When it comes to creating a new website, or beginning your SEO or SEM efforts, it can be a bit overwhelming at first. But any good strategy starts with one very important thing: keywords.
Starting with keywords allows you to determine the best strategies possible to make your online marketing campaigns successful. Its important to master these keyword basics so you can fully tackle your website's SEO.
What Are Keywords?
The term "keyword" is in and of itself a bit deceptive, because keywords can be more than just words: they can be phrases as well. These keyword phrases are sometimes referred to as long-tail keywords, but also are called simply keywords. Whatever you choose to refer to them as, keywords and key phrases are both important.
Keywords are the words that internet users are typing into a search engine to find information. These keywords are descriptive of the information that a user is trying to find.
Example: Let's say someone is looking for a local Italian restaurant in Dallas. They would probably search something like "best pizza in Dallas" or "Italian food Dallas". These would be considered keywords. If these are indeed the words people are using to search for that specific information, than you, as an Italian restaurant owner, should be using those keywords to optimize your website so when someone searches those terms, your website will rank in the search results.
Why Do They Matter?
Keywords matter because without them your website and company might never be found. If your using all the wrong types of words or phrases to describe what your really trying to get out into the internet world, well, you just might never be found amid the array of internet information.
Keywords allow you to focus on what is the most important terms you want to represent on your website. It focuses your content and the purpose of your website, and make you easier to find to potential clients or customers.
Obviously, if you have an Italian Restaurant in Dallas, you wouldn't choose keywords like "tacos in Houston". That is not a true representative of your restaurant, or what kind of information will be found on your website.
How Do You Choose Keywords?
Making this choice is an important part of your SEO strategy. It is the cornerstone of your website optimization. It is best to start by focusing on a few keywords, and as your website grows, you can create more specific keyword focuses for different pages and expand the information on the website.
Think of your website as a giant web. It should be interconnected and relevant, but as you find you are gaining traffic for specific keywords through tools like Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools you may decide you need an entire page dedicated to that keyword in order to fully optimize for it, and provide the information your traffic wants.
Example: Let's say you have your Italian menu on a page of the website, but you start noticing you are getting a lot of traffic searching for pizza, but you only have a sentence about pizza on your menu. You could create a whole page dedicated to the pizza you serve: the different pizza you make, the types of crust you offer, the ingredients you use, how to build your own, and so on. This page would help you drive traffic looking specifically for information about your pizzas, and would capture that audience more than just a sentence or two on your overall menu.
How Do You Optimize Without Over-Stuffing?
A common mistake is using a specific keyword too often on a website. Instead of trying to put as many variations of your keyword on a page, try to make the page content sound natural and informative. Remember your pages are for real humans, not for search engine robots. And unsurprisingly, Google (and others) hate this and can pick up on any shady business you might try.
Stop thinking about the robots, and focus on giving your human visitors the best experience possible. Ultimately, if you do what makes the most sense for your users when it comes to SEO, you will see the best results possible.