Want to make it easier for people to find your website? Use these 4 steps.
People find things online using search. One of the ways you can ensure you show up in their search results is with keywords which are similar or exactly the same as what people are searching for. Keywords should be relevant to your organization and what you do, so you get the right people visiting your website.
Case Study for Examples shown in Italics
Anita is a clothing shop owner and wants to enhance her website with keywords so potential customers will find her online. Anita owns a retail children’s clothing business in the city of Oakville called Anita’s Cloth for Kids.
Step 1: Set a Goal
Before researching keywords, you should determine your goals and its relationships to the website. Ask yourself what is your organization’s goal and how does it relate to the website?
For a retail business, a website will sell goods. For a charity, a website aids in awareness building and donation collection. For government, a website informs the public and provides services.
Anita’s Cloth for Kids has the goal to market and sell clothing products, hence the website goal will be to increase revenue growth due to leads or sales from the online clothing store website.
Step 2: Who is your Target Audience?
Determine what kind of people you want to visit your website to achieve your goal. In the case of a retail business, it would be consumers and in the case of a charity, it would be people that donate and for government it would be citizens looking for information on a topic area.
Anita has identified young mothers as the people most likely to contact her or buy clothing via the website. Other potential people are:
- Family, mothers, and fathers of young children.
- Residents of the geographical area where the store is physically located.
- People looking for gifts for young children
Step 3: Research Keywords
Step in the shoes of people in step 2 think about what they want and what they would search on.
Having trouble thinking of keywords? Try these methods:
- Visit websites related to your organization (blogs, competitor websites) to get keyword ideas.
- Use the Google keyword tool to pick up keywords on your websites and related sites. One technique is point the tool to Wikipedia page related to your organization and what it does.
- Most website data collectors and analytics will tell you popular keywords of your visitors.
Expand your initial list to include words that people might use including synonyms, stems, and related keywords. The expanded list will help you vary your web content and avoid repetition.
To come up with keywords, Anita did the following:
- She knew past customers used search phrases like “buy sweater 9 year old Oakville”
- She visited clothing magazine websites and online children’s stores and noted down reoccurring themes and keywords.
- She used the Google keyword tool on topics and websites ranging from children, pre-teen, to clothing.
- Using a thesaurus and results the keyword tool, Anita expanded her keywords list to include similar words.
Step 4: Put the Keywords on Your Website
Using the keywords you found in step 3, you can enhance your website by placing those keywords in your website. Placing those keywords in your website is one of the techniques of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO means making your website better for search engines to read and the result is the people looking for you and what you do using search engines can find your website easier.
You can approach keyword SEO in two ways:
Improving your website as a whole
Use Meta Information
In libraries, we find books using information about a book in an index or online search. This information about the book is called meta information and describes the book like its title, author, category, etc. Web pages also have meta information where you can include your keywords and things about your organization to help others find the page.
You can read more about the meta elements of web pages and the technical details to add this information to your page, especially if you know HTML. Some web publishing platforms will manage this meta information for you based on your input.
Organize Your Website
- Choose meaningful titles for your pages.
- Use keywords in a logical order that they might be searched on.
- Look at the navigation and key links on your pages. These links should contain keywords and action verbs (e.g. buy, learn, contact).
Improving individual pages
When looking at single pages, place keywords in the following areas:
- Bolded text
- Media descriptions/names (images, video, transcripts, audio)
These keywords make it easier for a visitor to scan the page and for a search engine read it and find what it is about. Make sure the keywords
Anita made the following changes on her store’s website:
- New navigation links were added for Pre-teen clothing, Gift Ideas, Clothing On Sale.
- Text for links to product pages contain the full product name.
- Descriptions were added to pictures of each clothing product
- Product pages contain the following information:
- Name of the product
- Age category
- Name and location of the store
- Example: Sweaters – 6-9 year olds – Anita’s Cloth for Kids Oakville
Standard meta information was added to every web page. See the code below.
<meta name="dc.title" content="<page name here> - Anita’s Cloth for Kids Oakville" /> <meta name="dc.format" content="text/html" /> <meta name="dc.description" content="Website of the Anita’s clothing store for children in Oakeville, Ontario" /> <meta name="Description" content=" Website of the Anita’s clothing store for children in Oakeville, Ontario." /> <meta name="dc.creator" content="Anita’s Cloth" />
All Done, Now What?
After applying the SEO keyword techniques in the 4 steps, monitor your website to:
- Find new keywords and popular ones
- Find out who is visiting your website
- See what people are searching for when they land on your website
A popular tool to monitor your website traffic is Google Analytics. Some publishing platforms like WordPress will provide you with similar information.
After the improvements, search for your website using the keywords and phrases you have to see your ranking. You can see who is higher than you and check out their website for ideas to improve.
Anita integrated Google Analytics on her website so she could observe popular keywords and information about the people visiting her store website. She discovered popular items people browsed and searched for. Using this data, she enhanced the product pages for the popular items and made offers on other products to attract more visitors.
Using These Steps for Good
Only use keywords that are relevant to your organization and what you do. Here are two reasons why:
- Including keywords relevant to your organization ensures the right people you want to come to your site instead of just anyone. Doing that increases your position in search results since you are relevant and reduces the load on your website, ensuring visitors get the best possible experience.
- It is unethical to place irrelevant or misleading keywords in your website. If search engines like Google and Bing find out you are doing it, they will decide to ban you from search results like Google did to BMW in 2006 and then no one will be able to find you.