5 Keys to SEO Keywords

You know you need keywords for search engine optimization (SEO). That’s what your IT/web design/marketing people are saying, and they’re saying it loudly enough and consistently enough that you figure it must be true.

But how do you choose effective SEO keywords? Where do you start? You start right here.

Go back to the basics. What’s your USP*? If you serve the upper end of your market, price-wise, keywords like “bargain” or “cheap” are unlikely to work as hard at bringing your target audience to your site as keywords like “high quality” or “long-lasting.” And that is the point of keywords—not to increase hits on your site (well, okay, partly that) but to help you grow your business. And growing your business generally means finding actual paying customers. So include your uniqueness in your keywords.

Think bigger—and specific. Instead of finding stand-alone keywords, you’re searching for keyword phrases that will focus on exactly the right audience. People searching for an architect who specializes in historical-site remodeling in Boise, Idaho, don’t just search on the word “architect.” They’ll search for something like “historic renovation architects Boise” to find just what they need, in the right location. So don’t be afraid of having a three- or four-word keyword phrase.

Remember the code. Put your (carefully selected) keywords in your site content, for sure. Also put them in the coding. If you built your site within a CMS** you should be able to access “tags,” or code that attaches to different parts of your site to show search engines what lives there. Make sure your title tags, description tags, and alt-text tags use appropriate SEO keywords to show search engines what kind of content your visitors will find in your site.

Play the name game. Use strong keywords when naming any files hosted on your site, such as JPGs, PNGs, PDFs, videos, or other documents. This also applies to the page title—the text that appears at the top of a web browser. For example, the title “Acme, Inc.: 30 years of quality restoration architecture” is far more compelling than “Acme, Inc.: About” for both readers and Google. Every bit of targeting helps inform the search engines, sort of like the directories at shopping mall entrances that list all the stores, their locations, and what they sell.

Change it up. Does every page on your site talk about the exact same thing? No? Then why would you use the same keywords throughout? Tailor your keywords (and your content) to the value that each page offers viewers. Also, make sure your content looks fresh and appetizing to search engines by uploading new, useful content frequently. Blog posts, how-to videos, and rotating special offers are great places to start.

Monelle Smith is the Content Director at Gemstone Media, Inc. Follow her @GemstoneMedia

*USP = Unique selling proposition, which is what sets you apart from your competition. Are you more affordable? Do you offer better service? Perhaps you have a better selection?

**Content management system, such as WordPress, Drupal, BigCommerce, etc.

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