The use of keywords and keyword phrases within your Web site is crucial for SEO purposes. Think about it. The words and phrases that people plug into a search engine like Google or Bing determine what pages the search engine pulls up. If your Web site isn’t utilizing quality keywords or phrases, the chances of your customer seeing your site are low.
Can I Choose my Own Keywords?
Um, no. To some extent you already have a good idea of the keywords and phrases you need to utilize. BUT, it’s not just about using the keywords you think a customer will use. There’s an art to determining keywords. It’s not only about using the most obvious keywords either. For instance, everyone selling paper clips is going to be using ‘paper clips’ as a keyword phrase. And the big retailers are going to be be using this phrase better!
But what if a customer is looking for paper clips in the shapes of animals and you happen to sell them? How do your customers search for these unique paper clips? What words are they actually using? Animal paper clips? Dog paper clips? Plastic animal paper clips? Office accessories shaped like animals? Clips shaped like elephants? There is no possible way to predict every search term. But there are keyword research tools that tell you what search terms are currently being used.
Keyword Research Tools
There are lots of keyword research tools available and some offer more information such as synonyms, suggested keywords, information on competitors, etc. As usual, some tools are free and some are not. You can always, of course, do a search for ‘keyword research tools’ as these tools come and go, but here are some Web sites to look at:
Using Keywords Efficiently
Once you’ve got your keywords in mind, you’ll want to apply your research to your Web site. Thre rule of thumb is to use one or two keywords or keyword phrases per web page; that should help you determine the size of or the number of pages for your Web site. You may find that you will use more than one keyword or keyword phrase on a web page. That’s fine. Just don’t over do keywords. Search engines frown upon and penalize keyword stuffing.
Six Steps to Using Your Keywords
Here’s what I’d like you to take away from this posting:
And, remember, like everything else, the Internet and everything connected to it is changing daily. Revisit your keyword strategy, keep adding relevant content to your Web site and stay up with the latest developments.
What is Anchor Text?
For those of you who aren’t sure, anchor text is any hyperlinked text on a web page. For instance,
Linda Prior is a copywriter in Tampa, Florida.
In this case, “copywriter” is the anchor text that provides a link or shortcut (rather than the long URL – http://www.lindarprior.com) to my home page and gives the reader some idea of what they will find there, i.e., information about my copywriting abilities. Anchor text is used for navigation within your own web site or to link to external web sites.
Why Anchor Text is Important
Search engines use algorithms to determine search rankings and anchor text ranks higher, but the anchor text must be related to the content to which it links. Obviously, you are going to want to use the keywords used by your customers to find your products/services in your anchor text.
Use Anchor Text Wisely
Knowing the importance of anchor text, there are things you can do to ensure you use anchor text to its best advantage.
In the end, when you determine anchor text, choose it with your reader in mind, that is, use text that will make sense to them.
Search engines, such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing, use complex algorithms to look at hundreds of different metrics (for example, keyword use, external links, etc. in your web site) to determine search rankings. But, lest that sound too easy, you should know that these factors and their individual weights are changing constantly. Steve Scott, search engine optimization (SEO) industry veteran and lead instructor for the Tampa SEO Training Academy , recently explained the phenomenon to me in simplistic terms (thank you, Steve!):
“Imagine the guys at Google milling around in a huge room that has over 200 levers spaced around the walls; each lever representing a specific metric. Every few minutes, these guys are adding, removing or adjusting levers up or down to reflect the new weight or importance of a particular factor in terms of rankings. As the weights for each lever change and are run through the algorithm, search rankings change. Sites are ranked at any particular moment based on the existing metrics and the algorithm’s outcome.”
That’s a vivid picture that captures the ever-shifting nature of search results. This description re-emphasizes just how critical it is to pay constant attention to your online presence. In other words, that number one or two ranking you currently have can be fleeting and move quickly to double digits or worse! So, if you’re thinking you can ignore SEO or your web site, think again. It doesn’t matter whether your business sells a service or a product. The old tenet is true: If your customers can’t find you (vis-à-vis search engines), you’re losing business.
With this in mind, you’re probably wondering how you can get the most out of that expensive web site you put up. There are a lot of things you can do. One of them is to become more knowledgeable about some of the basics in online marketing. Starting next month, I’ll cover some of these topics. Future postings will cover such considerations as link marketing, keyword use, anchor text, use of header and sub header tags, etc.