So you’ve finally decided to take the plunge and put your small business on the internet with a new website! You’ve found someone to design your website that can give your small business the individual attention it requires at a price it can afford. FANTASTIC! You’ve written the text, gathered your graphics and ready to go, right? Almost.
There is more to being seen on the web than having a website. You need a website that is also seen by the search engines. How can you better your chance of that happening? Design your website with KEYWORDS in mind.
For the purpose of this article, our business will be a small farm near Portland, Maine that trains and sells horses.
What are KEYWORDS? Keywords are a list of words that your potential customers or visitors might use put into the search line on Google, Yahoo, or any of the other search engines. Our horse business in Maine might use these keywords: horses, horses, sales, training, farm, Portland, Maine … you get the idea. The person designing your website should be able to help you with this step after reviewing your copy, too.
What is a meta tag for KEYWORDS? A meta tag is an html code in which you place keywords you’d like to be seen by search engines. Although search engines like Google don’t look at meta tags any longer, some search engines do still recognize them. All web designers know about meta tags and should be able to easily insert them for you.
Where should you use KEYWORDS? Use keywords throughout your website - in the page titles, headlines, and body of your text. Link some of the keywords in the body text to other pages in your website. Search engines look for the frequency of these words within the website, so incorporate them into your design as often as possible – but makes sure it makes sense to use these words. After all, our Maine horse farm business wouldn’t want a sentence to end up like this: “Our horse sales and training farm in Portland, Maine sells and trains horses from Maine and all over New England.” Yes, a bit much. But you get the idea.
How much should I use the KEYWORDS? Your website will benefit if you make small adjustments to incorporate a 2%-5% density of keywords. It’s harder to accomplish than you think without impacting the flow of information or design of your website. For instance, a page with 200 words would need to incorporate their keywords 6 times to reach a density of 3%. Keep in mind that search engines recognize when a site has overused keywords and may consider it “spam”, so find a good balance. There are a lot of good density analysis tools on the web.
What if my KEYWORD is a phrase? If you are promoting something specific – like horse sales and training near Portland, Maine – hitting a reasonable density of the entire phrase may be difficult. Try breaking up the phrase into single words and use them individually throughout your website. Focus on one word per page, if that helps you write more clearly. You may also want to consider breaking the phrase into several shorter pieces and asking for these to be incorporated into the design of your website as a page title, a link, or a headline. For example, our small farm business could break down into three pages or three links: “Maine Horse Sales”, “Maine Horse Training”, and “Our Portland, Maine Location”.
A final word on KEYWORDS – Although keywords are an important aspect of being seen by search engines, it is a small piece of the big picture. Keep in mind why you want to design a website in the first place: to attract new customers! Regardless of the number of times you use your keywords, if the text is unclear, doesn’t make sense, or doesn’t pertain to the topic at hand, the reader will click away from your site, leaving you no better off than you were before. To avoid this, remember to WRITE FOR THE READER, not the just the search engine. Keep the readers’ interest as your primary focus. Work the keywords into the design and layout of your website where they fit appropriately. Work together with the person you’ve hired to design your website and you’ll be on your way to success on the web!
(NOTE: What density do you think the word “Maine” has in this article? According to the live keyword analysis link in this article, only 1.9%.)