Keywords (Getting Found)

Every day, half of all Internet traffic starts with a search. Half! People are looking for what you do before they know your company’s name.

In today’s noisy social media world, your choice is to be known for one thing … or nothing. Social media is valuable because in contrast to your email blasts, newsletters, and direct mail, Google sees your blog posts, LinkedIn Groups, Facebook Pages, etc. This content helps your business get found at the very moment when someone is searching for exactly what you offer. As such, it’s important to use relevant words and phrases that have meaningful search volumes.

Organic (AKA free) rankings represent a fabulous business opportunity as 77% of all clicks on Google are on organic listings. The only way to get ranked organically for a given keyword is to regularly produce valuable content that relates to that keyword.

It takes time to increase your ranking for any given keyword. If a company pursues too many keywords simultaneously, it’s virtually impossible to produce enough content to succeed (not to mention the challenge of maintaining theshutterstock_382210075 quality of that content). As such, I recommend that an organization focus on 10-15 keywords at a time. With success (i.e., over time), you can expand your keyword target list.

You can discover the search volumes for any word or phrase, in any language and in any geography, using Google’s “Keyword Planner” tool (just Google that phrase). It’s almost like having extra sensory perception (ESP). It turns out that humans are not like mutual funds; our past performance is actually a pretty good predictor of future results.

When you enter a word or phrase in the Keyword Planner, Google tells you exactly how many searches there are for that phrase in a given month and then suggests 800 related phrases for your consideration. Typically, you’ll discover a number of great terms that you’d not imagined.

The key is to find keywords (phrases) that balance quantity with quality. Select a term that is popular but too general and few of the myriad people searching for it will be looking for what you do. Choose a term that is too specific and few people will be searching for it at all. Be careful to avoid using your own lingo. If your audience doesn’t know it, it’s not what they search for.

If, for example, your company sells janitorial products, using the Keyword Planner you may be interested to discover that the phrase “janitorial products” is searched 210 per month, whereas “janitorial supplies” is searched 14,800 per month. Which keyword would you rather to use in describing what you do?

After you’ve chosen your keywords:

  • Create valuable content (if this rule is violated, the subsequent rules do not matter)
  • Use relevant keywords naturally in titles (webpage titles, blog post titles, YouTube titles, etc., and in anything that is an HTML H1 or H2 title)
  • Use relevant keywords in URLs
  • Use relevant keywords in the 100 words and sparing throughout content body
  • Use relevant keywords in image tags, video descriptions, etc.

With good quality, keyword-optimized content, produced consistently over time, you’ll get your fair share of the 50% of Internet traffic that starts with a search.

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