Using the right keywords on your site is the vital first step in effective search engine optimisation (SEO).
When someone uses a search engine, they type in one or more words describing what they are looking for: ‘Norwich florist’ or ‘cheap holidays Greece’, for example. These words or phrases are known as keywords.
The search engine then comes back with a list of web pages, with content that relates to the keyword used.
So if you are building a business website you want to ensure that when customers search for relevant keywords, your website appears as early as possible in the list of results. That is what search engine optimisation (SEO) is all about.
So how can I use keywords on my business website?
At a basic level, you want to use relevant keywords in your content. In fact, you may want to identify keywords first and then create content built around these. There are three things you need to remember:
- Concentrate your efforts on keywords likely to be used by potential customers
- Focus your individual web pages – target just a few keywords per page
- Take into account what the competition are doing
Choosing the right keywords
As far as useful keywords are concerned, you need to think in the same way as your potential customers. For example, suppose you have developed a new type of house paint – and branded it as ‘Wonderstuff’. That brand name is not what potential customers will be searching for – in fact they may not even know it exists.
They’ll be looking for ‘waterproof house paint’ or ‘house paint Suffolk’, so those are the sort of keywords you should be thinking of using.
Focusing your efforts
You should aim to create individual web pages that are clearly relevant for just a handful of keywords.
Simply stuffing every keyword you can think of into your content doesn’t work. You are likely to end up with poor quality content, and may well find your web pages are penalised by search engines if they think you’re trying to cheat the system.
Beating the competition
All your competitors are using SEO on their websites too – and some may have bigger budgets than you. Trying to compete for single keywords is probably hopeless (and less likely to deliver customers who are interested in what you specifically have to offer).
Instead, try and look for longer phrases that closely match what your target market want, in an area where you have a competitive edge.