How Keywords Can Help Your Business Get Found Online

| August 8, 2013

SEOThis article discusses Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques related to keywords, and how they can help your business get found online.

Keywords are words and phrases people type into the search engine (i.e. Google), to find what they are looking for. They are the currency that drives the web; triggering advertising and marketing initiatives. Effective use of keywords means inserting them into appropriate website content, which search engines use to “find” content online and index it according to specific search terms.
This process works exactly the way traditional book indexing does, in that the system identifies the location of words of interest and enables users searching for the words to know where to go to find them. The only difference is that the medium is digital instead of print, and the words are accessed by clicking “search,” as opposed to looking them up in an alphabetical list.

Researching Keywords
All this only works if the keywords used in your content are the right ones. There’s no point, for example, in using keywords relating to your brand, unless people are likely to use your brand name to search. For example, if users search for “facial tissues” and your keyword is “Kleenex,” they aren’t going to find you, so you need to know which specific terms they are using when they search. “Tissues,” “facial tissues” and even “soft facial tissues” might do it, but if what they are really searching for is “extra thick soft facial tissues,” some research using Google’s keyword tool will demonstrate this fact.

Long-Tail Keywords
The more specific the keywords are that you use, the fewer the results will be and the better your chances of appearing in them. So, while millions of people search for “tissues,” only a small percentage may be looking for your product. However, if you sell only extra thick soft facial tissues in pink, you want to use keywords that say just that. This is called a long-tail keyword, and it’s far more targeted and specific, so only users who type in the full phrase will arrive at your search result. However, given that those who do are more likely to buy your product than, say – someone searching for green tissues, it’s a worthwhile effort to make.

Keyword Density
Gone are the days when you could publish content jam-packed with keywords. At one time, a keyword density of 7 % was considered optimal. That means using the keyword seven times in every 100 words, and was called keyword stuffing.
Now, that might be doable if you’re using a generic term like “marketing,” but for a long-tail keyword like “extra thick pink facial tissues,” it’s a little more difficult.
When Google realized that too many websites contained text that read like gibberish, just for the sake of getting keywords in the text, and/or used a higher density than 2% or 3%, their Panda and Penguin algorithm updates of 2011 and 2012 penalized those sites. Now sites are also checked for quality grammar and spelling, as well as duplicate content. Today, keyword density is down to between 0.5% and 1.5% tops!

Keyword Ranking
This is the effective use of keywords everyone wants to achieve – high keyword ranking on their main keywords. “High” ranking means your website is ranked in the top 100 sites for use of a specific keyword. After 100, they stop counting. The level of difficulty of the keyword, as determined by its competitiveness, also has bearing on this, because it helps to balance the equation. For example, the lower the number of searches on a keyword, the less competitive it is, and the more likely you are to be in the top 10 or 100 with that keyword. So it might be easy to rank highly for “extra thick soft pink facial tissues” because nobody else is using it, than it is for simply “tissues,” which might have 100,000 monthly searches, but is also being used on countless unrelated websites.
Understanding the effective use of keywords is a critical “get found” online marketing strategy. Using it to your advantage can be a difference maker in your online marketing success.

Category: Marketing

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Email | Website | Terri Melvin is co-owner of the Christian Marketing Institute, a website design, internet marketing and online community learning destination for Christian business professionals.