To get the highest page rank possible for your website – Google has to know who you are and what you do. The Google Spiderbots have to be able to crawl your site and get an accurate read on what you business does before they update their index (and start sending you customers). The Spiders check very specific areas on each page for clues as to what you do and how to categorize your website, so you need to fill those spaces with the best information to describe your business.
Developing a keyword strategy for your website is kind of like a sales pitch to your computer. If you were introduced to a possible lead by a colleague, you would great them with a handshake, a smile, and know exactly what you had to say. Let me take this opportunity to introduce you to my friend – Google. Developing a keyword strategy for search engines is not much different than writing your sales pitch. You need to take the time to work out what the key messages are and what order you want to say them in. You want to tell the potential customer what you have to offer and why then should come to you for it. Here are the 4 steps I used to get a keyword strategy started:
1. Start the brainstorming process
Like most tasks of this matter, getting started is always the hardest part. So don’t waste anytime and just start writing on a piece of paper. Just write anything that you think of when you think of your business. These thoughts may not necessarily make great keywords or phrases, but it will get the ball rolling. A few questions that might help you get your ideas on to paper at this stage are:
- • How would you search for you?
- • How will your client search for you?
- • What kinds of problems does your business solve?
- • How does your client benefit from your service?
2. Don’t forget about your competition – Your customer certainly won’t
When starting out your keyword strategy, take a friendly look at your competition, I’m sure they won’t mind
See what kinds of things they do, and don’t do on their sites. A few questions to ask yourself while reviewing your competition’s site;
- • Are they positioning themselves as experts in one particular area?
- • Do they neglect something you feel is important for your customer to know about?
- • Are there aspects of your particular industry you want to compete with them for?
- • Do you see a hole in their game you think you can take advantage of?
Try not to limit your competition review to the companies you already know about. Try plugging a few of the keywords you have for your company into a search engine and see what comes up.
3. Start testing your keyword strategy with Google Adwords
Google Adwords is an essential tool in the keyword mapping process (link). Its a free tool that lets you see how many times a month any keyword is searched for, and how much competition there is for them.
The best thing about Adwords – you are LITERALLY seeing what your potential clients are searching for. Use the words you came up with as a base, then compare them to the highest ranking related terms. I’m positive you will find words with this tool you didn’t think of that return higher results.
Have you been building your online shoe store around the phrase “Discount shoes”? That’s a very targeted message, and a great phrase for attracting potential customers because it returns approximately 12,100 local searches a month. But I bet you didn’t think of using the phrase “Cheap Shoes”? It sounds low quality – and in most cases it’s a negative way to describe footwear – and a phrase you probably wouldn’t want associated with your product. Well, it returns almost twice as many results with 22,200 local searches a month. Keep in mind, not only does your keyword strategy have to reflect how you want to portray yourself to your customers, it also needs to reflect what people are actually typing into search engines. It’s a delicate balance that requires strategic thinking, but it’s hard to ignore an extra 10,000 potential customers a month.
4. Use your keyword strategy to optimize your website
Google (and all the other search engines) read specific areas of your web pages to quickly understand who you are and what your about. Use your keywords and phrases to write optimized headers, titles, descriptions and body copy throughout your site. Don’t just list words (Google doesn’t fall for this anymore), but put some thought into writing attention-grabbing copy, rich with the words your potential clients are searching for. Each page needs to be treated just as important as the one before it, make sure the viewer is taking in and understanding your message with each line of text.
Optimizing your website with a keyword strategy goes way beyond retro-fitting and cramming phrases into all the nooks and crannies of your site. Effective website design starts by mapping out what you want to say and where you need to say it – make it easy for Google Spiderbots to scan – and ultimately present your website as the obvious result to those searching. Use your keyword strategy to clearly define who you are and what your about, so Google will know what customers to bring to you.