Search engine optimization (SEO) is becoming an increasingly popular part on online communications. Because there are millions, if not billions, of websites on the Internet, and most people use Google or one of the other major search engines (like Yahoo! or Microsoft’s Live Search) to find sites, it is beneficial for every website to be the best it can be. When it is the search engines will find it and deliver it to the people who are looking for what you are providing.
But how do you get your website to appear at or near the top of the search engine results page? While Google’s ranking algorithm is a secret, there is enough known information available to help you increase your ranking. And it all starts with selecting the right keywords for your website.
A keyword is the word or phrase a person types into a search box. The search engine delivers what it thinks are the most relevant websites for that keyword, in descending order. What you have to do is figure out what keywords are most relevant to your website and that people are typing into the search box. So how do you select the keywords that will help people find your site?
Start with answering the question “What is my site about?” Don’t be too general. Be specific. If your site is about gourmet dog biscuits, your site is not about “dog treats” or “dog food,” it’s about “gourmet dog biscuits.”
Next think about your target audience, not the search engines. If you have content on your site that is about to what your visitors want to read, the search engines will find it and rank it accordingly. These days it’s difficult to trick search engines – and also not a good business idea. You want to attract users who will be potential customers, not people just browsing around the web. Using the example of a gourmet dog biscuit store, you would be creating a site for people who spare no expense when it comes to their dogs, not necessarily someone who temporarily takes in a stray dog they found in the park until they can find it a permanent home.
Go to your competitors’ sites. See what keywords they are optimizing for, especially if they get a higher ranking than you. This may give you further ideas of what words people use to search for a site.
Write down all the keywords you can think of related to your website, including singular and plural forms of words, synonyms and alternate word orders. Then expand it even more by using one of the many free keyword suggestion tools available (like Google Suggest or Quintura or Google AdWords Keyword Tool). This list may be long, but you’ll be able to winnow it down by using software like KeywordDiscovery or Wordtracker to find out what people are using to search. Sometimes it may be that hardly anyone (or no one!) is using a certain keyword. Don’t bother optimizing for that. Other keywords have millions of sites trying to be ranked that it may prove improbable that you’ll ever show up in the top 10 results. Get rid of those too.
With all of this you should be able to shorten your list to a manageable group. You can now create your new website with these keywords in mind. The search engines should thank you with higher rankings and your visitors will thank you by becoming customers.