What is it about the word ‘keywords’ that gets people so wound up?
Some go into a frenzy, others look blankly at you or there are those who try to devise cunning ways to cram as many of said words into everything they write.
This blog is going to look at what they are, how you work out good ones for you and what you should do with them.
What is a keyword?
The first thing to remember is that a keyword isn’t necessarily a word; it can also be a phrase.
In a nutshell, it is a word or phrase people use to search for a product, service or piece of information.
So if you sold designer leather dog collars, your keywords would be things like:
Leather dog collars
Designer dog collars
Leather designer dog collars
The other thing to remember is that every business will have more than one keyword. Which is just as well, because every page of your website should be optimised for a different keyword.
Your keywords can also include your geographical location to give your local search engine optimisation a boost.
The value of a good keyword
Before deciding on the keywords you want to use, it’s important you check out their competitiveness and impression frequency.
It is pointless going after keywords if they are:
Hugely competitive with everyone chasing after them
No competition because no one uses that term to search for things
You can use Google’s keyword tool to find out the number of searches (globally and locally) and whether the competition is high or low.
Long tail keywords (such as ‘leather designer dog collars’) will draw a lower search volume, but because it’s more targeted they are likely to bring in buying customers.
Single keywords, for example ‘copywriter’ are incredibly competitive and will take a very long time to rank well for, but if you opt for something such as ‘email copywriter’ or ‘copywriting services’ you’ll stand a better chance of getting quicker results.
How to decide on keywords
The best way to come up with a list of keywords is to write down everything that relates to your business, including technical and non-technical terms (your customers are more likely to use the latter).
Then use tools such as Google’s keyword tool and Wordtracker to help work our which ones are the best to go for. You can also use Google Trends to see how certain keywords are performing.
Using your keywords
I mentioned earlier that every page of your website should be optimised for a different keyword, but that doesn’t mean cramming every inch of the page with it.
Firstly, work out which words are to be included on which page and create your navigation bar (each page should have its keyword in its title).
Then create a keyword rich title tag (that actually makes sense) to show Google what your page is about.
When it comes to your content, make sure your keyword is in your H1 heading (main heading) and any other subheadings you use and then write naturally. You will find that your keywords will appear without you having to shoe horn them in.
That last point is vital – write naturally. Your website is there to attract people not search engine spiders because it’s the people who’ll be buying from you.
That’s basically all you need to know about keywords. If you have any questions leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
Search engine optimisation is one of those marketing techniques that changes more often than a teenage girl trying to work out what to wear on a night out.
You’re told one thing, then Google adjusts its algorithms and then you have to do something else.
Because of that SEO marketers tend to fall into one of two categories: those who continue to do what they’ve always done and begin to see their website’s fall, and those who embrace new techniques and flourish.
This post is aimed at the die-hards who believe that the old techniques are the best even if they are no longer working.
Here are 4 old techniques that should be shown the door. So if you’re still doing any of these, stop right now.
1. Keyword density
Wash your mouth out with soap.
All your content should be written naturally and with the reader in mind – not the search engines.
It’s hard to believe that there are still people out there fixated by the number of times a word or phrase should be repeated within their content. If you’re writing about a specific subject, the keyword (i.e. the topic) will be naturally introduced into your writing without you being obsessed by inserting it into every nook and cranny you can find.
As soon as you start to think about search engines you lose the ability to write naturally so cast them from your mind and forget about keyword density.
2. Press releases
Another firm favourite is writing press releases for absolutely everything and blasting them out to umpteen online outlets.
On the face of it you may think that’s fine, as it will generate loads of backlinks for you. But the problem is that the press releases aren’t newsworthy and can damage your reputation just as a poorly written piece of content can.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t write press releases, just make sure you only issue them for a real news story.
Once upon a time, marketers thought it a great idea to write one article and then stick it through some spinning software to generate umpteen versions of it that were then blasted across numerous article sites.
The result was a lot of very bad articles.
Although that type of article marketing is a no-no, you can still write great, unique content and publish it to grow your reputation as an expert in your field.
4. Meta Tags
In this instance I’m talking about keyword Meta tags. They are meaningless and about as much use as a chocolate teapot, so don’t use them.
If you are using any of these ‘techniques’ stop right now.
