Keyword Phrases: What you need to know for Business SEO

What is a Keyword Phrase?

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A keyword phrase is a 1-4 word phrase that a potential customer might type into their web search in order to find your business. This may or may not be a technical or industry term, depending on who is doing the searching. While an engineer at an OEM may be typing in a specific part number or industry term, a supply chain manager might type in a more general term to try to find the same thing. Thus, it is important when choosing keyword phrases to know not just who your customers are, but also who within the company is doing the sourcing. Do you want your website to target the engineer or the supply chain manager? This decision will be fundamental to choosing keyword phrases.

Choosing Effective Keyword Phrases

Choosing keyword phrases that are going to generate quality traffic for your website is fundamental for search engine optimization and can be overwhelming. In general, there are 4 things to keep in mind when selecting keyword phrases:

  1. Is the keyword phrase relevant to your business?Choose keyword phrases that make sense for your business and the customers you are targeting. These can include names of products, product numbers, specifications, industry terms, non-industry terms, names of processes, and services. Be aware that what you call something may not be what your customer calls it. Often a given product, service or process will have more than one name! This can sometimes mean having two or even three keyword phrases that mean the same thing. Optimizing for different names of things can help more of your potential customers find you on the internet.
  2. Does the keyword phrase actually get searched?Often you will be able to identify many, many keyword phrases that are relevant to your business. However, it is often the case that the majority of these keyword phrases are not often searched by customers. After all, it doesn’t help you to be the #1 result for a keyword phrase nobody searches. There are tools that can tell us how many times per month a given keyword phrase is searched. When optimizing a page on your website, you will always get more value for your effort if you choose keyword phrases that your customers are using in their searches.
  3. How competitive  is the keyword phrase?Every time you do a web search, search engines such as Google and Bing will tell you how many results they have pulled up for the keyword phrase you typed in. More often than not and depending on how general the keyword phrase is, there will be thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of results. Each result equals one web page and there may be more than one web page per web site. Every one of these web page results can be thought of as a competitor for that keyword phrase. It is generally a good idea to give preference to keyword phrases with less competition, because it will be easier for your website to get on the first page of the search results if it is not having to compete with so many other web pages.
  4. Would you use this keyword phrase in your printed materials?Always keep in mind that in order to optimize a web page for a given keyword phrase, that keyword phrase will have to appear in multiple places on that webpage. This means that customers will be reading it and it is going to be part of the overall picture your website paints of your business. With this in mind, it is generally a good idea not to use misspelled words or phrases with nonsensical grammar even if the numbers show that those keyword phrases get searched. If you would not include the phrase in your printed brochures and sales materials, it should not be included on your website either.

Most importantly, don’t lose sight of the main purpose for search engine optimization and keyword phrases: to bring new customers into your website through web searching. This is why you want to make sure the keywords are relevant, searched, low-competition and represent your business well.

You Have Selected Your Keyword Phrases. Now What?

Once you have identified the keyword phrases that are going to use to optimize your website, you will have to decide which keyword phrase should be used to optimize which page. Usually you will only want to optimize for 1 or 2 keyword phrases on a given page of your website. If you try to optimize a web page with too many keywords, the search engines may think you are “keyword stuffing” and disregard all of your efforts.

Keeping all of these things in mind will help you choose effective keyword phrases that will help to drive new customers to your website through web searches. My next blog post is all about HOW to optimize your web page with your chosen keyword phrase or phrases: Optimizing your Business Website With Keyword Phrases

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