When you’ve got a website, how do visitors find you? They find you because your site has the right keywords in the right places. Choosing and using highly targeted keywords is a major component in creating a good website. Let’s look at what all of this means and how you can use it to your advantage to get traffic.
What Are Keywords Really?
Rather than getting bogged down in a bunch of SEO terminology, let’s make it simple. The term “keywords” refers to what people are searching for in search engines. Almost all Web searches are done on search engines like Google and Yahoo, and these are the terms they use.
For example, if you’re trying to find beginner golf clubs, you might enter into Google’s search field “beginner golf clubs.” These are your keywords. If you were an Internet marketer making money in the golf niche, you would target this keyword.
The Benefits Of Keyword Optimization
When you optimize your site for specially chosen and well-researched keywords, it will turn up in the right searches. The people who are looking for your information will find you. Using the right keywords also tells Google what your site is about. Their search function uses a complex algorithm to determine which sites are relevant or not. With your well-chosen keyword there, it will list your site for related searches.
Do we really need to worry about keywords? Some folks say that if you write good content, it will naturally contain the right words and phrases. There is some truth to this. Although there’s some debate about whether we really need to worry about keywords or not, the answer is simple: Yes, we do.
Keywords are the foundation of all things SEO. If you’re not targeting keywords for your site, you can be sure that every other site in your niche is. It’s just too risky to ignore keywords and imagine that your site will drift to the top because it’s got such darn good content! Keywords get your content seen.
Why Research Keywords?
If you’ve got a site already or an idea for a site, it’s probably pretty easy to imagine which keywords would be best for it. You can sit down and make a list of all the phrases people might be searching for. Then, you can head to the local gas station and buy a lottery ticket, because your chances of success are about the same!
Instead of taking a shot in the dark, you’re much better off researching your keywords first. It’s not complicated at all; basically, you just need to look at some stats and then pick a few phrases that suit you. When you research keywords, you’re looking for three things:
- It should be relevant to your topic.
- Your keywords should get a certain number of searches in the search engines. We’ll get into this in more detail below.
- The keywords should be profitable. In other words, people who are searching them should also be buying.
Keyword Research –Traffic
Researching keywords to see how much traffic they get is easy and you can do it for free using Google’s Free Keyword Tool. There are lots of keyword research software programs out there and many are excellent, but for the very basics you can use the free tool offered by Google. It will give you a good idea of how much a keyword is being searched as well as offer you other ideas for keywords that are related. Once you get the hang of keyword research, you can always invest in a software program that has the extras you want.
Although it shows you lots of different data about your chosen keywords, the most important thing to look at is “Global Monthly Searches.” As the term suggests, it tells you how many people around the world are searching for this term each month. If you want to, you can limit it to a certain local area as well.
If a keyword gets lots of searches, that means it’s good, right? Well, not exactly. When a keyword has lots of searches, it usually also has lots of competition as well. For example, if you look up “toys” in the Tool, you’ll see that this word gets millions of searches per month. But if you were to start an SEO campaign targeting the keyword “toys,” you’d have to be a real SEO genius to get on the first page of Google’s search results!
So, what is a good number? A good number is around 10,000 searches per month. That’s quite a few searches (around 300+ per day) but not too many. You’ll be able to get some good traffic without the stiff competition.
Another thing you can do with the Tool is find good related keywords. When you enter your search term, it will give you a whole list of other ideas. You can then click on the ones you like and select “More Like These,” and it will offer more suggestions.
Keyword Research – Profitability
It’s not as easy to determine whether a keyword makes money or not. As a general rule of thumb, the more monthly searches a keyword has, the more money it probably makes. This means that lots of people are getting online and searching it, and some are bound to be buying.
One way to get a better idea if a keyword is making money is to search it in a search engine and see how many ads are displayed. These ads are ones that people have paid for targeting that keyword. If lots of people are targeting that keyword, it must mean there’s some money in it.
You can also search it in Yahoo Overture. Yahoo Overture is a service that offers advertising on Yahoo. On their site, you can enter a keyword and see how much they’re charging for it. Again, if they’re charging a lot for that keyword, you can bet it’s making somebody some money. (And you don’t have to pay anything for it; take that keyword and use it on your site!)
Finally, one other good way to find out the profitability of a keyword is to check ClickBank. This is an online affiliate network. It doesn’t tell you directly whether a keyword’s a money-maker or not, but you can get an idea by looking at how many affiliates are promoting a product. ClickBank has a rating called “Gravity” that tells you how many affiliates are signed up for a product. Lots of affiliates means there’s some money in it.
When And How To Use Keywords
Once you’ve chosen some good ones , it’s time to sprinkle them throughout your content. The way that you use keywords on your site will play a huge part in determining whether your prospective readers/customers find you. “Keyword density” refers to how many times you use the keywords in your text. But before we get to that, here are a few Iron Rules of Keyword Usage:
- – Always use one of your keywords in the title of each page or article, preferably as close to the front as possible (Google reads from left to right).
- – Each page of content should contain the targeted keyword in the first and last paragraph.
- – On your page design, if possible, put the keyword in the upper left-hand corner of the page (again, Google reads from left to right).
- – If possible, your domain name should contain your primary keyword.
Now, let’s get into keyword density. Keyword density is expressed as a percentage; for example, a keyword density of 2% means that 2% of the text is your keyword. This means that for every 100 words, your keyword is in there twice.
Every marketer has their own ideas about keyword density. Actually, 2% is probably a bit much. On all of your pages, you should use your keyword in the title, first paragraph and last paragraph at least, and then naturally throughout. Once every paragraph or two is enough.
But if keywords get your content seen by Google, isn’t it best to just fill it full of keyword phrases? The answer is a resounding NO! Pages that are stuffed with keywords are ignored by Google because it considers them spam. It’s better to use a variety of different keywords that relate to your niche, and use each one sparingly.
Maximize Your Keywords By Using Anchor Text
Finally, whenever you have a link on your site, use your keywords in the anchor text. “Anchor text” is a clickable link on a webpage. It might say something like “click here” or “join now.” But for SEO purposes, you should always use your keywords in the anchor text.
For example, instead of saying “click here for a free report,” you might put something like, “click here for a review of beginners golf clubs.” Google gives extra weight to anchor text when determining which keywords a site’s relevant to.
Quality Content Rules With Google
Now that you know all about keywords and how to use them, here’s something to keep in mind – no matter how thoroughly-researched and well-placed your keywords are, if your site’s content is garbage, Google will ignore (and web surfers will too!). Make sure your content is informative and high quality. That’s what will get people staying, coming back and buying.