In search engine optimization, keywords are one of the first areas to address. Keywords are like the street signs that search engines use to direct their searchers to your site. Choosing the right keywords will have potential customers finding their way to you easily. However, choosing the wrong keywords will be like sending them down 5th Avenue in rush hour — it’s so crowded they may never reach their destination.
So how do you ensure that you avoid the common pitfalls that trap website owners, new and old? Here are three tips that will have you three steps closer to great search engine positioning.
Search Engine Optimization Tip #1 Competitive Research
Looking at the keywords that your competitors use can be a valuable insight for your website. It can determine whether you choose to compete with them directly, or research long tail keywords, or niche keyword phrases that they might not be covering.
There are a few ways to find out what your competitors keywords are. One of the simplest is to visit their website and go to View Source from your browser’s View menu. Have a look for the meta name for ‘keywords’ and you should be able to see their list. However, this will not work for sites created in WordPress or some of the other programming languages.
There are competitive keyword analyzers on the market that will use software to show you what keywords your competitors are using. However, some of these programs are not all they’re cracked up to be — do your research and seek out recommendations before purchasing.
Your other alternative is to hire a search engine positioning expert. Search engine optimization firms are specialists in their field. They understand the complexities of search engine algorithms and how to manipulate them. Using a search engine expert, you will most likely see better result than if you do try to go it alone.
Search Engine Optimization Tip #2 It’s Not Just A Popularity Contest
It may seem counterintuitive, but choosing the most popular keywords isn’t always the best thing to do. Think of search engine positioning like the world of business — it’s highly competitive. In business, the more providers offering the same service, the higher the competition. Similarly, in search engines, the more websites optimizing for the same keywords, the harder it will be for you website to compete.
When embarking on your search engine optimization method, by all means include the most popular keywords in your overall listing, but focus of the more niche keywords or phrases. This will mean that you will be able to achieve top rankings more easily. Use free tools like Google Adwords Keyword Tool to find out what terms are being search for and look for the keyword phrases with smaller quantities of searches to include in your campaign.
Search Engine Optimization Tip #3 Long Tail Keywords
Long tail keyword is a phrase used to describe keywords, or keyword phrases, which are more specific. For example “Armani suits” is a short tail keyword while “half price Armarni suits” is a long tail keyword.
While the search engine traffic might not be as large for long tail keywords, it is easier to rank highly on them. Most search engine optimization companies will advise taking the most popular short tail keywords and surrounding them with long tail phrases. What this does is give you a broader range of specific keyword terms that cumulatively account for a significant portion of site traffic.