December 8, 2009
What are Keywords?
Keywords, also known as Meta Keywords, are the words and phrases search engines use to index your website and in this How to Market Guide I explain why Keywords are a vital component in your marketing strategy.
Keywords are normally added to a webpage as it is being written. In this case the casual visitor cannot see the words on the webpage, as they are hidden in the HTML page code. If keywords are not added to the page code, and most Content Management Systems (CMS) allow you to add them manually, the search engine will decide which words to use. But beware; if you leave it to the search engine to decide which words are keywords it may choose different words than you would.
When someone searches the web they will type keywords into a search engine, and search engines, like Google, will match the keywords in the search with those in its index. About 80% of searches in the UK are via Google and the word has become a verb as searchers “Google” information.
When you Google a search term you will be presented with a page of results that is divided into two distinct areas.
One the left hand side of the page you will be presented with “organic” search results. These are the results that Google chooses and are based on a number of factors such as keywords and the relevancy of the page to your search. The relevancy of the page is a measure of how good Google thinks the page is and it considers many factors such as how many other sites link to it and how many people visit it.
On the right hand side of the page you will see “Sponsored links”. These are Google Adwords and are written by advertisers who have chosen particular keywords to trigger their adverts.
Are all Keywords the same?
No. Generic keywords are not as powerful as specific keywords or keyword phrases. This is something you should consider when deciding which keywords to add to your webpage.
For example, if you are a car rental company and add the word “car” as a keyword you will be competing with something like 893,000,000 other webpages globally. If you are more specific and use the keyword “sports car” you are competing with about 46,000,000 other webpages worldwide.
Become more specific in your search and search for “Sports car Melbourne” and the competition goes down to 486,000 pages. There is still an enormous amount of competition but on Googling “hire sports car Melbourne” you are faced with just 265,000 pages to search.
The above demonstrates how more specific searches successfully present you with fewer pages to search. If you can optimise the keywords on your website, and have a specific product or service to offer, then it is possible to get to the top of Page One on Google where you are much more likely to have people clicking on the link to your site.
Page One on Google
The problem with attempting to get on Page One of Google is the amount of competition you face. As we can see above the word “car”, when used as a keyword, finds 892 million other pages.
But getting to Page One on Google is not difficult if you follow the rules. The most important thing to remember is that most website owners don’t know about the rules and make no attempt to improve their website. Look what happens when you follow the rules.
One of my niche markets in the UK is in the field of education where I specialise in “Employer Engagement” and devise employer engagement strategies for colleges. I’ve optimised my website for terms like “College Employer Engagement Strategies” and this is what happens.
Search globally for “College Employer Engagement” and there is something like 1,600,000 pages worldwide. Search more specifically on “College Employer Engagement Strategies” and, although there are still over one million competing pages, my site appears on Page One of Google. The reason for this is that I have used keyword phrases in my Keyword Metatags and have a page that is highly relevant and has good numbers of incoming links.
What about Keywords in Adwords?
Adwords allow you to bid for keywords in an advert and allow people to visit your advert when they click on your advert. In other words it allows you to get on Page One of Google without having the best webpage in the world even if there is substantial competition.
In the above example, College Employer Engagement Strategy, although I am on Page One of Google for organic searches I also use Adwords to advertise and have my site appearing on both the left and right hand sides of the search page. This brings me business on a regular basis.
How do I discover what keywords I should use on my webpage?
Deciding which keywords to use in a webpage is often seen as a problem by website owners. The secret is to write down a short list of keywords before writing the webpage copy. If you have a small group of related terms then you have the potential to write a page that Google will find highly relevant. If the keyword list is large and disparate you are probably trying to put too much information on one page and should consider writing more than one page.
What are the best Keywords to use with my Google Adwords campaign?
As far as choosing keywords for an Adword campaign goes you need to choose as few keywords as possible per advert. Google seems to recommend no more than twenty. However, in my experience, if you keep your keywords down to just one phrase e.g. Edinburgh Wedding Photographer, this will give much better results. Using this phrase in the first line of your advert will improve the results even more, as will repeating it in your second or third line.
The best keywords for any campaign are those that give the best Click Through Rate (CTR) and ultimate conversion into paying customers.
Most of us can make a reasonable guess at choosing keywords for our Adwords campaign; but to be honest, guessing isn’t the best policy. You need to test and measure as many keywords as you can. Sometimes very obscure, or specific, keywords will give you much better results than the most common or popular ones. Why? Because there is less competition for them, people that search very specific phrases tend to click on ads that focus on their search and you will pay less for your ads. Some of the keyword phrases I use only get 1-2 people in the UK searching on them each month … but I get 100% of these people visiting my website. This “Long Tail” effect is very powerful tool in your keyword armoury if used correctly.
The Google Keyword Tool
Google has a very powerful keyword tool built into Adwords. It searches out keywords related to the keywords you are using, or relevant to your webpage. It then provides information on the volume of searches per month, which month has the most searches (some keywords are seasonal) and the level of competition for the keyword. These figures are very powerful pieces of market intelligence as they allow you to find keywords with high search volumes and low volumes of competition…. and this means you can cut the cost of your advertising or be seen more times for the same spend.
Does Google search for keywords on webpages or websites?
Throughout this article I’ve mentioned Google searching webpages, and not websites, for keywords. This is an important distinction. Google searches pages not sites and it is important that every one of your webpages has its own set of distinct keywords if you are to appear highly relevant to Google and the other search engines.
Intrigued by marketing ideas like this? Then contact me to get information about my short Marketing Magician Masterclasses … they are run in the UK and overseas.