Although keywords are not the end-all-be-all of search engines optimization. They do play a crucial role in getting your site noticed and indexed by Google. Although it seems that the big search engines are placing more emphasis on off-site content and “authority” than they have in the past, on-site content is still important, and that’s where keywords come in.
Placing keywords on your site will help Google and the other search engines classify and categorize you. And it helps immensely in matching your website content to relevant searches. Basically, your on-site content serves as a baseline for all other attributes about your site that Google measures. So, on-site SEO is still important. But it is only effective if you can choose the right keywords.
Many first-time web designers or companies that are trying to put together a website themselves don’t have much of an idea of what SEO really entails. Most have the outdated idea that if they just choose some great keywords and stuff as many of them as they can into a website, that they’ll rise to the number one spot on Google. Keyword stuffing as an outdated tactic, and one that can land you in hot water with search engines. Keywords are important, but only if you choose the right ones.
That being said, just because you have a product and you know the words you would use to search for it doesn’t mean anyone else would use those same words. For example, a little while back I did some work for a company that created software to let parents edit out the “bad” parts of movies for their kids. The keywords they had come up with keywords like “movie editing” and “edit movies.” Well, when you do a search for either of those terms you come up with a lot of professional editing sites and products—products and information that is extremely different from what the client’s product was. With a little research, we found that people who search for “edited movies” are actually looking for the kind of service the company provided. It’s a small change, but one that can make a big difference in their SEO and search engine rank.
So the keywords you use should be determined by what people are already searching for, not what they should be searching for. If you can find out the kinds of words people are using to find websites similar to yours, those are the keywords you should be using.
But here’s the rub. What if you are in a highly competitive keyword space? If you are trying to capitalize on the same keywords that 1000 other sites are trying to get ranked for, you might have little chance of ever getting noticed, especially if you are just starting out. So, you can either plug away at those same keywords and try to get noticed through sheer force of will or you can change the game and create your own keywords.
Joe Pulizzi recently posted an interesting case study on an SEO copywriting blog dealing with creating your own keywords. In his case, he was trying to get ranked for certain keywords that were very popular—keywords that all the big websites had already been using to get ranked. So he decided to change the way he talked about his company and the services he provided. Instead of trying to use the same keywords as everyone else, he worked hard at changing the way his services were viewed and described. As a result, he began to change the way people thought about his services, and the terms he used began to be more widely accepted. Over time, Google searches for his new keywords increased and searches for the other keywords decreased, giving him a huge advantage in the search engine ranks.
Of course, if you choose to redefine your keywords as a strategy, you will have an uphill battle, but a battle that is no harder than trying in vain to get ranked for the same keywords everyone else is using. Redefining your SEO strategy by creating your own keywords takes guts and determination, as well as the ability to evangelize your newly named profession or services. However, when you make a bet like this, it can pay off very well in the long run.
If you are struggling to get noticed behind all the noise of the competitive keywords you are using. Maybe it’s time to rethink your SEO tactics and try something new. Going out on a limb to change the way people think about your product may be hard, but it could result in a huge benefit later on.
Brad Anderson is the Founder and CEO of Fruition. Brad’s focus is supporting Fruition’s team to enable sustainable growth and excellent client satisfaction (EBITDA growth). With a strong statistical background, Brad built Fruition’s in-house software that is used to manage client success.
President & Founder, Tru Family Dental
Marketing, Dependable Cleaners
President & Founder, Family Travel Association