Creating content that is keyword-centric is not about using a trick that will improve your search engine standings but about thinking with a new perspective. Instead of writing about what you think others should know about you, focus on what your target audience needs and what they are looking for.
First, for every section on your site, select a word or phrase that you think someone would use to search for it.
Then refine these keywords. You want to make sure the words are ones that people actually use in their search. A good keyword
- is commonly used, and
- leads to searches for business similar to yours
Here is an example of how seemingly similar words can have a different result: Say you have photos of celebrities on your website. Though you would think the best keyword is “photo” of, say, Kim Kardashian what people search for more commonly are “pictures”. So in this case you would want to make sure you use that word.
Some keyword tools
To help with refining your keywords use the Google Adwords keyword tool. All you have to do is
- Type in your word or phrase.
- Select a category. (You can leave “website” blank)
- Select and advanced options or filters that makes sense (such as United States and English.)
The results show how many people searched on your keyword (see far right column).
Below that are ideas for related keywords. Click on the right hand column (local monthly searches)so the keywords that are most used are at the top of the column.
For example, I started with the keyword “improving patient satisfaction” for my client that coaches doctors to improve the ratings in that area. The results show that there are only 1,000 searches from the U.S. on that keyword. Are there any that might be more popular? Looking below we a lot of searches on “hospital health care” but that term is too general. “Patient satisfaction” is more promising but is it too general too? If you click on the word and then on “Google Search” it looks like the results are are not specific to your field. How about “patient satisfaction survey”? Bingo. Search results from that point to blogs about the survey, what the scores mean and why, and if, they matter. Just the place someone might be looking for services to help increase those scores. Mentioning “hcahps”, an abbreviation all health care professionals would know, could help too.
Another tool is ubersuggest.org that shows you every possible variation of a base keyword and additional words.
Where to use keywords
Once you have your list of keywords you want to make sure you use them in the most effective places. These are, in order of importance:
- The page title (if using WordPress you will need an SEO plugin to tweak that.)
- Main headline, the closer to the beginning of the headline the best
- In several different versions in the body text.
- Alt tags (these are hidden in the code) and captions for photos
These are the places that Google looks to make sense of your page and to determine how relevant it is to the rest of your site.
But don’t forget that …
…there is no substitute for quality content. Your first focus should be always be on offering something that is useful to your target audiences and that you are uniquely positioned to offer. But using keywords in this way can help focus your thinking, clarify your content, and improve the chances that someone will find it.
NEXT WEEK: An Alternative to Mediocre Stock Photography