Determining Effective Search Terms

Seems simple enough... right? You would think so, but many businesses have trouble getting a list started. Or, once they get going, they have a hard time stopping.

First, let’s talk about what a "search term" is. Search terms, or keywords, are what potential clients are using to search out your products and services. They are searching search engines, Facebook, YouTube, etc. Our job is to determine what they are using. Once we have this list, we then need to incorporate the terms into the website content (text) and META tags.

Here are some ideas that I use to help clients get a list started.

What Are Your Clients Looking For? What you would search for is not necessarily what your clients are looking for. When people call or email you, what are they asking for? If they are asking for XYZ, they are most likely searching for XYZ.

Are Clients Use The "Wrong" Term? In some cases, potential clients are using search terms that are not technically correct, or that are wrong. You need to take that under consideration and optimize your site for these wrong terms. Once they get to your site, you can educate them on the correct terms. You don’t want to "false advertise"... however, you do want to be found.

Be As Specific As Possible: Clients often try to hit all possible search terms. With this approach, your site becomes so saturated with search terms that the search engines have a hard time determining how to categorize and rank your site. You are better off to narrow the search terms to ones that are most likely to generate traffic and sales. Or, you can create "search term specific" web pages.

Location You Do Business In: Your website may be accessed by people all over the world. Some businesses cover this large of an area, others do not. If you focus on local/regional areas, use this to your advantage. The latest stats suggest that 43% of all searches include a location (city or state), while 85% of all mobile searches are local (city).

What Search Terms Are Your Competitors Using? Visit websites of your competition and review their search terms. You will find them in the text of the website as well as in the META tags. (To view META tags, right click on the webpage and select "view source". You are looking for the "title" and "description" between the head tags () There are two reasons to do this: (1) to see if they thought of any search terms that you missed, and (2), to see if they forgot any search terms that you can capitalize on.

Additional Help - There are several Keyword Suggestion Tools available and many are free. Just search Google to find. I often use the Google Keyword Search Tool.

September 1, 2012

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