Search engine optimization isn’t an exact science. Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other major search engines haven’t revealed the algorithms they use to rank results, and it’s likely they are changing them all the time, improving them and also trying to find ways to combat people who are trying to “game” the system. But one way you can improve your search engine rank is to pay attention to your keywords.
First, what are keywords? Think about how you use a search engine. If you were searching for a good place to eat in Los Angeles, you might type in “restaurant in Los Angeles.” Google then goes out and searches for sites that feature these keywords, or the entire phrase, frequently or prominently on its pages.
So what if you owned a restaurant in the area, but you thought it would be fancier to call it an “eatery”? It’s likely you would feature this word frequently on your site, using it in headlines and links. But, even though it’s a synonym for restaurant, it’s unlikely Google would show your website as a result if someone typed in “restaurant in Los Angeles.” So someone would have to type in “eatery in Los Angeles” to even have a chance of seeing your site. And what do you think the likelihood is of that?
Of course, it’s easy to guess that people would be more likely to search for the word “restaurant” than “eatery” when looking for some place to eat, but for other words and phrases, it’s harder to figure out on your own. That’s where the Google Ad Words Keyword Tool comes in.
This tool is designed to help you to pick out keywords for placing an ad on Google, but the information it reveals about people’s search habits can be invaluable for simply writing content.
When you type in a keyword, it will show you how many people are searching for that phrase every month globally and locally. It will also suggest keyword ideas and share data for them. This allows you to compare ideas that you have. Are more people searching for “cheap airfare” or “discounted airplane tickets”?
The Keyword Tool also shows you the “Competition” which is how many other people are trying to use that keyword to place a Google Ad. This can give you a good idea of how many people are trying to get the traffic you are after. If you see that one keyword is highly sought after, it might be better to focus on another one even if it has slightly less searches.
Taking a few minutes to do this before posting a new blog or launching a new site can make a big difference for your web traffic. Search engines are still the number one way that people locate content on the web, so make it as easy as possible for them to find you when sorting through those search results.