How to Choose Keywords for Your Website

Whether you dive fully into SEO or just dabble a bit, keywords are a must for your website. They’re the key (get it) to people finding your website when they’re searching online. If they’re not properly targeted, they will lead the wrong people to your site, and keep the right ones away. Here are some tips for identifying and using the appropriate keywords for your website. The information is adapted from Search Engine Optimization All-in-One For Dummies, which I reviewed here last week.

Start Brainstorming

You know what you sell, and the type of person you consider your ideal customer. Start by thinking about the words that those people would search for to find your site.

  • What words would you use to find your own product?
  • Are there other terms for what you sell (i.e. someone might call a Jacuzzi a ‘hot tub’)?
  • Are there industry terms for my products?

Once you’ve asked yourself these questions, make a list of the words that come to mind. Don’t be afraid to make a long list; you’ll be whittling it down soon.

Check Out the Competition

A great way to determine what keywords your site needs is to look at what the competition is using. Visit your top five competitors’ sites and see what wording they use. Also, do a Google search to see who appears in the top results for certain keywords you’re considering. If they’re not competitors (maybe they’re in a parallel industry), these might not be the right keywords to use.

Conduct Keyword Research

Now that you have a sizeable list, you need to figure out which words are worth using. Some won’t be popular with searchers, and those you can toss. Others will have a lot of competition, as many companies will use them. You can get more of the search traffic if you better target these keywords. For example, “Car” will have millions of search results, and yours won’t be on top. But if you specify “El Cajon Honda dealer,” you’re more likely to get the traffic you’re looking for: people looking to buy Hondas in your area.

Search Engine Optimization All-in-One For Dummies suggests several keyword research tools:

Use whichever tool you like best to do research on the keywords that have the most traffic.

Start Using Those Keywords

You’ll likely remove many of your original keyword brainstorms from your list. Focus on the ones that best describe your products that are high-traffic words. Choose one to two keywords per web page and use them at least three times throughout the web copy. Remember to use them naturally! Avoid what’s called “keyword stuffing,” where you put the word in awkward places in the text, which makes for unnatural copy.

Within a few weeks of adding in your keywords, you should start to see more traffic to your site!

Photo source: esocialmediashop via CC license.