Many business owners are told that they need to use keywords on their websites to improve their organic search engine ranking. Unfortunately, some either don’t know why this is important or don’t know how to do it to get the rankings that will bring in customers naturally.
In this article, we’re going to define what keywords are. Then I’ll show you how to select keywords and add them to your site in a way that doesn’t seem forced.
Choosing the right keywords
Let’s start by making sure we are on the same page with our definition of keywords. The easiest way to think of them is that they are the words and phrases your prospective clients type into a search engine such as Google or Bing as they’re trying to find businesses like yours. If you want your website to show up when they search, you’ll need to add these words and phrases to your website.
Search engines match what people are searching for with websites that contain those terms.
The first step is to identify the keywords that you can use to improve your search ranking. You should know that most people don’t look beyond Page 1 of search listings, so that’s where your business needs to appear. Page 2 or 3 just won’t cut it.
Using keyword tools
To start the keyword process, grab the URLs (e.g. https://ca.godaddy.com) of your competitors and paste them into SEMrush.
The goal here is to find the most popular pages on your competitors’ websites — in other words, the pages that get the most visitors. Especially if they’ve been at this for a bit, they’ve probably picked keywords that are working well, so we can piggyback off their research.
Next, take those same URLs and put them in ahrefs to see how many links each of these pages have. Link-building is hard, so by finding out which one of your competitors’ pages have the fewest links, you know where to start your efforts. The keywords used on these pages are ones your competitors are leaving open.
If you start out by going after their highest-ranking pages with many inbound links, it’s like planning to run a marathon with no preparation.
By starting with the pages your competitors are not focused on, you can build your organic search authority.
Another great tool is Google Search Console. This tool will give you a report on all the keywords that your website is currently ranking for — right down to where you appear in the search results. As long as these keywords are in the area you’re trying to grow, keep putting effort into increasing your ranking for them. If you haven’t already added these words to the page elements listed below, do it now.
It’s so much easier to raise your ranking for a page that is already on Page 1 of search results than to take a page from page 10 and get it on Page 1.
How to add keywords to your site
Once you have some keywords chosen, it’s time to add them to the individual pages on your site. If your keyword is “industrial electrician” then you should add this to:
- The page headline and title tag.
- The first paragraph of text on the page.
- One subhead.
- The body text (roughly once for every 100 words).
- The page URL (e.g. https://www.gov.mb.ca/wd/apprenticeship/discover/mbtrades/industrialelect.html).
- Meta descriptions.
When you add images to your site, you should make sure that the ALT text for them contain your keywords. A content management system like WordPress makes this easy by providing a place to add ALT text for every image you add to the site. You should also add the keyword to the label on every image (learn how here).
Making audio and video files visible to search engines
For any content that is not text-based, it’s essential to include a text version.
If you have a bunch of audio on your website and no text to go alongside it, the content is invisible to search engines.
Likewise, if you videos on your site, make sure that you provide a text-based summary of the material. Include the keywords and phrases that pertain to the video in the summary, so it shows up in search results. Remember, if your content is not text-based, then you have no content unless you add some text to it for search engines to read.
Beef up your content
One effective way to build authority for your keywords is to create more content with those words in it.
As you get questions from your customers, answer them by adding frequently asked questions (FAQs) or blog posts to your site. Be sure to work the keywords you’re trying to rank for into the text. Choosing to leverage the questions of your customers can be a great content strategy — one that works for both customers and search engines.
I tell my clients that if they get a question three times, they need to write about it so they start to show up in organic search results for that topic.
Answering the question can also head off customer support requests because they can find the answer themselves.
Related: Learn how to blog in 5 simple steps
Bring in more leads through your website
Search engines and organic search rankings provide an excellent channel for your business to bring in customers. By spending some time looking at your competitors and finding the green fields of keywords that they aren’t effectively targeting, you can build a strategy to start bringing in new clients.
By spending just a bit of extra time as you create content — articles, blog posts, videos — you can ensure that all are working as hard for you as they can. Adding a bit of extra text that includes your keywords to your site will help you with your search rankings. Going back to older content that’s ranking well and adding your new keywords to it will help lend authority to your site.
It doesn’t take a huge effort. A bit of work consistently on your keywords will reap rewards for your business over the long term.
Editor’s note: No time to do keyword research and optimisation yourself? Let the experts at GoDaddy do it for you. 80 percent of clients who follow their advice achieve Page 1 rankings within six months.