What are Keywords?
A keyword describes the text an individual types into a search engine to find what they are looking for. For example somebody in London looking for a Plumber may type in “Plumber London” but just as equally they may type “Plumber Dulwich” or “24 hr Plumber”. For each business type there will be numerous combinations of text that could be used to get a similar search result. The search engines use this text to determine which pages would most appropriately suit what is being requested.
To help target your site to attract visitors it is important to identify early on what your businesses main keywords are. First of all brainstorm as many short descriptive phrases you can think of to describe your business. Back this up by asking colleagues, friends and family what they would type if they were looking for your product or service. You can also find some really good tools on the internet to help you get together your list. Use this list to decide which of the keywords are more likely to bring you the most traffic with the aim of targeting these. If you provide a wide range of products or services ideally you need to do this for each of your pages or areas of business.
Keywords and content
First and foremost any content on your site should be directed towards your users. It should be relevant and informative. While creating your content use your chosen keywords in your text, but only where it is appropriate to do so. Do not be tempted to litter your text with keywords. This practice is known as keyword stuffing, it is frowned upon by the search engines and can cause your site to be penalised. The search engines will use the content of your pages to help determine how relevant the page is to the search query. If the user’s keywords are naturally found on your page you will have a higher chance of ranking for that keyword.
What is Meta Information?
The phrase “Meta Tag” relates to the way in which the keyword information is displayed within the computer code of your website. HTML code which is the backbone of the internet uses “Tags” to tell computers reading it how that information should be displayed. Whereas the word Meta relates to the keyword information itself such as
There are three main aspects to a sites Meta information, the Meta Title, Meta Description and Meta keywords.
Meta Title – is short description of around 65 characters which describes the page. Ideally this should contain one or two of the main keywords on that page, and your company name e.g. “Qualified London plumber, 24hour callout Plumbers R US”. If the search engines feel your title accurately represents the content of your page then it will use it as the display title in the search results. Although you can’t guarantee your title will be the one displayed, by making it highly relevant you greatly increase your chances. Either way it is still a metric used in determining overall relevance for the search query.
Meta Description – is an extension of your title. It allows you to give more information on the content of the page using around 140 characters. Remember when creating your description that this is what will initially be seen by potential visitors. The text should entice searchers to click on your link and visit your site. Look to include one or two keywords where relevant and provide as much information as space allows. For example if you are a plumber and your initial callout if free consider using this in the description to get people interested.
Meta Keywords – are a comma separated list of all the keywords relevant to your webpage. When search engines first became popular they used the keyword Meta to determine the relevance of a page. So if a client searched for “plumber free callout” and you had listed it as one of your keywords then there was a good chance that your site would be included in the listings. However over time this has been heavily abused by spammers. As a result Google has confirmed that they no longer use it to determine relevance of a page or website. As a result some companies no longer include a Meta keyword list when building their website. The website community is split as to whether or not to include keyword lists, mainly as there are many smaller search engines that may still use them. Whether you include a list or not is up to you and worth considering. if you are unsure providing a list of relevant highly targeted keywords will not harm your site. However you may not get any benefit out of the time it would have taken to construct the list.
There is clearly a theme to using keywords and Meta information when building your website and that is relevance. If at any point you are unsure as to whether what you are doing is right, try to look at your site from a client’s perspective. With competition growing it’s the only way they can keep individuals using their engine. If your site gives users what they want then the search engines will view your site favourably and reward you with better rankings.