Continuing to highlight the Search Engine Optimization presentation from Alliance Day, we now talk about understanding the user. The way the user interacts with a search engine is by inputting keywords. So it’s important to understand the language customers use to describe their applications and your products and services.
Brainstorm for Keywords
Start by asking yourself or your sales team. By interacting with your customers, you probably already have a pretty good idea of what words they use to describe what they’re doing or looking for.
Search the keywords
Test out what you think people might be using and see what shows up. Do you see other companies like you or products similar to what you sell? Use your web analytics tool. Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of internet data in order to optimize web usage. This will give you an idea of what keywords people are already searching to get to your site, and it will help you understand how users interact with your content. Since Google is trying to reward good content, this is a great way to measure what users think of your content. If you don’t have a web analytics tool, you can get one at www.google.com/analytics.
Use Google Keyword Tool
Google offers a great tool that will show you how many times people are searching a word, both locally and globally. If you are going to build a SEO program, you want to make sure you are building it on keywords that people are actually using. This is a way to validate that. Finally, test it out using AdWords. AdWords are Google’s adverting product on search results. If you are still concerned that a keyword may not be the right one, AdWords are a fast way to see if users are clicking to see your page and then doing the action you want them to do. Optimize content for search can take a great deal of time to do correctly, so putting in the investment up front to make sure you are using the right keywords is very important.
Select Your Keywords
Now, it’s time to narrow it down to 1-3 for a page. Think about the long tail of SEO – the distribution of search terms from broad to niche. There is a greater chance with a broad keyword that you may not have exactly what your user is looking for, but you will get a lot of traffic for this term if you show up in the first three results. By choosing 2-3 word phrases, you will have less competition and less search volume, meaning you could potentially get less traffic to your site, but it will also convert better, meaning the customers that get to your site are more likely to continue shopping and browsing. At the bottom of the spectrum are extremely descriptive phrases. These words probably don’t have a lot of competition or search volume, but if someone types that phrase into the box, they are going to see exactly what they’re looking for.