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Keywords and their effect on SEO

Keywords are a crucial part in being successful in your SEO. They allow you to focus your SEO efforts in one place whilst at the same time presenting you with a measurement for success – how well your website is ranking for those keywords. Google will start to understand what your website is about and the topics of your pages when your including phrases or words frequently into pages.

Choosing the right keywords is extremely important which is why you need to research your keywords in depth. Investigate whether the keywords you want to list for are actually the phrases that people are searching for. It’s all well and good listing for “plant shop” but if everyone is searching for “garden centre” then that would be the better phrase to list for.

You will also need to look at your competition, if a chosen keyword has an extremely high number of search results (competition) then it may be hard to rank highly among these. Similarly, if the top few spots are held by massive companies with huge budgets for their marketing and websites, then again it may be hard to rank highly. If this is the case you may want to make your keyword more niche. This way there will be less competition and less searches but the people who are searching will be more likely convert as sale – they will be looking for the exact thing you offer and therefore are further along the buying cycle than someone searching generally.

There are many tools that you can use to research keywords, the one that we prefer to use is actually the Keyword Planner in Google AdWords. This can show us how many monthly searches a word has but also gives you suggestions based on your keyword. We then do a Google search for the keyword to see the number of search results – this gives us an idea of competition.

The keyword “seo” has 129,000,000 search results on Google so the competition would be extremely high for this keyword

In order for Google to recognise the relevance of your website you need to include the keywords in your content, your meta titles and your URL’s.

Including keywords in your page content is important to help search engines and users understand what your page is about. Try and stick to one term for your service or product per page – using multiple keywords/terms on one page will be much less effective. Include your keywords where they are relevant in your page and keep your writing natural, remember it has to be user friendly.

Headings are a great place to include a keyword for your page, this is what search engines and users will look at straight away for an understanding of your page content. Set this to a H1 tag (a heading tag) on the page so search engines register that this is your page heading.

Meta Titles

Meta titles are really important in SEO and can influence your search rankings a fair amount, this is something that search engines will look for on each page when listing your pages in results. A meta title is not seen on the page of your website – only in the tab of your browser. This is the title that shows up on Google results when people go to click on your page. Including your page keywords is crucial if you want to be listing for that word.

Users will also see this title in the results so make sure it is written naturally and only include your keywords where they make sense. There is also a character limit for these tags so don’t exceed 60 characters.

A URL shows the destination of your page and should show the journey to your page through a folder structure. This means that if you can only get to a page via another page both should be listed in the URL to follow the path the user will have taken.

Include your page keywords in the URL of that page, this will benefit your SEO and also help users understand the page information. Using clear words in your URL’s rather than letters and numbers will positively influence your rankings for these pages. To make your URLs even clearer use hyphens to separate words within your URL rather than squashing them all together.

Things to Avoid

Although using keywords is an excellent way to improve your SEO and essential in being successful, there are some mistakes that you can make. Here are a few thing to avoid doing in your website:

  • Keyword Stuffing: This means filling your content with keywords where it doesn’t make sense, putting lots of keywords into sentences randomly will not benefit your SEO. Google recognises this and will penalise your website if you are doing this.
  • Hiding your Keywords: Another thing that Google recognises is including keywords on a page but hiding them from your users – this means colouring the keywords the same as the background. They will not show up for users but search engines will still be able to read these. Google again will penalise websites for this.
  • Not Having User Friendly Content: Websites should be primarily for your users as these will hopefully turn into customers. Google can recognise when your content is designed for a search engine rather than a user. This will also be backed up by a high user bounce rate – if your content is not user friendly they won’t stay on your website.

SEO is a complex practise and can cause consequences to your site if it isn’t done properly, this is why we always recommend leaving your SEO to an expert. If you have any questions regarding keywords for SEO or any SEO questions in general please use our contact page or alternatively call us.

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Tierney Crocker
Tierney Crocker is part of the Digital Marketing team at WNW Digital, involved in all aspects of digital marketing and social media. You can email her at tierney@wnwdigital.co.uk

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