Search Engine Optimization and Keywords
In the modern world, everything is online and this is how people find and choose which businesses they shop with. This is why SEO, or search engine optimization, is so important. It essentially makes it more likely that those searching for the product or services you provide will find you. At the core of SEO are keywords.
Keywords are what keep search engines running and helping people find what they need. Google, or any other search engine examines web pages, figure out what the content is about, and assign it keywords. When someone does a search using similar phrases, the search engine is able to retrieve these relevant web pages and display it for the user. The actual process is much more complicated than this, of course, but that is the basics.
So, as you would expect, it is incredibly important to manage which keywords the popular search engines index for your business website. This is the way you ensure people can find it when searching for your products or services. Of course, many business owners do not have any idea about:
- How to check SEO keywords
- Which keywords would be most effective
- How to implement them
- How to use keywords to manipulate search engines to help their business
If this sounds like you, do not worry. This guide can help you get a handle on the basics quickly. And do not forget that relying on a professional is a great way to be confident in your online presence.
SEO London can analyze your business and website, determine which keywords would serve you best, and prepare content to get your business at the top of the rankings when people search for relevant terms.
Choosing the Keywords for Your Business
If you are like many business owners, the first thing you probably wonder is how to choose the right keywords for SEO. To get started on this question, you need to keep one thing in mind: “Think like your customer.”
Let’s say you are a business that repairs and details cars. When people want a mechanic, and they turn to Google to help them find a reliable, inexpensive business to take care of their needs, what will they search for? For the majority of people, they will not simply type “mechanic” into the search bar and hit enter. They may write “honest mechanic” or “mechanic in Dallas, Texas” or “car repair” or “broken compressor” or any number of other things.
Anyone hoping to use SEO to improve a business’ ranking online needs to figure out what people search for when looking for that business’ services and then they will have their keywords. To start figuring this out, create a list of topics related to your business. For this hypothetical mechanic, these topics may include “car repair,” “car detailing,” and “smog checking.”
Next, you should list as many potential keywords as you can for each of these topics you chose. The key is to think about it in terms of what people are looking for specifically. You need to know your audience to do this successfully. If you think people value an effective or inexpensive or honest or quick mechanic, incorporate these phrases into potential keywords.
To kick this process off, actually go to Google or another search engine, and look at the suggested and related searches. These are based entirely off of what people are actually searching for. You can be certain these would make good keywords.
What Are LSI Keywords?
While looking into SEO, you may have heard of something called LSI keywords and are wondering, “What is LSI keyword in SEO?” LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing, but you should think of them as context keywords. Imagine for a moment that your business only had one keyword.
What would it be? If you are a mechanic, it might be “cars”, or if you’re a dermatologist, it might be “skin.” For nearly any business, choosing a single keyword is very vague. When Google finds the word “cars” or “skin”, it does not know what your business actually is. For example, the word “skin” may refer to:
- The human skin
- The 2003 American drama series Skin
- The 1952 short story by Roald Dahl
- The American football team, the Washington Redskins, commonly referred to as Skins
- Skin beetles
- Stealth Keyboard Interceptor, or SKIn
As you can see, there are a lot of different contexts that the simple word skin can appear in and only one of them relates to your business. You cannot afford to assume Google will figure it out.
This is where LSI keywords come in. Strong SEO relies on hundreds or thousands of keywords and keyword phrases to ensure Google is crystal clear on what your web page deals with. If your main keyword is “skin”, your LSI keywords may be “doctor’s office,” “dermatologist,” “medical professional,” “appointment,” and “examination.” With all of these keywords, there is no confusing your site with the Washington Redskins.
Many people incorrectly assume that LSI keywords are synonyms of the main keyword, but as you can clearly see, “examination” is not a synonym for “skin.” It is better to think of them as semantically related keywords.
What Are Meta Keywords?
Another SEO concept you may have heard about are meta keywords. What are meta keywords in SEO and how are they different from main or LSI keywords? Essentially, meta keywords do not appear on the page itself. Instead, these special kinds of keywords are in the source code of your page. So what is the point?
Meta keywords communicate with Google directly. Most of the time, Google seeks out and finds keywords in the content of any page using crawlers. However, there is a spot in the source code of a website to list meta keywords, which is similar to submitting them to Google as official keywords. If you know anything about putting a web page together, you probably know about title tags and meta descriptions, and meta keywords fill a very similar role.
