If you want to make your web content more likely to come up in a search on Google or other search engines, then choosing the right SEO keywords can help your content become more visible and rank above your competitors. SEO keywords, as the name implies, are key words or phrases that exist in your web copy that make it possible for people to find your site using search engines. They are one of the basic elements of SEO.
When choosing keywords, you need to think about your audience—and think somewhat in reverse. What is your audience typing into a search engine? The same words and phrases that you think your consumers are searching for are the same words and phrases that should make up the keywords of your site pages. Therefore, when users search those words and phrases, your content will be more likely to appear in the results.
For example, if you are a pest control company, and you have a website page dedicated to the treatment of termites, then your keyword might be “effective termite treatments,” or even simply “termite treatments.” These are phrases that you can envision your customers naturally typing into a search engine.
So where should the keyword appear? Your content management system will have a place for you to type in a focus keyword for each page of your website and each of your blog posts on the back end. To optimize each page, your keyword should also appear:
- In the header of the page or title of the blog post.
- In the first paragraph of copy on the page.
- In the snippet, which is the little bit of information search engines show on their search pages underneath the title and URL for a search result. The snippet usually tells what the page is about and works best when also containing a call-to-action
- Peppered throughout the page copy. Theoretically, the focus keyword should be between 1 and 3 percent of the total copy. If you have 300 words on a page, then the keyword should be in the copy between three and nine times, for example.
You do not want to inundate your copy with the focus keyword, however. Known as “keyword stuffing,” the practice of placing as many keywords as possible onto a page is now highly frowned upon by Google and other search engines, not to mention it makes for a terrible user experience. Google will penalize your site if it catches you keyword stuffing by moving you down in the search rankings, and it may even remove you altogether.
When it comes to SEO, keyword relevance is more important than keyword density. How can you determine whether a keyword is relevant? Try using a tool like Google Trends (www.trends.google.com). On Google Trends, you can type in a search term (a.k.a. a potential keyword) and gauge search engine users’ interest over time.
Keep in mind when incorporating keywords throughout your site that you still have a human audience to appeal to. Do not get so caught up in trying to please Google’s bots that you forget about optimizing your site for the people who will be reading it—and the people who could become your potential customers or clients.
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