Search Engine Optimization (SEO) relies on keywords that are embedded in your site to organically appear in Google (or other) search results. Keywords are important because the indexing process used by search engines collates pages based on similar keywords for easy retrieval in a search query. Keyword research is required to gather ideas for what key words or phrases are already being searched for. Using keywords that are already being searched for increases the likelihood that a page will appear in a query. To a certain degree website content should be built around the keywords chosen to rank higher in relevance and quality. A higher ranking equates to being listed closer to the top of the list on a results page. Websites that appear in the first ten results have a higher likelihood of being viewed by the person performing the query. Aside from the time investment in researching keywords and updating content, it’s a relatively cheap way to get exposure to audiences that may not experience your company elsewhere (Chaffey, 2016).
When considering keywords, its important to think in terms of what the consumer might be looking for and how they might be searching for it. Long tail keyword searches refer to a grouping or phrase that people might be using to find content. There are multiple ways to find top ranking search questions, such as answerthepublic.com which shows a graphical image of related search terms.
List posts and Keyword targets
One of the rules of SEO is to have a different key word for each page, meaning every page on your website should have a slightly different target word or phrase to draw attention to itself. Additionally, there should be one or two highly focused keywords that would be considered the primary keywords that represents the overall category of the business and secondary keywords that represent subcategories. This makes indexing and categorizing easier for the search software bots.
In talking about keyword placement, its not just about using the word or words within the content. Repeating a keyword too often could incur penalties from Google. But in general, in order to make your page as searchable and relevant as possible, there are a few specific places keyword must go to get the greatest benefit from them. First are the meta tags, used in the HTML title headings and page descriptions. These are the first things you see in a search results page and have a huge impact on whether or not a potential customer clicks on the link to the company site. Keywords in the URL also help with relevancy ratings as well as keywords in the page headings. Finally, since index bots can’t ‘read’ images, its good to put your keywords in the alt descriptions and file names of images so that they can be properly categorized.
Chaffey, Dave. Digital Marketing, 6th Edition. Pearson (Intl), 20160101. VitalBook file.
The term ‘Search Engine Optimization’ (SEO) was coined in the late 90’s by an early internet marketing pioneer, Danny Sullivan (History of SEO, n.d). At that period people were just beginning to explore the money-making possibilities that the internet had to offer. Early search engines were primarily text-based archives of indexed websites. As the internet evolved and grew, a new concept of ranking emerged to display search results ranked from most relevant to least. Out of that shift came the idea of optimizing web pages to appear higher in ranked results.
By strategically using key words, businesses could put their sites in front of potential customers who were already searching for their product or service. While there has been some debate over the years about the need for SEO and whether or not its truly effective in driving traffic, the bottom line is that search engine optimization is a way for businesses to leverage their advertising and marketing budget in a way that was previously unthinkable. SEO opens the doors to previously unthinkable markets, for free.
The History of SEO, n.d. History of SEO website, retrieved from: http://www.thehistoryofseo.com/The-Industry/The_History_of_Search_Engine_Optimization.aspx