What’s in a keyword? More than you might think.
“Keywords” are the search terms that online consumers use most often when searching a specific service or product. If you’re not targeting the most relevant keywords for your industry in your web content, you’re missing out on the potential customers who are searching for your services every day.
At the end of the day: Who cares if your business ranks number one for a search result that no one is searching?
At Localmize, we always start our client’s search engine optimization by identifying the most important keywords for their specific industry. Here are some strategies to avoid some of the most common SEO pitfalls:
1. Come right out and say what your business does
This might seem like obvious advice, but you’d be surprised how many businesses struggle to state in plain terms what service or product they offer. This is the kind of text you might come across on the site of a local business.
Welcome to Our Site!
We pride ourselves on quality craftsmanship and customer service. Our service goal relies on understanding the needs of our clients, developing a plan of action, and completing your project to your exact specifications. Our friendly, helpful staff is here to assist you throughout every step of the process.”
Wait, what? Read that again. The text never says what the business does. Now what if a picture of construction workers building a home appeared next to this text? A consumer might put together that the business builds homes, but a search engine can’t identify images. Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo would have no idea what this site is about, and therefore it wouldn’t show up in search results.
2. Fancy phrases aren’t your friend.
While there are plenty of ways to make your business sound impressive and appeal to wealthy consumers, don’t beat around the bush when it comes to explaining what service or product your offer.
Businesses catering to affluent demographics are particularly bad at this, because they want to make their services sound fancy. A luxury home builder might prefer to call themselves an “custom designer” rather than a “home builder.” The problem? No one is putting “customer designer” into Google when they are searching for someone who builds homes. Wealthy consumer use the same language as everyone else, so keep the description of your services simple and to the point.
3. Get Specific
When you’re writing web content, remember that humans and search engines interpret information in very different ways. A consumer might read “hair salon” on a website and assume that the business also offers services like hair extensions, hair coloring, prom hairdos, and manicures. However search engines don’t make these inferences and assumptions about your business. If all you write is “hair salon,” the only search your site will show up for is “hair salon.” If you offer multiple services, make specific pages (not just a bulleted list!) to provide information about each individual service you would like to rank for on Google.
4. Listen to Your Customers
Avoid using industry jargon when you’re choosing your keywords. To figure out which words potential customers are searching for online, listen to the language they use in person. Do they say “cement flooring” or “concrete flooring?” Do they call it a “fitness center” or a “gym?” Little differences in language can make a big difference to Google, so pay attention. If you get an online lead, go ahead and ask the customer what they searched for to find your business! The most valuable keywords to use on your website are the ones that your target customer actually searches.
5. Include Related Keywords
Don’t get hung up on just one keyword in your content writing. Search engines are wary of pages that use the same word or phrase an unnatural amount in case they are spamming consumers rather than providing useful information. For example: If you’re writing a web page about selling antique furniture, search engines expect to see related words like “tables,” “chairs,” and “refinishing,” etc. There is no magic set of keywords you have to include in the text, but related keywords are critical to convincing search engines that your site actually provides useful, relevant information for their users. The best way to come up with your keywords? Just write naturally! There is not shortcut to detailed, relevant web content, but if you are actually trying to inform and help consumers, you will naturally find yourself using related keywords.