Keyword Analysis Part 9 of 12
This is the part nine in the series that is designed to guide you through finding the best keywords for your small business. Last time we discussed how you can Learn From Your Competitors to expand your keyword list today is all about organizing.
Now let’s dive into part 9…
How To Organize Your Keyword List
As you’re assembling your keyword list, it’s a good idea to keep them in a spreadsheet or other software that allows for easy shuffling and sorting. It’s worth mentioning here that there are paid keyword analysis research tools that will do this part for you, sorting your keywords according to number of searches, buying words versus information words, and relative competition. Google “keyword tools” or visit forums dedicated to search engine optimization to find the best available tools.
If you use a free tool, you’ll need to manually assemble your list. The information you want to include with your list is the keyword itself, the number of searches performed, the relative competition (use a scale of 1 to 10, or whatever makes sense to you), and the intent of the searcher for each phrase (buy versus information).
Next, go through your list and see if you can discern any patterns. You’ll probably spot one or two primary words that will define your entire business. These will be high level, one or two word combinations, like “weight loss” or “dog training.” These keywords will be the number one keyword for your entire site.
You’ll probably also find several secondary phrases. These will be longer, and more specific than the primary phrase. Look for phrases like “dog crate training” and “exercises for weight loss.” These keywords will represent the categories on your site.
For example, if your primary keyword is “plus size clothing” then your categories might include “plus size blouses” and “plus size lingerie.”
Finally, you’ll begin to see the lowest level of keywords – the post or article level phrases. Sticking with our plus size example, you might see phrases like “plus size baby-doll gowns” or “plus size blue silk button-down blouse.” These low-level phrases are the ones you will actually build your content around, whether your content is blog posts, videos, or physical products.
Remember, these low-level keywords will have far fewer searches than the high level phrases, but the conversion rate, or number of buyers versus browsers, improves as your keywords become more specific.
A good example of this is actual product number keywords, like “Olympus E30 12.3MP Digital SLR,” which would tend to convert extremely well. People who are conducting this kind of focused search are very close to a buying decision, so even though there aren’t many searches, the ones who are searching are looking to buy.
Using Keywords Effectively
First, we’ll take a look at the big picture: site organization. We’ve already talked a bit about the difference between high level and low level keywords, now let’s take a look at the actual site structure. You might find it helpful to use a mindmap ( I like MindeNode and there’s free version) or other graphical software to visualize your site.
Start with your primary keyword at the top. This is the page from which all other pages will branch. If you can imagine an organizational chart for a company, with the CEO at the top, the company officers beneath him, then middle managers, and then supervisors, that’s what your keyword chart will look like.
To go back to our plus size store example, you might have something like this:
1. Plus Size Clothing
a. Plus Size Blouses
b. Plus Size Bottoms
i. Plus Size Capris
1. Adi Designs Women’s Plus Size Striped Dress
2. Women’s Plus Size Merona Brown Cargo Pants
ii. Plus Size Shorts
iii. Plus Size Pants
Using Keywords on Your Website
Now that you see how the site is structured around keywords, let’s take a look at where your keywords are used within the site for maximum value. (This information is mostly for background, so you know the the important parts of site structure. If you use a platform like WordPress for your site this “behind the scenes” stuff is pretty easy – and we’ll be going over it anyway.)
The most important tag on your website is the title tag. That’s where the search engine spiders look when they want a quick overview of what your site is all about. It’s also the clickable part of a site’s listing in Google, and the text that appears across the top of your browser window when you’re looking at a website.
To use your keywords in your title tag, place them in the header portion of your site’s code, like this: <title>Women’s Plus Size Clothing</title>. Depending on the platform your site is built on, you may need to edit the source code directly, or you may be able to use a plugin, such as All in One SEO for WordPress.
It’s important to note here that keyword stuffing in your title tag (or anywhere else) can be detrimental to your search engine optimization plans. Try to avoid writing title tags that say things like “plus size clothing for women, women’s plus size clothing, plus size fashions, women’s clothing retail” because the search engines, and your human readers, will see it for what it is – an attempt to get the most mileage out of the title tag.
Instead, craft a useful, descriptive title tag that makes sense to all your readers – both human and bot.
Heading tags are the next most important use for your keywords, and just like your site structure, they have a hierarchy. Tags are denoted in HTML by the use of the greater-than (>) and less-than (<) symbols, like this: <h1>.
- The <h1> tag is the top level, and is generally reserved for the site name.
- The <h2> tag is used for post or article titles.
- The <h3> and lower are used for subheadings within an article.
You’ll usually notice that the text inside heading tags is larger, bolder, or a different color from the surrounding text. That doesn’t have any bearing on the effectiveness of your keywords, it’s just for human eyes. The important part is what’s going on in the source code, where the tags themselves live.
To use heading tags, you simply surround your keyword with the appropriate opening and closing tag, like this: <h1>top-level keyword</h1>. That tells the search engines that your “top-level keyword” is what your site is all about.
Another important tag is the meta-description tag. This appears in your site’s header, with the title tag, and tells searchers what your page is about. While using keywords here doesn’t have a direct bearing on your search engine placement, it can make the difference between a searcher clicking on your site or the next one in line.
Imagine you’ve searched for “WordPress title tag plugin” to find a way to easily change the title tags on your site. In the search results you see these two site descriptions:
Website Number One
you can create relevant alt and title tags automatically for all images. … http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/img- title-removal/ …
Website Number Two
Using a WordPress title tag plugin can really reduce the amount of time you spend coding your site.
The description for the first site was sucked from the page by Google, and is based on the keyword you searched for. Somewhere on that site Google found the words you looked for, and constructed a description to match. It’s not very descriptive, and of little use when it comes to figuring out what the page is really about.
The description for the second page was hand-crafted by the site owner. It makes sense, is a complete thought, and clearly indicates what the page is about.
Which one would you be more likely to click?
Image tags, specifically the <alt> attribute, are often overlooked as a valuable use of keywords. It’s too bad, too, because the search engines index these tags just like they do the text on the page, so there’s a lot of room for savvy site owners to improve their rankings just by taking a few seconds to include the <alt> attribute whenever they add a picture to a page.
If you’ve ever noticed images showing up in the search results when you look for information in Google, the <alt> attribute is why. While your image might not make sense to a searcher, especially if it’s a picture of your dog that you just added to a blog post for color, sometimes it will. In the case of an e-commerce site, for example, using the <alt> attribute for product pictures is essential.
It’s Homework Time
Okey-dokey, we’re in the home stretch. Yeah! Get your keyword list and apply the concepts that we just went over. If you need to go back and do the initial research it OK, sometimes a keyword or two might not seem quite right. Download the MindeNode tool to help you or do it in “outline” form – whatever works for you.
In the next part of the keyword analysis series we’re going to talk about writing great articles for your site.
Do you organize your keyword analysis a different way? Let me know in the Comments section below.