Thursday, May 28, 2015

When picking keywords, focus on good key phrases

When the time comes for you to choose a domain name, it makes sense that you somehow incorporate what you do with your domain name. As written in last month’s column, the domain name should give a potential customer an idea of what your business is about. This is known as optimizing, or Search Engine Optimization (SEO.) SEO, when done properly, brings huge results to your business, and is fundamental to your online success. Google, and other search engines (Bing, and Yahoo) are able to locate a website that has keywords or key phrases in its title tag or name when users search for products and services you may provide.

I believe we should focus on key phrases, because when I am searching for something on Google, I type phrases in the form of a question. For instance I was searching for washing machines that are large enough to wash comforters. So I typed in Google, “washing machines that can handle comforters.” Mind you, Google suggested the last two words, so that meant a lot of people must be searching for the same thing. This is a smart tidbit to notice, the fact that Google already had suggestive wording to help me search. Obviously, this key phrase is being searched for a lot. That being said, keywords should not be your focus, instead key phrases are a more accurate term which really defines how people search.

It’s important during the discovery and development of your keyword and key phrase lists, that you don’t over think the process (it’s very easy to do this.) My recommendation is to place yourself in your customer’s shoes and begin to think like them. Think about what you would be searching for if you needed dog food. You might type something like “where is organic dog food sold?” And if you wanted to narrow it down further, you may search for “organic dog food sold in St. Louis.”

You may ask, how does this help in the keyword selection for my domain name? Good question. Your domain name should contain the obvious words of ‘organic dog food’ (using the example above.) Try to resist the urge to use broad keywords like ‘dog food,’ because your website may not rank very high for that term unless you are a huge, highly authoritative website. The goal is to select primary keywords that will boost your website to the front page of Google and other search engines. Google will reward you immensely when your relevant keywords match your website address.

Try to use descriptive keywords, such as ‘organic dog food.’ The term ‘organic’ describes the type of dog food you sell, which helps to drive traffic to your website from users who are specifically looking for that type of product. If you are a jeweler, you would want to use terms like ‘gold jewelry,’ or ‘silver necklaces’ – these are specific items a person might search for. When you use specific keywords or key phrases, you are more likely to drive lots of targeted traffic to your website leading to significantly higher conversion rates to sales.

In closing, keep an eye on which keywords and key phrases are working and which ones are not. Analytic data like this helps you to forecast or predict your customers’ behavior. Data? Analytic data you say? Yes, part of running a continuously successful online business means understanding the behavior of your customers and putting that intelligence to good use.