Keywords are one thing you really want to get right on your website! How to select the perfect keywords and keyword phrases to use on your web pages is exactly what we will be covering in today’s blog post. Along with all of the blog posts in our basic technical SEO blog series, we keep the language simple enough that most anyone can follow along, but we also want to go in depth so even more advanced web designers find value in our article.
What Exactly Are Keywords?
Maybe the easiest way to wrap your head around what keywords are exactly is to simply think of them as the words someone searching for your product or service would most likely type into the search bar to find a business like yours. That is easy enough to understand!
Keywords can be a single word or they could be strings of words put together. When describing keywords that contain multiple words in the string, they are referred to as keyword phrases. You can have 2-word keyword phrases, 3-word keyword phrases, and so on. When a keyword phrase has several words in the string, they are often referred to as long tail keywords.
How To Pick Keywords
Now that we know what keywords are and what they can be composed of, we can easily just start guessing what people are typing, or saying with voice search on the rise when they would look for a business like ours right? Well…we guess technically yes, but how do you know if you are picking the right words? You would really just be stabbing in the dark, and your vocabulary around your field of expertise could very well be very different from what the average consumer would think of to say to find your business.
Thankfully you have several options that will give you insight into what people are actually using. We will go over a couple of our favorite now, there are simply too many to list all of them these days. And, we think that is a good thing!
First, and the best option in our opinion, is to do a search in an incognito browser in Chrome using what you feel would be the most common words your ideal clients would most likely be using. Then scroll down to the bottom of the search results and look at what you find! This is called Google Suggest. Based on what was typed into the search bar originally, Google will often, not always, display related searches people are making very similar to what you used. We feel this information right here is pure gold!
Second, not so fast! To do another super clever research method, take note of the competitors’ sites that are consistently ranking towards the top for the keywords you are searching for. Copy and paste these URL’s into a normal Chrome browser and then run the SEO Quake Chrome extension on them. Select the ‘density’ tab on the SEO Quake popup dashboard. You now can browse through the 1, 2, 3, and 4-word keyword phrases the best-ranking sites are using with some vital statistics on each. If Google suggest is pure gold, this is still gold!
Third, of course, is the Google Keyword Planner. To access this, log in to your Google Ads accounts (formerly Google Adwords) and click on tools at the top right of the right. Click Keyword Planner, and then use the option, Find New Keywords. Before performing your search, since this is article was made for local businesses, narrow your location down to your service area. Type in your keyword or phrase and then be prepared to be amazed. You will be presented with keyword phrases, average monthly searches, competition level, and more. If the other methods are gold of some sort, this method may be platinum!
Finally, we have 2 honorable mentions to cap off our list. The first is Neil Patel’s Uber Suggest Tool. Neil has a suite of tools and software that can really provide outstanding insight for website owners. The last is LSIGraph. This is another trusted keyword research tool that is super easy to use. Just be selective as to which terms you run through LSIGraph because you are limited to 3 searches per day without paying them.
Where to Use Keywords
Ok, so we know now what keywords are and how to pick the very best ones. Now, where do we use them again? How about just about everywhere! Yes, it is true. You will basically want to use your keywords everywhere but you do need to use some caution. There is something referred to as ‘keyword stuffing’ and the search engines really do not care for this. They will lower your rank if they feel you are simply keyword stuffing. The super easy way to tell if you have or have not keyword stuffed is to read the copy on your pages and see if it sounds natural. That is what you are going for.
Places to use keywords:
- On the copy of your web pages
- Page title, meta descriptions, and h tags
- Image file names and titles (alt text should describe the image)
- In your Schema.org markup
- Anchor text
- URL slugs (not necessarily your domain name)
- Social profiles, citation sites, and web 2.0 properties
Advanced Keyword Concepts to Keep in Mind
Always keep in mind Google ranks web pages, not websites! So, you will want to keep with keywords specific and distinct to each page on your website. If several pages on your website seem to be on the exact same topic, Google and the other search engines tend to not show any of them because they don’t know which is the best or most relevant to the searcher.
You will also want to coordinate the words in all of the various places you will use them on a page. You don’t want to use one keyword in the copy of your web page and another for all of the images on that page. Keep them consistent throughout all of the different elements keywords can be used on each page.
Once you have picked your keyword for the page, be sure to include several variations of this keyword or phrase. You don’t have to and really don’t want to refer to it using the exact same term each time.
You can target more than one keyword if appropriate. Just use caution and put some thought into the keywords so they make sense to be on the same page. And, this page should have a lot of content on it to justify using 2 on a single page.
Keywords in a Nutshell
Overall keywords are a relatively simple concept to understand, but getting them right is actually a little more complex than it may seem. The consensus is keywords always have been and always will be a major ranking factor so it is definitely something worth putting some time into. Now that you have keywords down, check out our related blog post on how to properly use h tags!