Get Specific with Your Keywords
The more specific you can make your keyword phrase, the better your chances of ranking highly in searches for that phrase. This is especially important if youre in a highly competitive field.
Take real estate, for instance. The generic keyword real estate recently had a Google KEI of just 0.09, according to Wordtracker. No fewer than 413 million pages in Googles index used the keywords real estatemeaning your page about real estate is competing with 412,999,999 similar pages for eyeballs. Its extremely unlikely, then, that your page will show up anywhere near the first few results pages of a Google search.
Taking the real estate example further, the phrase commercial real estate logos recently had a Google KEI of 2,921.00. While there are fewer people searching for that term, your chances of ranking highly in search results for that term are excellent.
Optimizing for this phrase is unlikely to help the average realtor, of course. But it could represent an untapped opportunity for a graphic artist who designs commercial real estate logos. In fact, some entrepreneurs get ideas for new businesses, products or services to launch just from studying KEI and performing other keyword competitiveness research.
Use Your Keywords Carefully
There isnt any universally accepted formula for using keywords for SEO. However, most experts agree on these guidelines:
Focus on one keyword per page, along with a few variations.
Place your keyword at the beginning of your Web pages HTML title tag. The title tag is extremely important in telling search engines what a page is about. Dont use the same title tag on all your Web pages, either. Instead, develop keyword-rich title tags that describe each page. Include a call to action, and explain a benefit of your product or service.
Use your pages keyword again in the pages HTML header tag, <h1>, and subhead tag, <h2>.
Place your keyword near or at the beginning of the pages body copy. Sprinkle the keyword a few more times throughout the text. But dont use a keyword in a way that appears gratuitous or unnatural when someone reads your page. Youll turn off readers. And you could even get penalized by Google or other search engines.
Add the keyword to anchor text (the underlined word or phrase that appears in a clickable link). Too often, inexperienced Webmasters will use click here as the anchor text for a clickable link to, say, a blog post they wrote, said Joe Mancuso, search engine marketing expert at SEO Research. From an SEO standpoint, thats a missed opportunity. One reason is that anchor text helps tell search engines what a page is about, which in turn helps the engines determine how relevant a page is to a particular query.
Dont Bother With Keyword Metatags
Metatags are information about a Web page that, in most cases, a site visitor doesnt see. Many Webmasters have abused keyword metatags in hopes of boosting SEO. As a result, most search engines stopped taking metatags into account when determining page ranking. In fact, a recent Google blog post clearly stated the companys position: Our web search disregards keyword metatags completely.
Monitor Your Progress
Google Analytics is a free, easy-to-use tool that provides insights into where your site traffic comes from, the keywords that visitors to your site used to find you, and much more. It provides more data on your site traffic than most small businesses will ever need, said McGee.
SEO is not something you set and forget, McGee added. Its an ongoing, long-term process. You have to stay on top of it, keep track of it and learn what works and what doesnt.James A. Martin is the co-author ofGetting Organized in the Google Era. He writes about SEO and helps businesses optimize their sites for search engines.
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