How to Research Keywords and Optimize Your Website

Keyword Research
Keyword Research

Step 1: Do your keyword research!

Search engines list your website based on many things, but choosing your keywords based on what people are ACTUALLY searching for (vs. guessing) is the start of this process.

  1. To research your keywords we recommend you first login to your gmail account, get an Adwords account, and then go to this link AdWords account in order to use Google’s Keyword Planner tool.
  2. Once logged in/signed up, click on Tools in the top menu and then choose Keyword Planner from the pulldown submenu. Click the first option to “Search for new keyword and ad group ideas” and enter into the first field ONLY what you THINK someone might possibly type in to search for your products/services. Don’t bother filling in anything else and scroll to bottom of page to click Get Ideas button.
  3. On next page, be sure to click the Keyword Ideas tab which will show you results of what people are ACTUALLY typing in. Look first at the Average Monthly Searches column to get a sense for what keywords are more popular. Then look at the Competition column to see how competitive these keywords are, meaning if your competitors’ sites are competing for these keywords as well. The IDEAL keywords would have high monthly searches with low competition, but that doesn’t mean you can’t seek out the others too!
  4. Start selecting the keyword phrases that are SPECIFIC (NOT too general) to your service(s)/product(s) based on your sitemap (pages of site), in order to narrow them down to your specific target market.
  5. You will need to research keywords for each and every webpage that you want to optimize. Go to Step 2 to learn how to implement this keyword research.
If you would like to learn more about keyword research, watch this video from JB Media: How to Use Keyword Research to Generate Ideas for Your Content Strategy.

Step 2: Optimize your web pages with page titles, URLs, and descriptions using your keywords

It is recommended that you customize each and every page on your website with different keywords in your page titles, descriptions, and URLS. See screenshot below of where all this stuff will go so you can make sense of it.

Google listing:
Google Results listing showing page title, URL, and descriptionBrowser window:Preview of website in browser window with Page Title and URL

  1. First, download our Website SEO Keyword Research (word document), open in a text editor, and replace page names with your sitemap pages. This will help guide you moving forward.
  2. Start filling in each page (leaving the Home page for last) with your keyword phrases specific to that page. Then highlight the focus keyword phrase for each and every page that you want to optimize the most. The rest will be considered your “supporting keywords” and should be used as well.
  3. Write your Page Titles for each and every page, using the focus keyword phrase you highlighted and your company name placed before or after (limit to 5-7 words or 1 line or 60 characters of text per page). If you want to target a specific location then add that to your page title too. This is what shows in Google’s search results.
    Evolv – Asheville web designer, web developer, e-newsletter designers
    Asheville web designer, web developer, e-newsletter designers – Evolv
  4. Write your permalink/slug/URL for each and every page, using your focus keyword. Replace all spaces with dashes, use only lowercase, and remove any ampersands or extra characters. You do not need one for the homepage since this is just your domain name. You can include your locality if that is important.
  5. Write your Page Descriptions for each and every page, using the focus keyword phrase (limit to 2 lines of text or 160 characters per page). This will show up underneath your page titles in Google’s search results and should be a teaser to draw people in to your site. However, it does not necessarily make that much of a difference in your ranking, but Google will highlight in bold the keywords that match up to someone’s search. You can include your locality if that is important, and also make it a call-to-action if you would like.
    Ex. Web consulting, web design and web development, newsletter design, and website training for small businesses. Over 15 years experience, Located in Asheville, NC
  6. To explain what keywords you need to focus on for each and every page, keep the following in mind:
    • First, your homepage should have the most link popularity of all pages, which means you can optimize it for the most general and competitive phrases.
    • At the second level are pages linked to from your global navigation menu. These are usually top-level products or services pages. You can optimize these for fairly competitive keyword terms relating to the category itself.
    • The third level is often the specific product or service pages themselves. They can be optimized for the names of the products or services.
    • The fourth level often consists of your value-added content such as blog posts, articles, videos, podcasts, etc. These are often the basis for your content marketing campaigns. They help establish expertise as well as credibility within your industry. Plus, they’re great for bringing in lots of search engine visitors using long-tail keyword search queries. While these pages may not have lots of internal links, they are often your best bet for gaining external links.
  7. Add this info to your CMS wherever they allow you to update your SEO! We recommend you use Yoast plugin for WordPress websites because it gives you valuable immediate feedback on whether you have implemented the focus keyword appropriately through the page, even within your content which is the next step below

Step 3: Write keyword-friendly website content

Write your content based on your keyword research specific to each and every page – incorporating your focus keyword in the first sentence as well as your main Page Heading and subheadings while adding in supporting keywords throughout.

If you don’t want to spend the time to do your own keyword research which can take up to 8 hours of work, just hire Evolv to do it for you. It is well worth the cost to hire a SEO specialist to get it done right. Check out our $500 SEO Keyword Research Package »
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