your site, such as blog posts, questions in your FAQs section, and new pages.
it'seeze tip: If you have an it'seeze Max or Commerce website you can add unlimited pages, which means unlimited opportunities to optimise for your chosen keywords. Click here to see how to add a new page to your website.
Alt text – Often overlooked, alt text is important to include on your website as it helps visually impaired visitors understand what the images on your site are about, and also gives Google a better idea of what each image shows. Where appropriate, you can use keywords to describe your website images.
it'seeze tip: The image component makes it simple to edit the pictures on your it'seeze website, and lets you provide the text equivalent for each image. Click here to learn more.
Off-page – It’s also possible to use keywords in other areas of the internet – not just on your website – to improve the chances of people finding your business online. Try and pepper your responses to any reviews you receive through Google My Business with keywords where possible, and also make sure you include keywords in your social media posts and in any of your listings on business directories.
The dos and don’ts of keywords:
Optimising your website for keywords is one of the most simple but effective ways of making sure it’s working hard for your business – now you know how to pick your keywords and where to use them, just follow these simple rules and you’ll soon be on your way to SEO success:
DO think like a customer – An effective keyword strategy is all about attracting the right audience to your website, so to target potential customers, you need to talk their language. Cut the industry jargon and make sure your keywords incorporate the same words that customers would use to describe your products or services.
DON’T overdo it – Keyword stuffing – i.e. overloading your website with keywords in an attempt to manipulate its ranking in search results - is an old school technique that is frowned upon by the SEO community, and with good reason. It provides a poor user experience and could get your website penalised by Google. To avoid spamming your website visitors with keywords, focus on only creating relevant, high-quality content that reads naturally and isn’t too repetitive.
DO be specific – The keywords you use should be highly specific and relevant to your business, and the more descriptive you can make them, the better. Add adjectives in that help to differentiate your products or services, such as ‘handmade’ or ‘organic’, and use words that describe your location if you’re a local business.
DON’T put all your eggs in one basket – You should never limit yourself to just targeting one keyword. Although it might seem wise to concentrate all your efforts into optimising for one carefully selected word or phrase, in truth it’s a lot more sensible to target around 5-10 different keywords on your website. Similarly, if you try to optimise your website for too many keywords, you’re unlikely to achieve high rankings for any of them.
So there you have it – everything you need to know about keywords. Now you’re ready to get out there and find exactly the right search terms to optimise your website for, and you’ll know where and how to use them to add the most value to your website too. Good luck!
Need a professionally designed website to apply all your new-found keyword knowledge to? Get in touch with our web design team today to find out how we can help!
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