You’ve likely read the term “keyword” in the title of this article and have already fallen asleep. Twice. Wake up and hang in there because this is good stuff and well worth the read. I promise.
The truth is that keywords can be confusing, and many business owners prefer to leave them entirely in the hands of fluent SEO experts. There’s no shame in that game, but you still need to have a good handle on understanding what they are. Oxford says it best:
A keyword is “a word or concept of great significance; a word that acts as the key to a cipher or code; an informative work used in an info retrieval system to indicate the content of a document; a significant word mentioned in an index.”
Here’s the deal: keywords can be singular or lengthy, utilizing many words to create a “long-tail” keyword. They’re crucial for consumers searching for products or services offered by your company as they instruct search engines to load content available on your website. In other words, your selected keywords will dictate how your brand’s website shows up in search engine results and how it ranks on the page.
Spoiler alert: I’m going to remove some of the mystery behind this thrilling keyword issue of which I speak!
Keywords are important because they instantly link what a customer is searching for and your products or services. They help search engines decipher what your content is about and help to connect that content with your intended audience.
How to know which keywords to use
Think about what you’d type into the Google search engine when looking for shoes. The same principle applies to your customers when they search for products and services related to your business. They will type in words or phrases about their specific problem and desired solution. In the case of footwear, naked feet are the problem. Shoes are the solution. Pure rocket science right there. The number of keywords required is contingent upon what you’re providing to your customers and the scale of your website. Single-page sites generally require one main keyword with a handful of related keywords.
Think quality over quantity as you want to use keywords that will bring you a higher caliber of traffic and take the time to run a Google search using your desired keyword to see which sites pop up and if the results make sense. If there appears to be a ton of competition using your preferred keyword, you might want to rethink your strategy.
How to track keywords/rankings
Keeping track of your incorporated keywords is essential to measure their performance. Are they working for you? Fortunately, this isn’t hard as programs such as MozPro, SEMrush, Ahrefs and Serpfox are great for weekly tracking reports, and you will easily be able to see the effects of your content changes on your targeted terms and their performance. In addition, Google Analytics can measure whether target pages are getting more traffic and/or resulting in greater conversion rates.
Be sure you check your content on a routine basis as rankings change at the same rate new content is created. If you see that your keywords aren’t performing well, review your content to ensure it is up-to-date. Stay ahead of the game by performing regular keyword maintenance. Once you establish a routine, you will see that the process is actually quite simple. I dare say that you might even “enjoy” it.
Jason Johnson is “chief marlin” at Marlin Consulting Solution in Jacksonville. The Marlin team is made up of experienced, friendly online professionals with knowledge of website design, software development, content writing, local and national SEO, online marketing and social media.