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How to Choose Effective Keyword Phrases for Search Engines

To attract the right visitors to your Web site, you need to use keyword phrases instead of just single keywords. This helps search engines match users to results that are more relevant to them. Just like a keyword is a single word used as a search query, a keyword phrase is two or more words typed as a search query. For example, Poughkeepsie classic car customization is a good example of a keyword phrase.

Search engine users find what they are looking for by searching for specific keywords or keyword phrases and choosing the most relevant result. You want your site to have as many opportunities to be included in those search results as possible. In other words, you should try to use every keyword phrase that you think someone might search for in order to find your site.

Usually when people do a search, they type in a keyword phrase instead of just a single keyword. Fifty-eight percent of search queries are three words or longer. So having keyword phrases on your site increases your chance of appearing higher on the page rank (because more keywords match the search query). The click-through rate (how many people click your listing to go to your site) also increases, due to more words matching the search query. Your conversion rate (how many visitors actually purchase something, sign up, or take whatever action is appropriate on your site) also increases because you’re more likely to have what the user is looking for.

Search engine users are becoming more savvy as time goes on, and they have learned that a single keyword is probably going to be too broad of a search to return the results they're looking for. A good example is what happens when you do a search for security. You might be in need of a security guard service, but doing a quick search on Google with the keyword security gives you results as varied as the Wikipedia article on security, the Department of Homeland Security, the Social Security Administration, and many listings for computer security software. Using the keyword phrase security guard service Poughkeepsie, on the other hand, turns up map results listing local businesses, two local business sites for hiring security guards, and a couple of news articles about security services in Poughkeepsie.

You can see why it’s a good idea to have proper keyword phrases, and not just single keywords, on your Web pages. Your keyword phrase Poughkeepsie classic car customization could be used as a heading for your paragraphs, placed in the Heading tags (HTML tags used for paragraph headings) or as the title of your Web page (using the Title tag in the HTML code).

It is best to use simple, everyday language that searchers are likely to type in. As a general rule, you should include multiple uses of each keyword phrase, enough to be prominent on the page without forcing your keywords into your content. You want it to mention each keyword a couple of times while making sure that it still sounds natural. Additionally, you should avoid using only general phrases; be sure to include detailed descriptive words as well. If your keywords are too general, they are likely to be up against too much competition from others targeting the same keywords. However, if your keywords are too specific, fewer people search for those terms, resulting in fewer potential visitors. It’s a balancing act, and the rules aren’t hard and fast. You need to find the right mix for your site by finding the keywords that bring traffic that actually converts — in other words, you want to put out the bait that brings in the right catch.

When putting keywords in the content of your site, make sure the words surrounding them are also good, searchable keywords. For example, if your business dealt with customizing older cars, you might use keyword phrases like this:

  • Classic car customization in Poughkeepsie

  • Reupholstery for classic Mustangs

  • Chrome, wheels, and paint for classic automobiles

  • New York State classic cars

These can all be used as headings for paragraphs or as links to their own pages. Remember, search engines also look for keywords in hypertext links (where clicking a word or phrase takes you to another page within the Web site) within the page, and using a search phrase within the hyperlink leads to a higher search rank for that phrase.

You should also still include stop words (very common words such as the, a, to, if, who, and so forth, which serve to connect ideas but don't add much in the way of meaning to your content) in your search phrases. Google had removed stop words from its indexes for several years, but they now use them to perform much more precise searches. Plus, you don’t want your Web site text to sound like machine language — “Come shop Classic Cars customization all your needs Poughkeepsie.” Instead, you want your Web site to sound like English; your true readers are real people, after all. You also don’t want to give the search engines the impression that you’re keyword stuffing; they’re expecting natural-sounding text, which means full sentences.

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