Increasingly, people are using search engines such as Google to find products, services and information – a trend that is surely set to continue as more and more people gain access to the internet.
Keywords are the actual words that are entered into search engines when people use search engines to find information online. Including keywords in your website content is vitally important to making sure that your website is found in the search results.
High Value Keywords
If a keyword is used by lots of different people, and those people are searching for a product or service for which they will pay money, then that keyword is known as a high value keyword.
Generally speaking, the more high value a particular keyword, the more competitive that keyword will be and the more difficult it will be to appear on the first page of Google for that keyword.
If you’re not on the first page then there is very little chance you will get any significant traffic from a particular keyword as search engine users rarely stray from the first page of results.
An entire industry has sprung up around optimising websites to appear for high value keywords, known as search engine optimisation (SEO).
Local keywords are those that include a location in the search term, e.g ‘accountant manchester’. Unlike other keywords, you know in what area these people are looking for a product or service.
These keywords are less competitive than the national or international equivalent (in the example above, ‘accountant’). That said, there is considerably less traffic for local search terms than there national counterparts and in some cases local traffic is negligible for a particular keyword.
Targeting local keywords is a good option for businesses with limited range and can certainly be more achievable than the national counterpart.
When choosing keywords, try and think like your customers. What would they search for to find your product or service? It’s often quite different to how you describe yourself. How would you search for your product?
To understand how many people search for a particular keyword, you can use tools like the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. Although this is a great tool just be aware that the tool is intended for Google’s Adwords service so you shouldn’t take it as the gospel truth. But it will certainly give you an indication and ideas for related keywords.
Using Keywords Effectively
Although using keywords effectively in your website will not be enough to appear for a highly competitive keyword, it certainly won’t happen without it. Although search engine optimisation is complex and beyond the scope of this article, there are a few rules of thumb that you can keep in mind:
- Don’t try and stuff your pages full of keywords, Google may actually penalise you for this.
- Each page should only target one or two keyphrases as a maximum, unless you really know what you are doing.
- Keywords should be used naturally, in the page title, headings and content of a page.
- Including keywords in your domain name will certainly give you leg up versus a domain without keywords, but don’t let this dictate your domain strategy.
- Mistakes can be costly, if you use keywords in the wrong way you may be penalised by Google or even delisted altogether.