Sally Ormond, copywriter, tweeter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd.
You already know that search engine optimisation is one of the best and most effective long-term marketing strategies for any business that markets itself online.
But you also know that one wrong move and Google will be down on you like a tonne of bricks, so if you decide to outsource your SEO work, how can you be sure you find an agency that actually knows what its doing?
A lot of agencies will try to blind you with science and then take short cuts that, although may produce immediate results, could harm you in the long-term. Or you could end up with an agency that has no idea what it’s doing and simply won’t deliver the return you want.
So how can you be sure you find a good agency that actually knows what it’s doing?
Here are a few questions you should be asking when meeting with potential agencies.
1. Algorithm updates
What do you know about the latest Google updates?
Any agency worth its salt will be up to date with all of Google’s latest algorithm updates. You’ve probably heard about Penguin and Panda, but a good agency will not only have heard about them, it should also be able to explain to you what they mean.
Can you tell me why I have been hit with a Google penalty?
If you fall foul of Google’s rules you will be slapped with a penalty, but in order to make good the situation it’s essential you know why you got the penalty in the first place.
Now this one covers a lot.
You need to be sure of the agency’s technical experience and knowledge and that of their content writers.
There are loads of companies out there that can produce shed loads of content for not a lot of money, but if it’s not high quality you’re going to do a lot of damage.
On top of that, as social media is a huge part of SEO these days, the agency also needs to demonstrate it has a working and in depth knowledge of how to use social media to build influential relationships, promote your content, encourage sharing and generate customers.
4. Link building
What link building strategies do you use?
Link building, if done incorrectly, will damage your website. Avoid any agency that answers this question with things like, submitting your website to directories, placing articles on article directories, buying links, automated link building etc.
Instead you should be looking for ideas such as guest blogging on influential sites, increasing exposure on social networks and forums and other creative ideas.
What tools do you use?
There are certain tools that the agency should be using and some it shouldn’t. If they say they do everything manually, you’ll end up paying far more than you need to.
However, if you hear things like they use tools for link building, content production, social media etc., run for the hills as fast as you can.
But, you do want to hear they use tools for measuring their effectiveness, potential link opportunities, tracking your ROI and for the discovery of influencers etc.
6. Guaranteed results
Do you guarantee results?
If they say “yes” run away.
The true answer is “no” – no one can guarantee results when it comes to SEO.
Other things to ask
You should also be asking:
Who else they work for – can you speak to their clients?
How do they measure success?
What happens if they fail to provide results within the give time frame?
How will they report progress?
There are a lot of elements to your marketing strategy – finding the right professional copywriter to work with, the right design company, the right email marketing software etc.
But finding the right SEO agency is one of the most important aspects of getting your online strategy off the ground.
There are some people who are so obsessed by their rankings that they check them daily.
Personally, I think that’s madness. You’ll run the risk of sending yourself potty over the slightest fluctuations and I’d much rather spend that time generating content, working and networking and keeping myself 100% focused on my business goals.
A lot of people are noticing at the moment that their content is ranking really well to start with, but then takes a nose dive.
This latest video from Matt Cutts explains why this happens to your content.
Hopefully, that video will answer a lot of questions for you.
Sally Ormond – Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd
(That’s one of mine that I’ve used as an example.)
Every page of your website should have its own unique title tag.
Because every page of your website is indexed by the search engines, not your website as a whole. So by using different title tags for each page you increase your chances of being found in the search results for a range of different keywords.
Now that doesn’t mean to say you’ll instantly appear at the top of Google, the rest of your web page also has to be optimised too, but getting your title tag correct is a step in the right direction.
How do you write it?
Before you allow your creativity to run away with you, Google only allows up to a maximum of 70 characters for your title tag, so you don’t have a lot of room to play with.
It’s important to use your keywords, but make sure your tag is meaningful, especially when selling a product.
For example if you’re selling designer dog collars, make sure that goes in your title tag, if there’s room why not add a price too?
If local search is important to your business adding in your location will also be of benefit. As for your company name, it’s not essential it’s there, but if you’re a well-known brand or your company name is synonymous with the product you’re selling, it would be good to include it.
Your title tag is basically a signpost telling Google what your page is about and the content of your site should back that up with relevant, high quality writing. Working together they will help your website become more visible in the search results.