A keyword is a word or phrase which forms part of your website’s content and which allows your customers to find you via search engines. Search engines recognise and index your keywords on each page using crawlers, and then rank that page based on its relevance to search engine users. Keywords can be broadly split into two categories: long-tail and short-tail keywords.
Short-tail keywords, typically just one word, are very commonly used in many sites, and as a result are highly competitive and hard to rank highly for. However, they are also searched for by a huge number of internet users, making them highly desirable. Some examples of short-tail keywords for business sites: ‘shoes’; ‘electricians’; ‘legal advice’. As you can imagine, with these terms being searched for by millions of people and many, many sites using these terms in their content, getting your site onto that first page of Google for one of these short-tail keyword phrases will be hugely difficult.
To give your website a better chance of being ranked well and being found by customers, choosing a good selection of long-tail keywords will be the best option. Long-tail keywords offer more detail to a search term, and are more focused on finding a specific product, service or piece of information. Some examples of long-tail keywords: ‘red 50s style shoes’; ’emergency electricians east london’; ‘family law legal advice’. A customer using these terms is trying to find something in particular, so if your business offers these items or services and the customer comes across your website, they are much more likely to purchase your products or use your company. Not only that, but in using keyword phrases that are more specific, you reduce the amount of competition you face when trying to rank with that phrase.
Reasearching your keywords
A good place to start when choosing your keywords is the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. This tool allows you to search the popularity of a search term by internet users, while also allowing you to see what the competition is to rank with that word. In addition, it generates a list of similar keywords, allowing you to compare variations to see what customers are searching for and what other websites are using. Knowing your customers well will help too: when they call you, what products or services do they most commonly enquire about? What is your business’ biggest seller? Try putting these terms into the keyword tool, and see what results you get. You need to find the phrases that do receive a substantial number of searches each month, but which don’t face a huge amount of competition, allowing your site to be ranked well and easily found for relevant, customer-focused keywords. Once you have these, creating your website content around them should be much easier, and your site should have a great chance of success with the search engines.