For many of us, making the switch from general copywriting to essay writing for the Internet was like entering a whole new world, complete with a new set of rules. Among other things, online content is largely more informal than print and should be easily “scannable” (think easy to read text and bullet points).
Most importantly, in order to be effective, people must be able to find your content. If no one can find your article or blog post, no one will ever read it! That’s why keyword analysis is a necessary skill for all Internet writers.
What Are Keywords?
Keywords are terms that capture the essence of the topic of a document. In the context of Internet writing, keywords are used to define what is on the web page and how the writer wants the content to be indexed by search engines and on search engine results pages. If used correctly, keywords ensure that the page is indexed and becomes easier to find.
How Do You Determine Keywords?
For most Internet writers, the most difficult part is determining the most effective keywords for your page or document. It is important to recognize that keywords used in online writing are NOT the words that you, the writer, would use. Instead, they are what others would use.
Thus, the “key” to Internet writing is incorporating the actual search terms people enter into the search engines when conducting a search for your business.
Relevant keywords are fairly straightforward for some businesses. For instance, a Southern California defense attorney who specializes in drunk driving offenses might target keywords like “Southern California DUI attorney.” However, it is important to note that these obvious terms are also the most competitive. Therefore, finding the most effective keywords may still involve a little more digging!
In other cases, coming up with keywords is more difficult. Remember, it is important to consider the terms used by regular people rather than by experts in the field. Unless, of course, you are trying to attract fellow experts to your page.
For example, a potential client looking for a personal injury attorney may not use the phrase “motor vehicle accident” but rather “car crash” or “car accident.” Similarly, a potential client is more likely to search for the phrase “slip and fall accident” than “premises liability.”
Here are a few more tips for choosing keywords and key phrases for your marketing campaign.
Do Your Research
There are a number of free keyword search tools available online that can help you identify the best keywords. Some can help you generate additional keywords that are similar to ones you identify, and others can help you determine the popularity and competitiveness of certain search terms. Google’s Keyword Tool is very popular as others similar online tools for these purposes.
Think Like a Client
Consider what words a client might enter into a search engine when looking for your business. Better yet ask your prospects and clients what words and phrases they actually use! Research these words to find out if other people use them too.
Track the Results
It is important to monitor your results to determine which keywords are actually generating the most leads for your business. Again, there are free tools available online. Google Analytics is one of the most popular.
If certain keywords aren’t delivering the anticipated results, don’t be afraid to switch it up. Even if you thoroughly research the best keywords for your business, there is always a bit of trial and error involved.
Finally, if you are still struggling with choosing keywords for your marketing campaign, it may be time to consult an expert.
What Are Long Tail Keywords?
Keywords can be split into two main categories: short tail keywords and long tail keywords. Essentially, short tail keywords refer to broad keywords, while long tail keywords are more narrow keywords.
More specifically, the term “long tail” refers to the strategy of targeting less-competitive niche markets rather than the hugely competitive broad keywords. A long tail keyword is something like “Los Angeles Breach of Contract Attorney” while a short tail keyword is something like “California Attorney.”
Where Should Key Words Be Used?
In Internet writing, location matters. Keyword location that is! To get the most bang for your buck, insert your keywords and/or key phrases in your title. You should also include your keywords/key phrases in the first line of the body of your document as well as within the first line of the final paragraph of your article. After that, keywords should be dispersed throughout the document.
How Often Should Key Words to Used?
Search engines use keyword density to determine the relevance of a Web page to a keyword search. Keyword density refers to the percentage of times keywords are used within the total word count on a Web page. For example, if a keyword occurs three times on a Web page with 100 words, then the keyword density is 3 percent. In general, your keyword should only make up about 2 or 3% of the words used in your entire document.
It’s important not to go overboard; if you do, search engines may classify your page as spam.
Although keywords are important, real people will ultimately read your text and buy your product or service. Therefore, it is important to make sure you are not focusing solely on search engine optimization. The most difficult part of Internet writing is to strike a balance between good writing and keyword writing. Although it takes a bit of practice (and often a good editor), it is possible write quality content that includes naturally incorporated keywords.