Title tags and meta descriptions allow you to write what appears on the Google results page when your website appears. This allows you to write something to appeal to readers specifically to encourage them to click on your link. Similarly, meta keywords allow you to appeal to the Google algorithms specifically.
Because these kinds of keywords do not need to be incorporated seamlessly into writing, it is much easier to use meta keywords than standard keywords. The process is as simple as creating a list of keywords and pasting it into the source code on the right line. Their simplicity and ease of implementation can make them an especially appealing tool for those who might be new to creating web pages.
Additionally, because of how little effort they require to implement, there is basically no reason to ever have no meta keywords on any given page.
The Importance of Meta Keywords
You are probably wondering, “Are meta keywords important for SEO?” They are certainly simple to implement, but how effective are they? That is really what matters, after all. Unfortunately, meta keywords are a lot less effective than they once were.
There was a time when Google relied heavily on these kinds of keywords, but website creators tended to include dozens of meta keywords to attempt to improve their rankings artificially. Google, and other search engines greatly decreased how heavily they weigh meta keywords, but they are still an important part of SEO.
Studies have shown that nearly 70 percent of search engine marketers always used meta keyword tactics, and essentially 100 percent frequently used them. Due to how little effort they require, the little amount of optimization they provide is still worth it.
On top of that, meta keywords provide a few unique benefits that normal keywords do not:
- It is possible to use a meta keyword for a phrase you do not want to include in the content of your page. For example, you may feel that drawing attention to your honesty only makes many readers question how honest you really are. But you can still appeal to those who use “honest” in their search by including it as a meta keyword.
- Sometimes people misspell keywords when they use a search engine, which renders your SEO ineffective. You can include a common misspelling in your meta keywords so those who make that misspelling are still directed to your site without making readers think you do not know how to spell the word.
- You can also list all the variants of the keyword, such as the plural form, without bogging down your website content.
The Best Way To Optimize Your Keywords
Once you have an understanding of the basics of SEO, the question becomes how to optimize keywords for SEO.
After all, only the top results on search engines get the most clicks. Studies have shown that over 50 percent of clicks on a Google results page is on the top three links. This means optimizing your ranking as much as possible is vital for success. So how can you do this?
- Get a good mix of keywords – You never know what phrases people might use to search for the services or products you offer. This means you should try to cover all your bases. Creating a lot of content with links connecting them in a web greatly strengthens your search engine results. This is inherently true, but it also creates a bigger net that will catch whatever specific phrases search engine users might type.
- Review what other similar businesses use as keywords – This is a good practice for getting inspired for your own keywords, but it serves another purpose as well. Knowing what keywords competitors are using to attract traffic should guide your own approach. It is a good idea to try to compete with them for relevancy to these keywords. Do not allow them to have a monopoly on particular phrases. Additionally, you should implement keywords that no one else seems to use, so all this traffic is directed to you.
- Once you have your SEO strategy implemented, you are not done. These keywords will get stale before too long. Continuously updating your keywords and adding new content to your website keeps search engines interested and recommending your site for years to come.
Finding SEO Keywords
If you are hoping to start managing the search engine optimization of your website, a good place to start is to examine the keyphrases of similar businesses. But do you know how to find SEO keywords of a website? Reviewing the suggested searches is a great way to see what people are searching for, but how can you discover which keyphrases other web pages are using? The most accurate way is to use a piece of software.
There are tools online that allow you to enter a URL and see which keywords are most closely associated with them. This is a good first step before jumping into SEO. Of course, there are SEO companies as well that specialize in exactly this service. At SEO London, we can research what the best keywords for your business’ field specifically are, taking into account what other businesses use and what people are actually searching for.
We also offer a SEO website audit tool online, which you can use to get a better understanding of your current SEO situation and how you can improve your search engine optimization. There are many subtleties to finding the right keywords and implementing them effectively that all but the professionals might not fully understand.
For instance, managing your keywords to take advantage of a local market is vital, especially for very small businesses. It does not do you any good if people 500 miles from your business are getting your website in their Google results.
Managing the location of your target audience, what searches lead to your business, LSI keywords, meta keywords, and every other aspect of SEO is what we do, and you can count on SEO London to provide the optimization your business needs.
What Are Secondary Keywords?
Keywords are one of, if not the most important concepts in all of SEO. But many newcomers to the field are unaware of the importance of secondary keywords, as are many SEO amateurs. Secondary keywords are an important aspect of keyword optimisation to understand.
