This article comes courtesy of Corey Perlman who makes websites and the Internet look easy!
Since I agree 100% with his writing, I decided to use his words, AND to highly recommend that you attend his inexpensive and very instructive practical webinars. The next one is on Social Media For Small Business (read “medical practice” or “physician business”!), and you can learn more and register here.
PS I get nothing other than a good feeling for promoting this, but Corey was a wonderful teleclass guest some months ago and I’d love to see more of you access his down-to-earth knowledge and teaching.
Your Keyword List: The Most Important List You’ll Ever Make
By Corey Perlman
(For the purpose of this article, when I refer to Google, I am also referring to other major search engines such as Yahoo, MSN and ASK.)
How does Google decide where to rank your Web site on any given search query? Well, the exact formula is as top secret as the ingredients contained in the coke I had with lunch today. But Google is very open about the criteria they use to evaluate a Web site and today’s topic covers one of the most important factors in improving your Web site’s overall Google ranking!
Late at night, when we are fast asleep, Google’s spider (named “Googlebot”) goes to work. It creeps from Web site to Web site in search for words to feed on. It doesn’t like the taste of common filler words like a, the, to, and, it, but, etc. Instead, the spider is looking for unique words that are specific to the site it’s searching and explains exactly what that Web site is all about. These specific words are called keywords. The spider returns this information to Google so it can produce relevant Web sites when these certain words are searched. Our goal is to help Googlebot find the words WE WANT him to find. The more control we have over our keywords, the more control we have over how we rank on Google.
As Google evaluates a site, they are not only looking for specific keywords, but how frequently the keywords are used. They figure the more a particular word is used, the more relevant it is to the overall purpose of that Web site. And so if you search the word “business” in Google’s search engine, then Google will provide you with Web sites that include that word in the content. Now most of us don’t just use one word when doing a Google search, we type in phrases. So, again, Google will look to match as many of the words that you searched (minus the filler words) with the words found on the Web sites they provide for you. Take a look at the image below. I searched the phrase “hip hop dance classes” in Google and this Web site was one of the top sites that came back in my search results. Google has highlighted all the times they have the words “hip hop dance classes” included on the homepage content.
One other thing to note on the example above is that the sentences still make logical sense. You don’t want to just add a keyword to gain credit with the search engines. That can frustrate people visiting your site and the search engines frown upon it anyway.
So let’s get to your mission at hand: to figure out what your top keyword phrases are and then sprinkle them throughout your Web site content.
Here’s a great exercise to figure out what keyword phrases you want to target.
Go out and talk with total strangers; ask them to tell you what they’d type in Google if they were looking for a business like yours. What you’ll find is they will offer words and phrases that might surprise you and get you thinking differently about what your keyword list should be. And by all means listen to them!
When we try and come up with our own keyword phrases, we put ourselves at a disadvantage because we live and breathe our business. For example, I’m in the Internet marketing business. I talk about this stuff all the time. If I were to think of what some of my keywords are, I might be inclined to use words like search engine optimization, html, web site usability, and other industry specific terms. But that’s not what people are going to type in Google to find me!
Another example that I mention in my book is about my friend Ray who owns Ray’s Shoes in Seattle Washington. When I asked Ray what phrase he’d most like to come up #1 on Google, he quickly responded, “that’s easy, ‘Ray’s Shoes’!” But Ray, if someone is searching specifically for you, don’t you think they’ll find you one way or another? What about the stranger who is just looking for a shoe store? Isn’t that the person you are targeting on Google? Phrases like ‘Seattle shoe store’ and ‘Seattle Wash Shoes’ are the phrases Ray ended up targeting.
So when coming up with your most critical keyword phrases, you want to think about the person who knows nothing about you or your business. All you know is they need the product or service you provide. They hop on their computer, go to Google and they type in … what? Figure that out and you are well on your way to creating your perfect keyword list.
Things to Remember:
- Target about three keyword phrases to focus on
- Make the phrases about three to five words
- If you have a brick and mortar store, make sure to use your city and state in one or more of your keyword phrases. And try and use it in your homepage content exactly the way it is often written. For example, we usually write Michigan as “mi”.
- Just because your Web site has the exact phrase that a person searched for on Google, it doesn’t guarantee you will rank #1 or even on the first page. Their algorithm is robust and this is just one of many things Google evaluates when deciding where to rank your site.
Things to Avoid:
- Don’t overdue the amount of times you add a keyword to your Website. You want your keyword density ratio to fall between 4-10%. To figure this ratio out for any word on your site, simply divide the number of times the word appeared on your Web page by the total amount of words on the page. So if you used the word “homes” 10 times and you had 100 total words on your page, then “homes” would have a 10% density ratio. (Clickhere for a free tool that will do this analysis for you for every word on your Homepage.)
- Decide on about 5-7 critical keywords for your business. Use them together to create three critical keyword phrases.
- Increase the amount of times they appear on your Web site.
- Make sure your sentences still make sense and you don’t lose any of the quality of your content.
Thank you Corey – I couldn’t agree more!!