If you’re new to online marketing and you’re trying to learn more about how to drive website traffic, you will hear the terms SEO and Keywords often. So, let’s take a minute to unpack what these terms really mean and how you can start using them to inform your website content. Since the online marketing learning curve is fairly steep, this is a great place to start if you want a firm grasp of the basics!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Since Google, Bing and Yahoo! became the go-to methods for people to find everything from the latest trends to the best local restaurants, getting your business listed in search results has been part of any modern marketing plan. Any steps you or your marketers take to make your business show up in the top search results falls under the category of SEO.
SEO strategies focus on increasing search visibility (your current rank in search results) through a variety of methods. One simple method is to update your website’s Title, Meta Description, and Heading tags with phrasing that contains your target keywords (we’ll talk about keywords below).
Another is to update your website’s on-page text to fit the same keyword strategy. Going further, you can start a blog, use social media to attract links and traffic, and get your website listed in relevant online directories.
Want to learn more about blogging? Take a look at our article on how compelling blog posts will kick-start you small business marketing plan.
Remember: the goal of SEO is to make your business more visible to potential customers. A good strategy starts with knowing who your ideal customers are, and builds on the data you collect over time.
What are Keywords?
Put simply: a keyword is a word or phrase that you use on your website so that it will show up in search results.
Search engines browse and index all of your website’s content, HTML tags, links, and more before potential customers type anything into the search bar. Then, when a potential customer is searching for you, the search engine makes a decision about how you will rank. So, if you want to show up on the first page of search results for, say, “Pleasanton Website Design,” you want that phrase to appear regularly throughout your website.
Context is also important for your keywords. SEO used to require flooding your website with the right keywords, but search engines have become smarter. Rather than listing a series of keywords on each page or forcing your content into awkward repetition, make sure there is enough useful content on your website that potential customers will read it! Recent trends suggest that usefulness and user engagement are what search engines are evaluating more often, especially with mobile interaction.
Keywords vs. Search Terms
While a keyword is the phrase you use to attract potential customers who are using search engines, a search term is actual group of words your potential customers are typing into the search bar.
It might seem like a subtle distinction at first, but consider our previous example. If you are trying to target the keyword, “Pleasanton Web Design,” you’re going to show up when people use all kinds of search terms, like, “Best Pleasanton web design company,” or, “Small business Pleasanton web design company.”
Because the search terms are generally only partial matches to your keywords, the context surrounding your keywords becomes even more important, as do the links to and from your website. Search engines try to figure out how relevant you are to a potential customer’s search term, so the real goal is to create high quality content. If you know your target persona and have some insights into what they will search for, you’re off to a great start!
We hope you found these SEO and keyword basics useful! Are you looking to work on your marketing strategy and web presence? Let’s get in touch.