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6 Do’s and Don’t of Choosing Keywords for Your Website SEO

By Emily Thornhill | Inbound Marketing Manager

We’ve said it repeatedly, and we stand by the fact that content is the foundation of search engine optimization (SEO). But from the perspective of the searcher, they won’t find your site if your content doesn't contain the right keywords.

In choosing your keywords for website SEO, there are many do’s and don’ts that should be followed in order to ensure your website ranks highly on the search engine results page (SERP) and also attracts the right traffic.

1. Don’t be greedy:

Determine the keywords that closely relate to your brand, not every term that has 100K+ searches a month. From Michael David’s book on SEO for WordPress (“WordPress 3 Search Engine Optimization”), choosing keywords to rank for and convert on not only depends on search engine rankings, but on the relevance of these keywords to your brand. Using Google’s keyword planner, determine the actual relevance by asking yourself, “On a scale of 1 to 10, when someone searches using this exact term, how likely would it be that they are looking for what we are providing?” Then divide the average monthly searches from Google by that number to get the relevance of that keyword to your brand.

2. Do be specific:

Long tail keywords are easier to rank on (or “own”) and convert better leads. Similar to the above “don’t,” being specific not only helps you be found, but gives you a better chance of capturing the lead. If you rank for a term that is only relevant at a relevance of 2, chances are they will click to your site and leave. If it is exactly what they were looking for (relevance of 8+), they are more likely to stay and convert.

long-tail

3. Don't overdo it:

SEO best practices suggest that you should optimize each of your webpages or blogs with one term. Stuffing every page with all your keywords will confuse and anger Google. Write your content and decide on the term that you want to be found on for that page and practice smart SEO to rank on that word.

4. Do mix-n-match:

Use long tail keywords in conjunction with high traffic terms to increase the chance of being found. Sometimes you come across a term that is very broad or does have high competition that you just can’t pass up. In order to boost its relevance to your brand, surround it with long tail terms to create a keyword phrase and rank on that. Example: If you want to rank on both “brisket “ and “BBQ,” use “Brisket BBQ Recipes,” as a phrase, instead of separate words.

keyword-research-target-model

5. Don’t be fooled by acronyms:

Especially in the technical world, there are a lot of acronyms that the general public does not know. This is great for a long tail strategy until you are trying to rank for MACs (“moves-add-changes” – a data center cable management term) and you are competing with Apple’s MAC and MAC cosmetics. Google’s keyword tool won’t discriminate for you; you have to read between the lines. A good rule of thumb is to search in Google using the selected keyword to see what you’re up against.

6. Do break the rules:

Search engines are always changing and growing, so it’s only natural that some rules won’t apply forever. Not every brand and website is the same, and some of these rules might not apply to you. If you are willing to compete with broad terms, go for it! If you need to use acronyms, do it! One thing Google will always give credit for is being true to your brand.

 

For more tips on web design for SEO, check out the TREW Smart Marketing for Engineers: Web Redesign.

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Emily Thornhill

Inbound Marketing Manager

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