Now let’s rephrase the question: If a website goes live, will anybody find it?
Not unless it’s been optimized to be found by search engines.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most important aspects of inbound marketing, and knowing how to make the most of search engines, and traffic that may come your way as a result of them, is critical.
If you haven’t the foggiest idea what SEO is or how you can optimize your website, don’t worry. Today we’re just going to focus on one aspect of it: keywords. Knowing your business’ keywords and how to use them is one of the most important ways to make your website easily findable by people searching on Google, Bing, or Yahoo!.
Know your keywords
Every day, people are using search engines to look for the products and services you offer. They’re putting in all kinds of words and terms, and those search terms lead them to websites that are the most relevant based on the search query.
For a searcher, the best results come from putting in the best keywords. For businesses, being a part of those results comes from knowing your keywords.
What are your business’ keywords? Start with the basics. For example, if you’re a bakery, then “bakery,” “cakes,” “cookies,” and “pastries” would be some of the leading ones. Now get less generic and think of words and terms like “special occasion cake” and “sugar cookies.” Finally, combine them with the name of your city or town, or the metro area where you are.
Here’s the thing, though: People are looking for the products and services you offer, but they may not be using the words you expect them to. That’s why you should think outside the box — or better yet, do a little research. It could help you discover that more specific terms like “mascarpone cheesecake” or “fruit-filled tart” are popular.
Google Analytics and the Google AdWords Keyword Tool can help you identify which keywords people are already using, and that are already driving traffic to your website. And ConnectedView can show you how high your site currently ranks for different keywords versus the websites of your competitors.
What to do with your keywords
Once you know what your keywords are, you need to use them on your website: in the sales copy, blog posts, title tags, headings, attributes, and link text. Each page of your website should include some combination of your keywords. (If some of that terminology is foreign to you, don’t worry: Your webmaster knows all about it.)
One nice thing about keywords is that it can help you come up with blog post ideas. For example, if you’re an accountant and you know people are searching for information about a specific tax form, then you can write a blog post about tips for filling out the form and another about the forms you need to know about before you file your taxes. These would incorporate the related keywords naturally, and that will help with your SEO.
But even if specific blog posts aren’t inspired by specific search words, try to keep your keywords in mind and use them in your headline and first few paragraphs, where applicable.
Just don’t go overboard: While adding keywords to the content of your website can improve its search engine ranking, overusing them can cause your site to be flagged by the search engines and may lead to you being branded a spammer. As with everything, use them in moderation.
More than keywords
Of course, there’s much more to SEO than keywords. But knowing what terms people are using to find your business and using them to your advantage is a good first step toward making your website one of the top results in your category.
What questions do you have about SEO? Ask in the comments section below and we’ll answer them in a future blog post!