There has never been a time throughout human history that we’ve had the amount of information at our fingertips like we do today. With the creation of the internet and technology like smartphones, such access has not only made significant changes to our world and personal lives but also in how we do business.
Whether a start-up, freelancer, small business, non-profit, or corporation, having an online presence is becoming essential to a business’s reach and growth. According to a recent survey by Pixolabo, 64% of small businesses have invested in a website, and those numbers are expected to keep climbing.
While the benefits of an online presence are clear and include things such as improved sales, brand awareness, and building long term trust with customers and potential customers; how to generate traffic to your website is not.
Like a penny on the sidewalk in Times Square, the challenge of attracting visitors to your page can be daunting if not confusing altogether. One of the primary ways to do this is through SEO, and one of the main aspects of SEO, which will be addressed in this post, is using keywords and doing keyword research.
But First, What is SEO?
In case you haven’t heard of it or are just a bit unsure, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s nothing more than merely incorporating certain factors into a website, whether on or off-page to increase its chances of being included in Google’s top search engine results.
Many of these changes, such as adding clear and unique images, aiming for quality and readability, as well as ensuring quick load times and having a responsive design, all revolve around the use of keywords. Since searching for anything online begins and ends with words, it quite easy to understand how “KEYWORDS” is a significant part of this optimization.
A Key Factor
After writing your content, its time to do some research. Keywords are nothing more than the words and phrases that are expected to be on your page based on the content it covers. So, if your page sells hand-made dolls, then hand-made dolls and other associated words should be on your site. Google, which makes up 90.46% of all internet searches, simply matches the words on your webpage to the words and phrases users type into the search bar. Google’s algorithms use these matches to not only understand the content on a webpage but to fine-tune search results to give users the best information it can find. This makes keywords the key, no pun intended, to generating traffic to your website. All other aspects of SEO simply encourage them to stay once they get there.
No Pain No Gain
In the latter days of the internet, many webmasters did what we call “keyword stuffing.” This means that they simply littered their pages with the same keywords, which caused their site to rank high on search results even though there wasn’t any quality content on the page. Granted, this is much easier than creating quality content. However, since then, Google has incorporated safeguards to flag these sites, which can then be penalized or removed from Google’s search results altogether.
Long gone are the days of keyword stuffing or using other tricks and gimmicks known as Black Hat SEO for increasing traffic. If you want to have a lasting and growing presence online, using keywords the right way is where you need to start.
Quality Content Come First
Since Google shifted its criteria for search results, the easiest way to incorporate keywords into your site is simply by knowing what you’re talking about. If you simply explain what you know, usually those keywords will naturally be included (at least most of them anyway). Creating quality content is the first step to improving your traffic well before doing any research. In fact, it’s often recommended to write the content before looking up keywords at all.
What is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is when you look up the most common keywords and phrases people use when searching for certain products, services, or information on the web. When you cross-reference these with your own products, services, and information, you’ll have the right words to connect you with potential customers or fans.
There are several online tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEOquake, Ubersuggest, Answerthepublic, Keywords Everywhere, and even Google’s autofill function to help you uncover these words and phrases. There are also software options like Web Content Studio 2019, but this and others like it can be a bit pricey.
Tip for Using Keywords
After gathering a minimum of about 15 to 20 keywords and phrases, use these following tips for including them on your site.
- Go through your list of words and phrases and simply replace them with similar or closely related words already in your content.
- Don’t overuse them. This should be easy if you are using a variety of words connected to your topic. Just keep in mind that wherever you place them, it should not be obvious or interrupt the flow of the piece.
- Include them in your H1 headings and titles. This will make then stand out to Google as well as your visitors.
- Add them to your meta description, which is the snippet of information Google displays about your page in their search results.