Keywords are the terms your ideal client is plugging into Google or another search engine when she needs an answer.
“Life coach in Alberta” and “business coach for virtual assistants” and “how to upload a book to Kindle” are all examples of keywords.
Knowing the keywords you’d like to be known for is critical for attracting “organic” traffic to your site, but that’s only one part of the equation.
You also have to use your keywords strategically.
- Page Titles or Subjects
If you’re tempted to use cute, clever blog post titles, keep this in mind: The subject is the keyword field to which Google and other search providers give the most weight. Don’t waste that space with a clever turn of phrase. Instead, be clear and concise, and say exactly what your article or post is about.
Everyone today is in a hurry. We rarely read an entire article from start to finish. Instead, we “skim” it for the most important points before deciding if we want to invest the time in a more complete reading. If your post or article is more than a few paragraphs long, be sure to include sub-headings to give the skimmers an overview.
Not only are you providing time-pressed visitors a birds-eye view but sub-headings also tell the search engines what your content is about. Be sure to use your keywords strategically in your sub-headings so Google (and others) know how to classify your posts.
- Image Titles and File Names
Search for nearly anything on Google, and you’ll see images appear at the top of the search results. These images will almost always have file names and titles that correspond to the keyword you’ve searched.
You can—and should—make use of your chosen keywords by naming any images appropriately and setting the titles and alt attributes to clearly describe what the image is.
- Meta Descriptions
The meta description is the snippet of text that shows up below a listing in Google and other search engines. With WordPress, you can either explicitly declare a meta description with the use of a plugin such as WordPress SEO by Yoast or let Google decide what to use.
While the meta description itself has no weight when it comes to your search results placement, it can have a great deal of impact on whether or not someone clicks through to your site. Take care to write a compelling description that contains the keyword you want to be found for.
- Inbound Links
As you’re creating new blog posts and pages on your site, it’s a good idea to link from one to another. This serves two purposes: it helps readers learn more about a subject, and it helps the search engines find and explore other content on your site. In both cases, it’s helpful to use keywords as the “anchor text” for these links. It’s a clear declaration to both human and non-human readers that the content linked to is about a specific subject.
It should go without saying that including keywords in your content is important not only for search engines but for readers, too. But don’t make the mistake of using the same phrase over and over again. Doing so will turn your readers off.
Instead, use variations of your keyword throughout the text of your article. You won’t bore your readers, plus you’ll reinforce your main point with the search engines, which are now smart enough to recognize synonyms and rank your content accordingly.
Don’t worry if you don’t get your SEO perfect right out of the gate. It can take time to properly optimize a website for search—and some would argue that it’s a never-ending job—but do keep these 6 areas in mind for every post you make and your site will be much easier to find in a search.