Keep in mind when using keywords that your aim is to be seen by search engines as an expert for a chosen niche. Google’s algorithms are designed to provide searchers with the best results for their searches, and will therefore use criteria that indicates who is a true expert vs. who is simply trying to fool the search engine. As this algorithm becomes more sophisticated, shortcuts and cheap SEO cheats are becoming a thing of the past.
Your niche needs to be specific and should pertain to the region where you are looking to gain visitors from. Keep in mind that search engines index every page on your site – so different pages should be optimized for their specific topic.
Here’s what you should be looking for in a keyword:
– You should be bringing people what they are looking for. Are the people attracted to this keyword the same people you want visiting your site, hiring you or buying your product?
– Specific searches are serious searches. Being ranked first in “Dogs” is great, but most people browsing the internet looking for dogs are doing just this – browsing. Ranking for a keyword phrase like “German Shepherd dogs for sale in Poughkeepsie” is going to attract serious shoppers who are specifically looking to purchase what you are selling.
-Think local. Make sure you’ve enabled geotags, you’re listed on local searches and you’re writing about your location.
How to find keywords:
-Goodle AdWords is a tool that helps users find useful keywords for their websites. Look up which keywords pertain to your site. Search for the products or services you sell, any brands you associate with, and slang or shorthand that might be specific to your industry.
-Look at what your competitors are doing. View their sitemap to see which keywords they are targeting in their page URLs. You can also look at their meta tags. Market Samurai, SEMrush and Spyfu are paid services that allow you to find out what keywords your competitors are using in their paid Google Adwords campaigns and which keywords they are reaching.
-Remember to keep your keywords specific and that you are establishing yourself as an expert on the topic.
Where to use keywords:
There are a few places where it is absolutely imperative to be including keywords.
– Page title and meta title. Use keywords when naming your page.
-Make sure the URL is being displayed like this: yoursite.com/this-is-the-title/. Make sure your words are separated by (-) hyphens and not (_) underscores.
-Meta descriptions and keywords – the importance is debatable but you should have a short description (no more than 160 characters) and it can’t hurt to use keywords. Just make sure you aren’t stuffing your tags with repetitive words – it looks like spam and search engines don’t like cheaters!
-The next most important place to use keywords is your h1 tag. Ideally, you should have one per page and h2 & h3 tags should use keywords as well.
-Use keywords in your content, but remember, spam is frowned upon by Google so writing the same words and articles over and over again is going to get you nowhere.
– Links should contain keywords in the anchor text. Keep up with other sites that are linking to you and try to arrange so links to your site have your keywords in the anchor text. Other experts in the same niche who link to you will give you an added boost over any random site linking to you. Search engines trust experts, so if experts link to you you will have more credibility.
Keyword research takes time. Building a site from the ground up with well thought keywords in mind is the absolute best way to optimize your site from the get-go. You need to know how to choose the correct keywords and the proper way to implement them to give you a leg up over your competitors.