So for today’s Google Christmas, we’ve picked a controversial and often misunderstood subject – keywords. Did you ever have a Christmas where there was a particular item that you really, really wanted and you could hardly wait to open your presents on Christmas morning? Have you ever received nice gifts, but it just wasn’t what you had dreamed, wished, and hoped for? Do remember the disappointment? Well, that same disappointment is exactly what Google is trying to avoid when a user types in a search term and they don’t get the results they were looking to receive.
Remember that Google’s “customer” is the searcher. When you type in a search for “Betty’s Home Cooking Restaurant,” you don’t want to get results for “Bob’s Deep Fried Cooking” across the street. Years ago when people were first starting to learn about keywords, some devious people used a tactic where they would put in their competitor’s name in their keywords. They also started keyword stuffing (putting tons of keywords into this field). And for all those reasons, they were put on Santa’s naughty list…I mean Google stopped using the keyword field as part of its algorithm of results. Bing and Yahoo do still use keywords as a small part of their algorithm, but it does not play a significant role.
Why worry about keywords?
So why are we talking about three keywords? Good question. There are two reasons; first, keywords can be used as a strategy that helps you focus on the content of any single page on your website. Secondly, Google Analytics and Google Places both show you the keywords (or keyword phrases) that were entered by the searcher when they clicked on the link to your website. Let’s break these two items down separately.
Using keywords to create strategic content
Part of the way that Google determines how relevant your site is to the searcher is by looking at a combination of your page titles, your meta description and the content on your web page. One of the best ways to keep this all consistent is choose three keywords for your page (what is this page going to be about), and work the rest of your content around those three keywords strategy.
Google also provides some great tools for determining your keyword strategy in their external keyword search tool (free and available to anyone). This will help you determine the most highly searched terms on a monthly basis.
If you find that the keywords you have chosen for your page cannot be consolidated to three keywords, you may have too many different topics on your web page and we would recommend starting a new page to cover the different types of content.
Analyzing your keyword search results
In Google Analytics (and in Google Places) you have the ability to see the keywords that users entered when they clicked on the link to your site. You can use this information to better optimize your web pages.
For example, if you notice that customers are only coming to your website if they know your name, then you have some serious optimization work ahead of you. Ideally your top keywords should not be your company name, but rather the products or services that you are offering. Speaking of which, if any optimization company tells you that they can get you to the first page of Google and they do it by optimizing your company name – BEWARE! People who already know your company name should not be the audience you are primarily targeting. You need to reach NEW customers!
Thanks to Google Analytics (and Google Places) you have the ability to know exactly how people are searching for and finding your website. So don’t disappoint your potential customers on Christmas morning (or any other day of the year), target your customers through proper page keyword strategy and enjoy the results of your hard work and planning!