Recently, I wrote an article on the best practices for Search Engine Optimization in Search Engine
Optimization Guide for Small Businesses. The article talked about 4 components that are essential to making your website Search Engine Optimized (SEO). I covered the first component - making a spider friendly site – in my article Small Business Guide to Making a Spider Friendly Site for SEO. Today, I’ll discuss the second SEO component: Search Terms. In this article, I’ll cover what Search Terms are, why they’re important, and how to choose them.
What are Search Terms?
Search Terms are the words or phrases that a user might search for to find a website selling the products or services they are interested in. When optimizing your site, you should choose a few search terms (start with 2-4) to focus your website content around.
Why and How should I use Search Terms on my website?
By incorporating relevant Search Terms throughout your website, search engines know to display your site towards the top of the results page for those Search Terms. You should try to incorporate each of your search terms a few times on each page. Also, don’t just include them in the plain text of your site; add them to the headers, page names, image descriptions, and page descriptions to get additional value. Make sure that you don’t overdo it though; search engines can tell when people are trying to cheat the system by writing one search term 50 times just to improve your ranking.
How do I choose my Search Terms?
When choosing your search terms, try to pick just a few to focus on (three is a good starting place). Think of all the possible terms your potential customers would search for, and make a list. If you’re a hair salon in Baltimore that specializes in hair extensions, try “hair extensions Baltimore”. If you’re a landscaper that focuses on gardens in Ft Lauderdale, try “garden design Ft Lauderdale”. Some things to consider when choosing your search terms:
1. Don’t use Search Terms that are too broad, like “cakes”, as they will be too competitive and you won’t show up
2. Don’t use Search Terms that are too specific, like “cake decorator specializing in funky kid designs”, because it is less likely that anyone is searching for that phrase.
3. If you’re a local business, include your location in context with your keywords. Using “cakes” as the example, something like “Cake decorator Lexington” would be a great search term to use. The locations doesn’t have to be used right next to your search term in your website text (“cake decorator Lexington”), but it should be close (“Our company provides excellent Cake Decorating services in Lexington”).
4. If your business carries specific brands that your customers may be looking for, include those brand names in your Search Term list.
5. Use a free tool like Google’s Insights for Search to get more ideas on Search Terms to use.
Including strong, relevant search terms throughout your site is a very important part of Search Engine Optimization. Make sure to consider carefully which terms you’d like to use on your site and to incorporate them frequently. Before your know it, you’ll be driving more quality traffic to your site!