What are your customers searching for?
Optimise for the wrong keywords and all your efforts will be wasted. Don’t guess — know what your customers are searching for. To get listed correctly in search engines each page of your site that you want listed must be optimised to the best of your ability. Since the keywords that you decide to target will be used throughout the optimisation process choosing the right keywords is essential. If you choose the wrong keywords you will not be found in the search engines. If you are not found in the search engines how will anyone find your site?
Since the keywords you choose to optimise your pages with are so important we have put together some tips to help you make sure that you make the right choices. You should use these tips when selecting keywords for each page that you plan to submit to search engines.
1) Think “specific keyword phrases” not “keywords”. Why? Due to the extreme amount of competition for general terms in the search engines, if your keyword phrases are too general it is very unlikely you will rank well in the search engines. You stand a far better chance of ranking well for specific phrases where there is less competition. The resulting traffic, since it is more highly targeted, should also be much higher quality too.
Here’s an example for a site selling shoes:
Much Too General
2. men’s shoes
3. women’s shoes
1. imported italian shoes
2. men’s leather deck shoes
3. women’s aerobic trainers
2) Try to think like your target audience. What would they search for when looking for the page you are optimising? It is very easy to fall into the trap of coming up with a short list of what YOU would search for, but what about everyone else? They will not necessarily use the same keywords as you. You should try to come up with as many keyword phrases as you can think of that relate to the page you are optimising. Try asking a few friends and family what they would search for when searching for a site like yours.
3) Check out your competition for ideas. Do a search using keywords that you already know you want to target and click through on the top sites that come up. Once on the site view the source HTML code and look at the keywords they have in their meta tags – this should give you many more ideas. Make sure to only use keywords that relate to YOUR site or page. To view the HTML code simply click the ‘View’ at the top of your web browser then select ‘Source’, or ‘Page Source’.
4) You should develop a list of keyword phrases, following the tips on this page, for each page that you optimise for the search engines.
Optimising Your Images “alt” Attribute
The images on your page can help your listings too. Each image on your page can include a keyword phrase or two as an ‘alt’ tag that relates to the image. An ‘alt’ tage is the the name label that pops up when your cursor hovers over an image. This text also shows up to help those that may have their images turned off when visiting your site. This does not work for all engines, but it certainly does not hurt, so we recommend you give it a try where you can.
Tag limits: We do not recommend using more than a brief sentence to describe an image.
• Be sure to use the keyword phrases that you also used in the copy of your page, title tag, meta description, and other tags.
• Don’t try to squeeze a large number of keywords into the “alt” attribute. We recommend using no more than 2-3 per image.
• Describe the image – do not just list keywords.
• The “alt” attribute is also a good place for misspellings and plural keyword phrases that you may not have used elsewhere.