If you want to drive more traffic to your website, you need to have a good understanding of how to use keywords. If you are able to determine the best keywords for your website, and then use these keywords in the right places in your web pages, you will get the most bang for your buck in your search engine marketing campaign.
1. Research your keywords
First, you will need to do a little research. There are different tools available online to help you to research keywords for your website. But I like to research keywords using the Google Keyword Planner Tool.
You will need a free Google Adwords account to use the tool. You don’t need to buy any advertising to be able to use the keyword planner. All you need is a free Google Adwords account.
Using the Keyword Planner tool is very easy. The planner asks you for some information about your product, the audience for your product, and any location that you might want to target. Once you add your information, Google displays a list of suggested keywords.
You will need to choose the most relevant keywords for your web page. Research your keywords carefully. They are an important key to your website success!
2. Use keywords in file names
Once you have a list of keywords, you will use these keywords in your web page. Don’t go crazy and try to use the keywords just for the sake of using the keywords. Search engines are looking for quality content, so make sure you integrate the keywords wisely.
The first place you can use keywords is in your file names for web pages and graphics. In our business writing course example, I could incorporate the keywords “business writing course” into the web page file name. So the file name of the business writing course web page might look like the following:
Or if you were using WordPress for your website, the file name for the page might look something like this:
Note how the words in the file name use a dash between each word. This is a standard way to use multiple keywords in a web page file name.
The business writing course page has an image, so we can use our keywords in the graphic file name and the alt attribute also:
<img src=”Business-Writing-Course.jpg” alt=”Business Writing course”/>
3. Use keywords in titles
Although title tags don’t display in the actual web page, they are very important for SEO. Title tags are located in the head section of the webpage.
- Search engines use the information in the title tags for search results.
- When people share your web page, the contents of the title tag shows in the link.
- The contents of the title tag may show at the top of the browser window.
Google restricts the number of characters that show in the search engine results title to about 60 characters, so you should choose the keywords in the title wisely.
The standard format for the title tag is as follows:
Primary keyword – Secondary keyword – Company name
If we look at our title tag for the business writing course, a good title tag could be the following:
Business Writing I – Online writing course – Online-learning.com
4. Use keywords in meta descriptions
A meta description is an HTML attribute in the <meta> tag. You can think of the content of the meta tag as free advertising, so you should plan meta descriptions carefully to get the most bang for your buck on search engine results pages. Below is the meta tag for the Business Writing course.
<meta name=”description” content=”Business Writing I is an 8-week online business writing course. If you want to improve your business writing skills, then this course is ideal for you!”>
The content in meta tags does not affect your search engine ranking. But it is a valuable tool because search engines may use the content in the meta description as the snippet that displays in search results.
If the search engine finds the search query in the meta tag, it highlights the matching keywords that it finds in the meta tag. The snippet below shows how the contents of the meta tag displays in the search engine results. In this example, the search query “online business writing course” shows the result below.
Search engines display up to 160 characters in the search engine results description, so you should choose the most effective copy that will encourage people to click on your link.
5. Use keywords in your page headings
Your h1 tag – the heading for the web page – should include one of your primary keywords. So in our Business Writing course example, the best content for the page heading is the name of the course and the keyword “course”. The h1 tag for our business writing course is – you guessed it – “Business Writing I Course”.
You should also try to incorporate keywords in the subheadings on the webpage. Search engines pay particular attention to the content in any of the heading tags: h1, h2, h3, etc. The webpage for our business writing course example doesn’t use a lot of headings, but it does include a subheading of “Grammar Refresher” that includes one of our secondary keywords.
6. Use keywords in body content
You should integrate your keywords into the content of the web page. Try to use keywords in the first sentence of the first paragraph if possible. However, avoid just randomly placing keywords sprinkled throughout the page in locations that don’t make much sense. If you overuse a keyword, the search engine might actually penalize you in the search rankings.
Your primary goal should be to write unique, informative content that includes primary and secondary keywords that help to make your content useful and relevant.
7. Keep track of your keywords
Over time, you should continue to check the performance of your keywords to see how they are doing. Google Webmaster Tools allows you to see if the keyword is working in search engines.
In Google Webmaster Tools, click on Search Traffic > Search Queries to see the keywords that visitors used to find your website. A list of the top keywords shows.
You can filter the results to see how specific keywords are working on your site. To add a filter, click on the Filter button and enter the keyword you want to check.
You can specify a date range to see how the keyword is doing over time. You can use this data to see how your keywords have been doing over a period of time.