If you’ve ever spoken to someone in marketing, you’ll have likely heard them talk about keywords. But what does ‘keywords’ mean, why should you use them, and how do you know which keywords to use?

Definition

Keyword refers to those words and phrases that people use when looking for and describing business, product and services. They can be single words, such as ‘marketing’, or they can be phrases, such as ‘marketing in Skipton’. Long-tail keyword phrases can also be included in this definition, and an example would be “marketing in Skipton for small businesses”.

Why use keywords?

Keywords are used by spiders, those little bugs that crawl the internet and return results for search engines and social media networks, so that they can identify what your content is talking about.

People also use keywords when searching for products and services online, through a search.

When someone searches for something, in this instance let’s say “garden furniture”, the search engine fetches the results that have been found with the same keyword. So all web pages that include the keyword ‘garden furniture’ are returned.

Now, how early on in the search engine result pages (SERPs) you feature is down to a whole myriad of Search Engine Optimisation factors, but the consistency of your keywords will help.

If you want your website, Facebook page or blog to appear when someone searches for a product or service you offer, you need to use keywords in your content.

How do you choose your keywords?

If you had all of the search engine optimisation resources in the world, you would try to rank highly for keywords relating to all of the products and services you offer, including short and long-tail phrases. For small businesses, that simply isn’t feasible.

So you need to choose your keywords wisely, but how?

A keyword strategy should be part of your overall marketing strategy, as it will feed off your market research. The most important tip we can give is…don’t make assumptions.

Use tools available online to find out what keywords people are already using to find your website, and other similar keywords that you could include in your content.

Google Search Console and Google Analytics are two fantastic resources to tell you what phrases and queries people made that brought them to your website.

Google Adwords keyword planner is another Google tool that will give your more examples of keywords related to your products and services. For example, you might think that ‘summer garden furniture’ is a really popular keyword, but in fact, ‘garden furniture for small gardens’ has way more monthly searches.

Use these tools to decide which keywords to focus on.

Where should I put my keywords?

  1. Your website content pages – if you have a website, you should add your keywords into the general text on the pages. Keywords that best describe your business as a whole can be scattered throughout the pages, with product and service specific keywords used on the relevant category pages.
  2. Your blog – it’s a good idea to have a blog or news section on your website, and you should include your keywords in regular posts.
  3. Anchor text – anchor text refers to the actual text that is linked to other pages (internal and external). In the sentence “We also stock a wide range of patio umbrellas, visit the webpage here”, you would link the words ‘patio umbrellas’ and not ‘visit the webpage here’.
  4. Social Media Posts – If you have social media profiles for your business, include your keywords in posts – whether they are linking back to your website or describing something more generic.
  5. Hashtags – Carry your keyword strategy through to the hashtags you use on social media.
  6. Guest posts, press releases etc – if you have posts published on other websites, or you’re writing a press release, make sure you include your keywords, and include 1 anchor text link back to the relevant page on your website
  7. Your meta title and meta description – when adding content to your website, you should add the meta title and description and include your keywords here. This helps search engines like Google to know what your webpages are talking about, and also help website visitors to choose whether they click on the link for your website or one of your competitors.

And whatever you do, don’t…

Keyword stuff.

Keyword stuffing relates to filling your content with keywords so that it becomes unnatural to read, and just looks like spam. In a 500 word article, you should aim to add your keyword 1 or two times, with 1 anchor text link, with your meta title and meta description also using the keyword.

Don’t know which keywords to use?

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