The more I work at website design, I more I am reminded that the look of a site is always secondary to its content. Since every visitor to your site comes by choice—either through a web search, clicking on a link, or typing your URL directly into the browser—they come for a reason. And the reason they come there is for content, not how it looks.
What do I mean by content? It is a word bandied around a lot these days. Some think it refers to words (which search engines can read) as opposed to images (which they can’t), but in reality it refers to whatever brings your visitors to your site. Flight schedules? Celebrity photos? Relationship advice? That’s content. A Letter from the President that talks about how wonderful the company is? Probably not.
Part of the power of good content is keywords, that is, the word or phrase that people search on. If content is done right, it would naturally contain these keywords. But it is a good idea, when creating content, to select your keywords beforehand to help focus your copy writing.
Selecting keywords are not about finding some trick that will make you more visible to search engines. It is about asking yourself these basic questions:
- who is my target audience?
- what problems do they face (or what needs to they have)?
- what do I have to offer them that will solve their problems and meet their needs.
- how is it distinct from what other people are offering? (i.e. what is my unique selling point?)
For example, a client of mine is a leadership coach; he counsels professionals who deal with career obstacles and want to move forward and past them. So what is his keyword? At first guess it would be “leadership coach” or more simply “coaching”.
But after answering the questions a different keyword emerges. It turns out though he is open to all types of clients, his experience is with helping doctors improve patient satisfaction. That is his target audience. And since Medicare now includes patient satisfaction in their evaluation, poor ratings make a difference. That is a real problem. So the real question to ask is: What does a health care professional search on after getting a bad patient satisfaction rating?
Probably something closer to “patient satisfaction training” or “how to improve patient satisfaction” or more specifically” “meeting HCAHPS requirements” referring to the specific Medicare ruling that physicians would be familiar with.
Using these keywords gives a very different way to approach site content. Instead of the home page featuring a summary of my client’s services, it could address directly some of the challenges that physicians face in meeting HCAPHS requirements and link to a Services page that could spell out how coaching could help tackle this issue.
There are of course a lot of variety in keywords. As in our example above, many different keywords could still address practically the same thing. How do you choose? Using some simple online tools could help make that choice. I will address this topic in the next posting:
Selecting Keywords for Dummies Part II.
And as always I appreciate your comments!