Primary And Secondary Keywords
Every key page on your website should have a primary keyword. This doesn’t literally have to be a single word, we’re using ‘keyword’ in the SEO sense. There are a number of online tools that you can use to quickly determine which keywords are popular for your niche and are going to be the best targets for your SEO.
You should target keywords that are popular with users and are relevant to the page in question. There’s no sense targeting a popular search term just for the sake of it. Trust us – it won’t work.
Imagine a user searching for each potential keyword. How satisfied would they be if your website was the first result? If you think that your website satisfies their need, you have a valid primary keyword.
What Is A Secondary Keyword?
After you have decided on a primary keyword, you then need to choose a secondary. This choice deserves as much consideration as your choice of primary keyword. As is always the case when it comes to SEO, the difference that a word or two can make can be enormous.
The primary purpose of a secondary keyword is to provide some context to the main keyword. There are many keywords, perhaps even a majority, that could have a number of different meanings based on context. However, by pairing that primary keyword with just one other keyword or short phrase, it is possible to narrow it down and make the context obvious.
Why Secondary Keywords Matter
Google has been transitioning towards a more context-driven approach to searching for some time now, as demonstrated by its integration of natural language processing capabilities into its search algorithms recently. Google likes it when websites are clear and upfront about their purpose and content. This is understandable; Google has been burned in the past by websites that present one face to Google and another to humans that are browsing it.
You don’t have to restrict yourself to a single secondary keyword for each page. In fact, it is a good idea to choose four or five secondary keywords. If you don’t know what to choose, turn to your primary keyword for inspiration. If you type your primary keyword into Google, you will see a list of related searches. Any of these that are relevant to your primary keyword and web page are worth including. Don’t do more than 5, though.
Providing context is important for both humans and search engines. Secondary keywords enable you to capture traffic from searches relating to your primary keyword, but that is only part of their purpose. Without secondary keywords and the context that they provide, you will be missing out on vital keyword optimisation.
Understanding the nuances of keywords can be difficult, especially if you are just starting out. If you need advice with your keyword optimisation, contact us today to see how we can help.
What Does Google Say About Keyword Density As A Ranking Signal?
There is a wide range of factors that Google considers when it is determining the page ranking for a website. The presence of keywords is obviously important. Google will even consider how what portion of the total words in a piece of content are keywords. There’s a lot of debate about the ideal keyword density, but what does Google say?
What Is Keyword Density?
Put simply, keyword density is the ratio of words in your content that are keywords. So, if you have 100 words of text and a keyword density of 2%, two out of those 100 words will be keywords. Keyword density is something that Google considers when it is ranking a page, but it isn’t always clear exactly how it uses this data.
A higher keyword density will make it much more apparent to Google what the content of a webpage is. This makes it easier for Google to categorise a page properly. However, you always need to be cautious of keyword stuffing. Simply adding more keywords to your content haphazardly isn’t going to help you in the long run and will soon lead you into trouble.
What Is The Idea Keyword Density For Google?
Google recommends a keyword density of between 1% and 2%. That means that only a few words out of every hundred, maybe even a single word, should be keywords. If it is natural for you to include a keyword more frequently than this, you shouldn’t be afraid to do so.
Every search engine provider has its own recommended keyword density value. Remember that these values are a guide only and that there are no real penalties for straying outside of the suggested limits. The exception is if you include way too many or way too few keywords, in which case your SEO isn’t going to be as good as it can be.
Keep It Natural
No matter how many instances of your keyword you need to work into an article, you should always aim to do so as naturally as possible. Google is forever getting better at detecting artificial keyword placement. As its natural language processing capabilities increase, it can interpret pages like a human would.
Google has always encouraged content creators to write for humans, not for search engine bots. Placing words in awkward places just to try and hit an arbitrary target is rarely going to make your content better. At the end of the day, content is king and high-quality content is the lifeblood of any website.
It is important to be aware of your keyword density when you are writing or commissioning SEO articles. However, don’t fall into the trap of obsessing about your keyword density to the point where it interferes with the quality of the content. Sticking to optimal keyword density will make search engines happy, but it isn’t necessarily going to raise the experience for your human audience. Google advises you to stick to between 1% and 2%, but they clearly emphasise keeping content natural above all else.
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- 13 September 2020
Lukasz Zelezny, a London living SEO Evangelist and conference speaker. Was working for FindAProperty, PrimeLocation, ThomsonReuters, HomeAway and others.
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