What’s a keyword?

Image by BohmanYou may have heard the term ‘keyword’ before – in fact, you may even get unsolicited emails from various SEO companies telling you about the keywords on your website! But do you know what a keyword really is and why it is critical to the effective search engine optimisation of your website?

Simply put, a keyword is a word, or a number of words that you type into a search engine in order to find something.  If you’re looking for a plumber then keywords would be ‘Plumber’, ‘Plumbing services’, ‘Cheap, reliable and trustworthy plumber in East London’.  All of these are keywords.  Where keywords become important is when you’re optimising your website for the search engines.

I’ve heard people say that their website is optimised because if they type in ‘Bob’s garage’ for example, then their website is returned.  End of discussion!  But the only people that would type in Bob’s Garage are those that are looking for Bob’s Garage.  They’ve already made up their mind that they’re going to be clients of Bob so Bob isn’t actually looking to market to them.  The people that Bob would like to be marketing to are those that are typing in terms such as ‘Garage services in Wokingham’ or ‘Car repair in Kendal’ for example.

We often hear from our clients that they’d like to optimise for keywords such as (for example) ‘accountant’, ‘money’, ‘finance’, which, on the surface sound like sensible keywords to target. But when you take a step back and look at the way that you would search for a service, you type in what are called ‘long tail searches’, in that they’re quite specific.  So what keywords you should actually be targeting are things such as ‘Accountants in Reading’, ‘Tax accountants in Reading’, ‘small business specialist accounting in Reading’.

As you can see, you could come up with a huge list of keywords and the more keywords you have, the more difficult it is to optimise your website.  So you have to consider what are likely to be the most effective keywords are target them.  When considering the effectiveness of them, you also have to consider the competition.  If you’re targeting the keyword ‘mobile phone’ then you’ll be competing with companies such as Orange and Vodafone.  You may then want to consider targeting a ‘niche’ such as ‘refurbished mobile phones’, ‘stylish mobile phones’ or ‘value mobiles’.

There are tools available which can help you identify the competitiveness of keywords and the number of searches carried out for each keyword which can help you refine your list.  We also provide a highly effective keyword research service as part of our Internet Marketing services which supplies you with a prioritised list of keywords for your business to target.

Getting your keywords right is absolutely critical to your website success.  If you use them as part of your SEO campaign then it’s the equivalent of taking your shop from a rural road in Northern Scotland and planting it right in the middle of Oxford Street.  It’s THAT important!

For more information on our keyword research programme and our other Internet Marketing services, call us 08456 43 41 47 or email us at [email protected]