Long-tail, short-tail, SEO, PPC…keyword strategy has a language of its own, and it can seem overwhelming to a lot of businesses. So they just don’t bother. But if you aren’t doing at least some basic keyword optimization on your website, you are missing out on free publicity and potentially forsaking traffic to your website.
If you are looking for a starting point for your internet marketing efforts, keywords are it. And the process isn’t scary or difficult.
A keyword is a word or phrase that a person enters into a search engine like Google or Bing, or a social media site like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
Why build a keyword strategy for your website?
There is a reason why “Google” has been added to the dictionary as a verb: people are using search engines all day, every day to find specific information online…including information about your industry, and potentially, your business.
So how do you make it easy for them to find you? In part, by optimizing your website with the keywords your potential customers are using to search. This will increase your chances of getting found by people searching with those keywords (what’s called organic site traffic), which will drive more and better quality traffic to your business’ website.
While it’s difficult to know exactly which keywords will get the most relevant people to find your business online, there are ways to determine the popularity and competitiveness of certain keywords (see Step 2, below). You can also test and analyze how effective different keywords are in drawing qualified visitors to your site by using site analytics tools.
Keyword research provides valuable insight in terms of industry trends and product demand. Comprehensive keyword research can help a business grow its organic site traffic and even save you from spending money on pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns (such as Google AdWords).
How to create a keyword strategy for your website.
1. Create a list of 3-5 keywords that are relevant to your business.
Try to think like your prospective customers…someone searching for your product using a search engine. If you have a small or medium-sized business, your keywords are probably not your brand name, since people may not know it or be searching by it. Instead, think of words and short phrases that get to the heart of what your product or service is all about.
2. Choose keywords based on difficulty and relevance.
The keywords you choose should be based on difficulty and relevance. Very general words such as “marketing” or “business” are called short-tail keywords. These keywords are very competitive, meaning a lot of websites use them, so it is much more difficult to rank well for them in search engine results.
The greater the volume of searches on a keyword, the more difficult or competitive it is to rank for in a search engine. There are a number of different tools you can use to determine the competitiveness of a specific keyword as well as suggest and help you brainstorm new keyword ideas for your site. These include the Google Keyword Planner or HubSpot’s Keyword Grader tool. (Hubspot also offers some great educational information on keywords.)
If you are a small- or medium-sized business, you probably want to choose less competitive keywords–words more specifically relevant to your business (commonly referred to as long-tail keywords). So instead of trying to rank for the keyword “marketing,” maybe you would work on ranking well for “inbound marketing Phoenix”.
You should find a balance between relevance and difficulty. Choose about five keywords that match your business well. Keep in mind: keywords are an inexact science…there is a lot of trial and error. You can try out different ones to see which work best to increase your site traffic.
3. Design and optimize your website around your keywords.
Now that you’ve chosen your keywords, you should incorporate them into your website. Work them into your page titles, section headings, and throughout your copy (within reason…you don’t want to get put on the search engine “naughty list” for using what they call “black hat SEO”).
And if your website’s content management system has fields for keywords or meta tags for the pages, be sure to use those too. When the search engines’ spiders “crawl” your site, you want them to know exactly what it is that you do and what differentiates you from others in your same industry.