Three tips to help businesses use keywords effectively

It has become a habit for all Internet users around the world. Whenever we need to find information, we jump on the Internet. And Google is the preferred search engine to do so, with 71.11% of the online population using it on their desktop. Google makes the life of Internet users easier, and is so popular that it is now a verb. Whether you want to find the menu of this new restaurant in town, read the reviews of a product you want to buy, find the perfect outfit to wear to your next party, or, even better, book a holiday, the solution is simple: just Google it.

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But search engines are not only useful to individuals. They also represent a fantastic opportunity for companies, big or small, to grow their business. Indeed, having their website ranked at the top of the search results enables them to reach lots of potential customers and significantly increase brand awareness. However, to make sure that their website shows up as one of the first results of a search, organisations must use keywords effectively. Based on The Beginners Guide to SEO, published by Moz.com, this blog post gives three tips to help businesses use keywords to their advantage.

 

  1. Do your research

In order to rank for the right keywords and get the right kinds of visitors to its website, a business must learn more about customers and determine the terms and phrases they use when searching for the type(s) of products or services sold by this company. Once it has collected sufficient information, the business is able to determine the value of each keyword and select then one(s) that will bring the highest volume of potential customers to the page. One of the tools organisations can use for keyword research is Google’s Adwords Keyword Planner.

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This tool enables businesses to estimate the search volume for each term but also the growth of this volume and even the cost of running a paid campaign for this keyword.

 

  1. Use narrow keywords when possible

Keywords are extensively used on the Internet. As a result, to rank high in the search results, each business has to compete with many other companies using the same terms. To reduce this competition and increase their chances of appearing at the top of the search results, businesses should use more narrow keywords. Moreover, companies who use narrow terms are more likely to increase their sales. Indeed, research shows that individuals who use specific keywords while searching on the Internet are closer to make a purchase. On the contrary, users who just started searching for a product or service online use general terms, as they tend to have limited knowledge about the product category and do not have a clear idea of what they are looking for.

To illustrate this point, I first searched for a dress on Google. The results of this search were mainly big national and international brands such as Asos or Forever New. Then, I launched another search, this time for a black formal dress, with lace and long sleeves. This time, my results were completely different. Most of them were websites of smaller companies.

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This shows that smaller businesses can use more specific keywords to compete with large organisations.

 

  1. Make sure you only use relevant keywords

Companies may be tempted to use keywords that are widely used by Internet users, even though they may not be relevant to the actual content of the page, in order to attract more visitors. However, there is no benefit in augmenting the number of visitors if they are not likely to turn into customers or not even interested in the content of the site. Moreover, when search engines are reviewing all the websites containing the keywords typed by users, they look at the relevance of each document to these terms. Consequently, in order to rank high in the search results, businesses should only use relevant keywords. To emphasise on the relevance of a keyword to the content of the page, Moz.com recommends using it:

  • At least once in the title tag
  • Once at the top of the page
  • Two or three times in the body copy of the page (if there is a lot of content on the page, the term can be used more often)
  • At least once in a picture’s alt attribute, as this would increase the visibility of the website when users search for images
  • Once in the URL

Nevertheless, businesses should not overuse a term, as keyword density – the ratio between the total number of words on a page and the number of times a specific keyword was used on this page – is not used for determining relevancy.

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Businesses have the opportunity to increase the number of visitors on their website and, eventually, boost sales through the use of keywords. In this blog post, three major recommendations were given to businesses that aim at enhancing their use of keywords. The first step for each company is to thoroughly research the terms Internet users type in search engines when they are looking for the kind of products their business is selling. Then, to reduce competition and increase their chances of making it to the top of the search results, companies should use specific and narrow keywords. This tactic is very successful for smaller players, who usually are not listed in the top results when users are using very broad terms. Finally, businesses should only use keywords that are relevant to the content of the page. These keywords should be mentioned a few times on the page to increase relevancy, but companies must carefully avoid keyword stuffing.

Tell me about your experience with search engines. Do you think businesses use keywords effectively? Do the terms you type in search engines help you find what you are looking for instantly? Let me know in the comment section below!

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Jack says:

    For me, it is clear that the biggest companies are the best at SEO and as such they achieve the best results. It always seems for me that big companies are at the top of any search related to some sort of consumer purchase. This makes logical sense, they know how important SEO is, and they subsequently spend sufficient money to do the research to ensure their website is recalled due to having the relevant search terms prominent as you say. What compounds this is that the theory suggests that ads at the top of search engine results are often ignored by consumers, so big companies now know they’re money is better spent improving their search engine results, rather than investing in ads. SEM strikes me as a tough place for small business.

    -Jack

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jack!

      Thank you for your comment. I agree with you, SMEs are disadvantaged because of the large investment required to implement SEO. We often hear that Internet is a huge opportunity for all businesses, regardless of their size, but many small companies do not have the resources to compete against large multinationals. As a result, they struggle to reach the top of the search results and attract more visitors.

      This is why I think that using narrow keywords can be an effective solution to reduce the intensity of the competition. By using more specific keywords, small companies are not targeting the same users as large firms but a smaller subset of this population, who is more knowledgeable about the product or service. Even if it is not guaranteed, this tactic may help them rank higher in the search results and increase the number of visitors.

      Magaly

      Like

  2. anitalimjh says:

    Hi Magaly, goob job on the blogpost! Especially found the pictures relevant and useful (even the gif was great!).

    I didn’t know Google provided the Adwords Keywords Planner, which is so helpful! For people who might not understand the technical side of how SEO works and its mechanics, it’s a great way for them to at least know the impacts of the keywords that they use. What an innovative and thoughtful step on Google’s part, it’s not surprising why they hold the largest share in the Search Engine market.

    Also, your example for narrow keyword searches was very insightful. It’s really an organic way for small boutiques and independent shops to gain a competitive advantage over bigger companies, or at least to filter out some competition.

    Personally when I use search engines, I will usually click on the websites that I’m already familiar with, because I trust them. However once in a while when I’m searching on a topic/product that I know nothing of, usually I will open up 5 tabs of the first few results and go on from there. My immediate filter is the layout and relevancy of the website content. The minute I don’t find any information/other keywords I’m searching for, I would close the tab. So I think companies need to not just ensure that they are using the right keywords, but that the landing pages for those said keywords must be relevant, updated and informational. If not, that would be a keyword optimization put to waste.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Anita,

      Thank you for your thought-provoking comment!

      I agree that Adwords Keywords Planner is a very useful tool. It enables organisations to enhance the effectiveness of their online marketing programs, which contributes to the growing success of their business. Moreover, because it is very easy to use, many companies can benefit from it, especially SMEs. Google customers also benefit from a more effective use of keywords, as it helps them find what they are looking for more rapidly. And, of course, if customers are satisfied with the service Google provides them, it is more likely that the number of customers and frequency of usage of the search engine will increase. Therefore, helping companies choose appropriate keywords is in the interest of these businesses, but also customers and Google itself.

      My own experience with search engines is very similar to yours. I think that a lot of people (like you and me!) tend to click on the websites they already know. This can be a limitation to the benefits of using keywords for SMEs. Despite being displayed in the top search results for a relevant keyword, Internet users may still prefer to open the websites of large corporations because they are familiar with these brands. I also agree that there is no benefit from using irrelevant keywords as Internet users will close the page as soon as they realise that the website is not relevant to their query. Businesses should aim at attracting the right visitors to their website rather than merely increasing the number of views.

      Magaly

      Like

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