When it comes to key words, who has the edge, you or your competition?

key word, key word list, key phrase

Search Engine Optimization or SEO. You hear about it all the time from web professionals. You're told it's important, yet few can tell you what it is or a simple explanation as to how it works. Take out the hype and you'll find it all boils down to words.


Simply stated:
Search engine crawl through each page of your website, harvesting words.


People looking for something, use words to search.

Words are key. Hence the name "key words."


Words put together sometimes form a phrase.

Key words Key phrases. Do you know your's?


If someone were to search for the service or products that you provide, what words would they choose to search for you?


Can those "key words" be found within the content of your website?


If the answer is no, how difficult would it be to change a few words on your website, so that the key words people use, are there to be found?


It's not difficult. It's not rocket science, nuclear physics or molecular biology. They're just words you probably use all the time when talking about what you do.


It starts with a list. Take a few moments now to start it. A quick brainstorm, where you don't filter a thing. You just let it rain down whatever words come to mind. Words that people might use to find you. Try it for ten minutes and see what you come up with.


Keep the list with you. On a phone or tablet, even pen & paper works. As long as you remember to add the new words as you think of them.


After you've brainstormed a list, sort it. Put the words most likely to be used in a search at the top, least likely at the bottom. Then pick a page. Start with a simple one like your Contact page or About Us page to get the hang of this. Then periodically, once a week, once a month, whatever works for you, go through one of your pages and optimize it with words from your "Key word / Key phrase List." How do you optimize a page?


Go through the page and look for words you could swap out and replace with one of your key words. Can't find any? That's OK, don't force it. Just replace the ones where they fit.


Is there a sentence or phrase could you add that would include some of your key words? Can you do it without taking away from the "human readability" of you content?


The idea here is not to just add a bunch of disjointed words and phrases to your website so you get found. It doesn't work that way. In fact doing so, may hurt more than it helps. It's best when it makes sense to the person reading it. Remember there are other factors to getting found, such as inbound links, so search engines should not be the only audience you write for. It will be people who ultimately share your article or page so make it an easy read for them. 


Finished with the body of your page? What about the title? Does it have any key words in it? 


Did you know that key words in the page title are slightly more important than those in the body?

Think about it. Names are important. If you named your page (gave it a title) in such a way that it was descriptive of what your page is about, doesn't it make sense that the words you chose would be important to the humans deciding whether or not to read your article, page or blog in the first place?


The people who make search engines realize this. That's why Page Titles are important. Pay attention to them, include keywords in them while keeping them human readable. Page Titles are #2 priority to a search engine.


The #3 priority is the first paragraph of your content. That's right, after the title, the most important words are what you put in your opening paragraph. Want to know what's #1? Your domain name!


Did you know you can have more than one domain name pointing to your site? It might be nothing more than 2-4 of your best key words. There is no limit to the number of domains you can have pointing to a specific page or website.


Do you see how vital these words are? If getting found on the internet if important for your organization, you'll keep and review your key word / key phrase list periodically.


Two more words for you before I close. Geography and Website Statistics. OK, that was three.


Geography is important since people look for things in their area. Make sure you include local geographical words in your list. Include the local towns, cities, counties, state or province, along with the regions or areas people would likely use in a search engine. Words like upstate, downstate or tri-state may be important if people might use those terms when searching.


Web Stats are also important because they often contain the words people used to find you. Check your stats once a month and see if there are any new words not already on your list. Add and rank any new ones.

When it comes to the web, words may not be everything, but they sure help you get found. Keeping an updated list of the ones people are likely to use to find you is an important tool to have. Using the list when writing content or optimizing a page for search engines may give you an edge you over your competition. Not using key words and phrases, may turn out to be the edge your competition has over you.


So what are you waiting for? Lets make a list!

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