How to use SEO & Keywords on your website to Improve your Search Engine Rank and direct more traffic to your site

How to make a Keyword List for SEO

What are keywords & key phrases?

Any words or phrases that are on your site can be keywords or key phrases. However, the best keywords are the "search terms" — the words and phrases that your customers type into a search engine (e.g. Google, Yahoo, MSN) when they are looking for a business like yours on the Internet.

These search terms are the keywords and key phrases for your site.

These terms may be services or products, specific product names, location - city, region, state, country, descriptive adjectives. Some people type in the company name, web site name, or domain name if they know or can guess it.

Why are keywords important?

  • Search engines use the words that are on your Web site to determine how well your site matches the search terms entered by searchers.
  • If the words that describe your business are not on your Web site, searchers looking for a business like yours will not find you!

How to develop a keyword list; where to get keyword ideas?

  1. An easy way to start your keyword list is to ask your customers, friends, or family what search terms they would use to find a business like yours. Also look at competitor sites to see what keywords they are using*.

    *I am NOT suggesting you copy content from your competitor sites. First, copied content will not help your search rank. Second, it is a violation of copyright law to copy content (words and images) from other sites. And, third, it's just plain wrong.
  2. Make a list of words and phrases that closely describe your products and/or services. There are often several phrases that describe the same thing. See if you can come up with at least 50 to start. Include:
    • services
    • products both categories and specific product names
    • general terms (e.g. "lumber")
    • specific terms (e.g. "Douglas Fir, Cedar, Redwood")
    • your location - neighborhood, city, region, county, state, country
  3. Test your keywords
    Enter your search terms into Google, Yahoo Search, or your favorite search engines and see what results you get. Are you finding your competition? If so, you are on the right track.
  4. While you are there, check out keywords on your competitors' websites. They may be using keywords you haven't thought of.

Know your market — an example

A smart website owner knows his customers and what they are looking for.

As a web developer in Rogue River, my target market is small businesses in Southern Oregon. My customers may use search terms like: web design, business web sites, ecommerce site development, get the idea.

I also know my target customers are looking for a website developer in our area so I will include nearby cities - Grants Pass, Medford, Ashland; our region - Southern Oregon, Rogue Valley. I might include the counties - Josephine County & Jackson County, as well as focus on the whole state - Oregon. These are the geographic targets I've chosen. Your geographic targeting may be smaller or larger.

A single searcher won't use all these keywords, of course. But including all of them widens the number of potential searchers who will find my site.

What to do next?

Once you've created your keyword list, you are ready to incorporate them into your site. In other words, you are ready to optimize your site for search engines.

See related articles:

A Street Web can help you develop your keyword list

We'll help you to build your keyword list, then make sure that your search terms are effectively integrated into your web site for maximum results.

At A Street Web Design, we take care of the details so you don't have to!

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A Street Web Design offers custom web design in Oregon's Rogue Valley in Southern Oregon:
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