Keywords (in terms of SEO) are words or phrases typed into search engines by the user to find a relevant website. In order to help your website be discovered, it's important to target the keywords your visitors are likely to use.
If I was looking to buy a new pet locally, I might search for “Pet shops Brighton”.
Or if I was looking for a recipe I might search for “Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe”.
In this guide, we will be looking at some tips on how best to include these on your website.
Search engines send out 'crawlers' that automatically begin understanding your content - text, links, images and so on.. This helps them to decide where (and how) to rank your website.
They will look for repetition of, and to some extent the location of, keywords in your normal text to help them decipher what your website is about. They will use this information to then decide how well your site meets the search term a user has entered.
Remember, this is not the only factor the search engines use to decide how to rank you, but it's an important step.
Knowing which keywords to target is one of the toughest parts of optimising your content. Target keywords that are too general and you may not rank highly enough; target keywords that are too obscure and no one may ever search them.
In general, you should start by focusing long-tail keywords - these are a few words that may be searched together. If you sell furniture, trying to optimise for "chairs" means a lot of competition, but you may have a better chance with "handmade antique wooden chairs."
To begin researching, simply think of some words or phrases you'd like to optimise for and put them into a search engine. Is the competition too stiff? Why not look at competitors and see what they're doing to help get ideas and see what you're up against.
Once you've settled on your main keywords, it's time to start adding those to your site.
Considering what your keywords should be, and is a very important part of SEO. SEO is not just about getting a large number of visitors to your website, but also about getting the right visitors. Search engines are able to see if people are bouncing off your website - i.e. exiting it quickly after arriving.
There is some evidence that Google places a little more weight on keywords present on your homepage. So make sure you have a nice description of what your website is and what it offers directly on your homepage.
For example, if we use the local pet shop example again, my homepage text might be:
"Welcome to Pets Galore your friendly and helpful Pet Shop for the Brighton and Hove area.
We have been trading in Brighton on the High Street for over 30 years so we are one well-known little Pet Shop.
We specialise in pet nutrition, so why not visit us for your dog food, cat food or any pet food today.
We also sell great pet accessories and offer professional impartial advice."
“Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Don't deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users, which is commonly referred to as cloaking.”
Keyword stuffing is repeating your keywords many times on each page or in your META information. Avoid this as Google will consider this as ‘spamming’ activity and your rank will drop as a result of this.
Don’t try to ‘hide’ keywords on your page with techniques such as making the keyword text the same colour as the background. Google will still find it and it is considered ‘cloaking’ and you will be penalised in your ranking for it.
Too many different keywords
Try to keep your keywords few and specific, as trying to have too wide a range will dilute your efforts. If you like, you can improve your keywords later and replace them by tweaking your content.
Once you've got your keywords and added them to your content, you can begin measuring the impact with tools such as Google Analytics. It's important to constantly monitor your performance and looking for extra opportunities to boost your ranking.