If you have been around the internet for even a short while, you have probably heard the term “keyword” or “keywords”.
What are Keywords?
A keyword is a particular word or phrase that describes the contents of a web page. Keywords help search engines match a page to with an appropriate search query.
When someone uses a search engine, they type in one or more words describing what they are looking for: ‘Cape Town florist’ or ‘cheap holidays Durban’, for example. The search engine then comes back with a list of web pages, with content that relates to the keywords used.
Keywords can be found/placed in your meta data, tags or in the actual content of your website.
Why are they so important?
Originally, keywords were a major factor when it came to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Meta keywords were added to each page of a website in order to optimise it for search engines. A few years back after optimisers started misusing and overusing keywords, the importance and use of keywords was changed dramatically.
While keywords are still relatively important for SEO, keywords are also important for your advertising campaigns and other online marketing endeavours. Basically, what it comes down to now is understanding your customer’s needs and making sure you content and keywords provide the answer.
Which Keywords should I use?
Through the detective work of puzzling out your market’s keyword demand, you not only learn which terms and phrases to target with SEO and online marketing, but also learn more about your customers as a whole. It’s not always about getting visitors to your site, but about getting the right kind of visitors.
To help you on your way you can use free tools like http://keywordtool.io, for example, but remember – ultimately, it is about understanding your customers and looking at things from their perspective.
Be careful of Black Hat SEO Tactics
In the SEO process of incorporating keywords into a page and a site, it is extremely important to remember that keywords can be overused and become detrimental to search engine ranking. Keyword stuffing in Meta Tags, headings, anchor text, alt attributes, or within the page content is an indicator of spam techniques. This practice is frowned upon by the search engines and can ultimately result in penalisation.
With that said, you can and should use appropriate keywords in those areas but only use them if they are truly relevant to the subject matter and in a manner that makes sense to the average user.
How can small businesses compete with larger companies when it comes to Keywords?
Here are 2 tips on how you can get the ‘edge’ as a small business:
- Get Niche-Specific. One of the best things you can do as a small business is give yourself a niche focus. You may think that the better option for search visibility is to cover as many areas of expertise as possible. However, if you’re competing against your biggest competitors, it’s better to take more of a niche focus. Rather put all your effort into one or a small handful of keywords, you’ll be able to achieve a much higher visibility. Also, if you can, get more “Local” because Local is Lekker and because this will also help you get your niche on!
- Focus on a long-tail keyword strategy. Long-tail keywords are extended phrases Google looks for such as “tips for installing a light in an upstairs bedroom” instead of the much shorter (more popular) “light installation.” Ranking highly for long-tail keywords is much easier than ranking high for shorter keywords, so even though they bring in less traffic they’re still more valuable for small businesses to go after and they produce better customer leads.
I hope this has helped you understand Keywords a little better. If you have any ideas or questions, please share them in the comments below – I would love to hear from you.