Courtesy navigation

How to choose the best keywords for your website

The word success in a dictionaryIncluding the right keywords in your website will boost your search engine ranking and drive potential new customers to your website. Find out how to choose the best keywords for your website

  1. Understand the value of keywords. These are the words and phrases that people type into search engines such as Google or Yahoo! to find the information they require.
  2. Choose the right keywords and use them correctly. This is a major element of search engine optimisation (SEO) and can ensure your website is listed prominently in relevant searches so potential customers can find you. Find a free guide to SEO on the SEOmoz website.
  3. Consider the sector you operate in, your products or services, any brand names you use, your location, and what is unique to your business - then come up with relevant short descriptive phrases.
  4. Identify your competitors' keywords. By using these yourself you may be able to redirect some of their web traffic towards you. There are services, such as Keyword Spy, which can help you do this.
  5. Use a keyword suggestion tool. For example, Google provides a free service to find variations on the keywords you have come up with, as well as useful statistics related to the use of these keywords.
  6. The number of keywords you use will depend on the size of your business but there really is no limit. Don't forget to include common mis-spellings.
  7. Embed keywords into your website. They need to be embedded into the title tag of each page, the page headings and sub-headings, and the metadata (snippets of code that users don't see but which search engines analyse). Importantly, they should also be embedded into the content of your pages, and the higher up the better.
  8. Trial a number of keywords in a paid search campaign. With this you pay the search engine according to the number of users clicking to your site having used keywords you have previously selected. Some experts say this is the most effective way of identifying your most productive keywords.
  9. Put the keywords into your link-building strategy. Most search engines work using complicated algorithms that see how many links point to your site, so you need to cultivate links with appropriate and relevant sites. Vary the keywords you use in these links to give search engines a good idea of what your site is about.
  10. Track and monitor how your keywords are working for you by analysing your web server’s log files (available from your hosting provider) or using a free online tool such as Google Analytics. Modify your site and your keywords accordingly.
  11. Consider paying a specialist agency to help you track, monitor and modify your keywords as experts understand the constantly changing nature of search engines. It can also be time consuming to do it properly.

Do

  • continually refine and update your keywords
  • experiment with keywords
  • give your keywords time to show results.

Don't

  • choose single words, such as "insurance"
  • use highly competitive keywords, such as "cheap loans"
  • write content intended only for search-engine ranking.