Choosing the right keywords for your pages provides a strong foundation for almost every other task related to improving search results. Your searchers won’t find your pages if those pages don’t include the right keywords in the page title, body content, description metatag, and keywords metatags, among others. The following tips will help guide you to selecting the right keywords for each of your pages and help your searchers accomplish their goals.
- Segment searchers into target groups. Think about who you’re trying to reach with your page. Different groups of searchers might use different search terms—or require different pages—when looking for an answer to their questions. Are you helping line employees or managers, your internal staff or customers, marketing managers or IT professionals? Each of these groups—and countless others—will approach search differently. Do your best to understand the needs of the searcher and, most importantly, what questions they will ask to solve their problems. This step will help you throughout the process of optimizing your pages.
- Review your web analytics. Your website can keep track of every search keyword that searchers enter, so you can see the most popular ones. For more details on how to find out the search keywords that are being used the most, see “How Do I Use SearchBox?”
- Brainstorm terms from your searcher’s perspective. Once you’ve determined the appropriate segments for your content and reviewed the terms already driving traffic, begin to brainstorm additional terms searchers might be using to find your content. Your goal is to understand your searcher’s intent and select keywords that match their needs. For instance, managers might search for “coaching underperforming employees” while employees may instead search for “how do I deal with my boss?”
- Organize keywords by topic. Continue to review your analytics and build out your list of keywords over time. Pay attention to how your content is organized, ensuring you have a separate page for each distinct topic. As your content grows, you might need to split your content into multiple pages, with each addressing a single set of keywords, such as “HR Policies,” “HR Policies: Employee Reviews,” “HR Policies: Paid Vacation Time,” “HR Policies: Unpaid Leave” and so on.
- Ask searchers which words they use. Finally, you might use online or offline surveys to ask searchers which keywords they use when looking for your topic. Word usage often varies and evolves as searchers become more familiar with a given topic, or as new individuals begin learning about your topic. Developing a periodic survey that questions searchers about the keywords they most often use can provide valuable insights into the words your page must emphasize.
Your searchers rely on simple keywords, sometimes as little as a single word, to find what they’re looking for. And while those keywords have increased in length over time, your page will not appear if you don’t match the keywords your searchers use when looking for your content. Ensure that you’re continually reviewing your ranking for specific words and that those words match what your searchers actually look for. Use segmentation, analytics, brainstorming, and surveys to ensure you’re meeting the needs of your searchers—and improving how well your page matches your searcher’s intent.