The importance of keywords to search engine optimization

By Collette Easton

For search engine optimization (SEO), keywords are the connector, the relationship between you and your prospects, established and indexed by the search engine. Users search on words or phrases, and, if your site is well optimized, your pages turn up in the search results.
 
The starting point for SEO is having a clear and thorough understanding of which keywords are relevant and will perform for your site.
 
Common mistakes
 
The mistakes often made at the start of the SEO process:
  • Not thinking broadly enough about which keywords could be effective.
  • Selecting keywords that people don’t actually search for.
  • Being unaware of which search terms are most popular among customers.
 
It also is important to remember that the search engines are working on behalf of the end users, not for the Web site owners, and will do everything they can to recognize when they are being sold to. Your content needs to be engaging and relevant in order to guarantee returning relevant traffic.
 
Keywords
 
Following are points worth remembering:
  • The classic SEO approach is to target specific keyword phrases and optimize pages on your site to appear high in the search rankings for them. This is the sensible first step; ensure you are targeting the best keyword phrases by selecting those based on relevance and popularity.
  • Put yourself in the place of potential clients and think how they would search for you, rather than what you want to be found for.
  • High rankings for specific keyword phrases only will translate into traffic if they are actually searched on.
  • Another dimension is to optimize pages for keyword searches you do not target, or miscellaneous keyword searches that are nevertheless relevant to your site. The rationale is that people are searching on all kinds of phrases that, individually, are searched infrequently, but cumulatively, can add up to a very significant amount of traffic.
  • Expanding a site by adding new pages is an effective way to improve ranking and visibility in search engines.
 
This is the second of three extracts from the PracticeWEB SEO for Accountants Best Practice Guide.
 
About the author:
Collette Easton is head of the new search engine marketing division at our sister site, PracticeWEB.
 
Reprinted from our sister site, Accountingweb.co.uk.
 
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