posted in Sales & Marketing

When talking about online marketing, and specifically content marketing, it’s only a matter of time before someone drops the “K” bomb. That’s “K” for Keywords. In a lot of cases Keywords, and the way in which Search Engines like Google actually work are drastically misunderstood. Are you guilty of assuming you know how Keywords and the Search Engine Algorithms work? If so, this quick article could right a few of those wrong perceptions…

What are Keywords in Search Engine Optimisation?

When is a Keyword NOT a Key Word? When it’s a Phrase!

Firstly, a keyword isn’t necessarily just a word. When was the last time you typed in a single word to Google’s search bar? When searching you search for phrases, or ask questions. These are keywords. They would probably more accurately be called key phrases, but hey, they’re called keywords. What matters is that you understand the principle of a keyword.

”A keyword is a search term or phrase a user would type into a search engine when searching the internet…”

This realisation opens up opportunities for many, many keywords even within a single subject matter. Just think about how many different ways you can ask a question, the possibilities are endless. But some are more popular search terms than others…

This means you need to do Keyword research to find out which terms are popular with searchers, and which one’s are being fought over by other bloggers and content marketers.

Long Tail Keywords Vs Short Tail Keywords

This is standard terminology you’ll come across in the online space. Short tail keywords are basically keywords that are only 2-3 words long, as a result they’re a little more generic. For example, if you were looking for general information on Google Adwords, you may just type “Google Adwords” into the search bar.

However, if you were looking for specific information on Google Adwords, you may type in “Google Adwords Guide for Small Businesses”. This is an example of a Long tail keyword.

Why does this even matter? Well, if you wanted to create content that appeared high in Search Engine search results pages (SERPs) for the Short Tail Keyword “Google Adwords” you would have to work REALLY hard. Short tail keywords are notoriously more difficult to rank for.

The pool of potential content that the search engines could display in the SERPs is absolutely huge for a generic, short tail keyword, therefore there are a lot more competitors. However, the long tail specific keyword “Google Adwords Guide for Small Businesses” narrows down the pool of potential content to only those web pages that provide a Guide to Google Adwords for Small Businesses.

I’m not saying that long tail keywords are not competitive, they are, but less so than short tail keywords. So it’s important you know the difference.

How to Find Keywords for your Manufacturing Business Website

First and foremost, you need to think like your clients and potential customers. What are they searching for? What are they typing into Google’s search bar? This is where a lot of the technical SEOs can fall down dramatically.

Finding keywords you should use should start with knowing your customer and knowing your market. If you understand what problems your customers have and what problems you solve you’ll be able to put yourself in the shoes of your customers. Once you’re seeing the world through their eyes, you’ll start uncovering the searches they’re doing online.

Once you’ve got a few ideas on what your customers are searching for, and only then, you can expand your research by using tools. There are a tonne of tools out there, but Google's Keyword planner has got to be your first, and maybe your only port of call (and it's completely FREE!). You can use it to suggest more keywords and uncover keywords that have a decent search volume whilst being less competitive, this is the ideal situation.

Be aware, the size and depth of the market you are targeting is far less than your typical blogger. Therefore a lot of the advice you’ll find out there about search volumes and keyword competitiveness will not be tailored to the UK Manufacturing Industry.

Just because there aren’t thousands of searches a month doesn’t mean the keyword isn’t worth trying to rank for.

Using Keywords - Quick Overview

So now you know what a keyword is, how do you go about using a keyword? Well the full answer to that question will be covered in an upcoming article, but I couldn’t leave you hanging without at least a quick overview.

Keywords should appear in page titles

Your website will have “Title” tags for each page, these are controlled within your content management system at the back end of your website. If you create articles in your CMS the title of the article is your page title, so make sure it’s targeting a keyword you have chosen.

Keywords should appear in your Web Page URL

In most content management systems you have control over the URL. Make sure your URL contains the keyword or keywords you are targeting, or a complimentary keyword. A complimentary keyword being another way of asking the same question when using the search engine.

Keywords should appear in your Heading Tags

Heading tags H1, H2, H3, H4 and onwards should be complementing the main keyword you are targeting. Make sure you use these tags when creating pages and articles on your website, if you don’t you’re missing out on a big opportunity to draw attention to your content.

Keywords should appear in your Content

Within the paragraph text you should be using your keywords, typically in cut down or “short tail” form as this tends to be a more natural way of writing.

That Said, DO NOT stuff your article with Keywords

Although I’ve just highlighted some areas where your chosen keywords can appear, I am not suggesting you “Stuff” your article with the same keyword repeated over and over again. This is actually technically termed “Keyword Stuffing” and has long been an outdated practice for getting websites and web pages to rank.

What I am suggesting is that you take a single keyword or phrase, you identify other keywords that are complementary to this keyword (satisfies the same or similar need of the searcher) and you use those terms naturally in your web page. Write so it makes sense for the reader, not so you can try and fool the search engine. You will NOT fool the search engine, I guarantee.

Why Google is Smarter than you think

Keywords are important, but Google is a lot smarter than most people would think. Google takes keywords into consideration along with a whole load of other ranking factors. In fact, it associates keywords with other words found on the page, it can then cross reference the combination, frequency of occurrence, location of occurrence (paragraph, heading, title) and some other measures, and then compare with other pages that are ranked highly.

What does this mean? Google can check if you’re producing genuinely useful content by comparing it with other useful and high performing content on the web. It’s almost like DNA profiling your content and checking whether it contains all the right elements to be given a decent search ranking.

And again, that’s just one of a number of ways Google is making sure that it’s search results are high quality for the searcher.

6 Key Takeaways about Keywords

  1. Keywords are not words, they are search terms or phrases.
  2. Keywords can be classified as short tail and long tail. Short tail keywords are typically 3 or less words, long tail keywords being at least 4 words. Long tail keywords are typically in the form of a targeted question or phrase.
  3. Keyword research should start by putting yourself in the shoes of the customer. What are their problems, what are they searching for, what are they typing into the search bar? Only once you know this you should start using Google’s Keyword Planner to prioritise and find other potential keywords to target.
  4. Targeting a specific keyword means using that term and complementary terms in key areas of your web page such as the end of the URL, the Title, header tags and within your content.
  5. Don’t go stuffing your web page like a christmas turkey. Keywords should appear naturally in your writing. Your writing should make sense to the reader firstly, and the search engines secondly.
  6. Google’s search engine is smarter than just using keywords, they are a key piece of a much bigger puzzle. It has some really smart ways to determine the quality of your writing based on enormous amounts of data it has collected and used successfully to serve searchers with quality search results.

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