Dec 032010

In part II of my series of Search Engine Optimization – How to improve your search engine rankings, I discussed website code and keyword tags as part of the equation. In today’s post I am going to dive into a deeper discussion of keywords. In fact just as a point of reference when discussing keywords, the topic should fall under content in addition to code as keywords will be both visible to website users in addition to the search engines.

When working on a keyword strategy for your website, the first thing you need to determine is what keyword phrases will people be using to find information on your company’s products and services. There are several methods you can use to come up with a list of strong keywords.

  1. Start with your own website and marketing literature and review keywords
  2. Review competitor websites to see what types of keywords they are using
  3. Check with a sample of existing clients to see what phrases they use for searches
  4. Use Google’s keyword tool to see additional suggestions based on your selected keyword phrases in addition to competition for the keywords, local search numbers, and much more. You need to be logged into your Google account. In addition you can select relevant categories in the left side toolbar, and make sure to select Exact match types.

In the next step you want to first narrow down your list of truly relevant keywords and toss out the ones that probably do not apply to your business model. There is no reason why you cannot go back and optimize for additional keywords in the future, and in fact you should always be looking to change and update your content, but initially let’s just focus on the most relevant keywords. You can also narrow down your keywords based on competitiveness. Computer repair is a very broad and highly competitive search term, but if we are optimizing for the middle Ga area, then “computer repair macon,” computer repair warner robins,” etc will not be as competitive in addition to applying to your target market. You can also use Google’s Advanced Search Tools in addition to the Keyword Tool to determine keyword competitiveness.

Once you have determined the most relevant keywords for your target audience, then it is time to work the keywords into your site content. You will only want to focus on 1 – 3 keywords per website page. Place the keywords in the title and description meta tags of your website code. Use the proper heading tags (H1, H2, etc) to show search engines the relevancy of the keywords on the page. And most importantly write content for the keywords based on your website audience and not the search engines. The easiest way to describe this process is to write content that flows and reads naturally. For example do not stuff the page with your keywords, but add them to your content where it makes sense.

And finally do not forget the call to action to direct your potential customers to contact you. Follow the above steps for optimizing keywords on your website, and you will be well on your way to increasing your search engine rankings.