Keywords are the search terms, words and phrases typed in to search engines, in order to find web pages containing those keywords. The search engine will then provide a list of results for web pages inside its index that match these search term keywords. Without these keywords on your web pages your site will not rank highly for the search terms. Keywords should be focused on the products and services you wish to offer, and the subjects you wish to cover, but is important to note, the keywords used in actual searches may not match your original ideas. Real world searches will often bring up ideas and suggestions that are not obvious to you but are no less important keywords for your SEO campaign than your original ideas, and so you must perform keyword research. This research will produce what are known as long tail keywords.
You already know the products and services you wish promote via your web site. This will provide the core of your SEO keyword list. Always get other opinions as well. Speak to friends and colleagues and ask what words and phrases they would use when searching for your services. You will always be surprised at how differently other people think. Once this process has been completed you should have a good list of keywords and an idea on the direction you need to go. At this point you must do some online keyword research using real world data from actual searches. Don't forget your geographical location as part of the keyword phrases if your business is focused in a particular place.
There are many keyword research tools available on the internet. Some are subscription based services, but there are many free resources too. Several free keyword tools are provided on our Free SEO tools products and services page.
The simplest and easiest to use is the free Google Adwords Keyword Tool. Although created for Adwords customers, this tool is freely available to everyone, and is a very useful starting point for your keyword research.
Start by typing a 'seed' keyword or key phrase into the search box. This produces a list of keywords related to your seed words, including how many times these words have been searched for. This is based on actual searches on Google in the last few months. Words are listed in the order of the number of searches over this time.
At the top of the list you will often find single word searches. These generally appear the most often in actual searches, but are not the actual keywords you should specifically target. By default, single keywords will also appear in the key phrases you must target. For example if you run a carriage clock repair workshop, you may find the top keywords to be carriage, repairs and clocks. However, targeting these words on their own and not part of a phrase would be a little pointless. There are an almost infinite number of different products needing repairing, and many different categories of clock, and many different carriages. It is only when these words are combined together and with other related words do they become useful SEO keywords for your web site.
Scrolling down the list will provide many more useful keyword rich phrases. This is what is known as the long tail. There will also be many words and phrases not completely related to or useful for your products and services. Simply choose only those keyword phrases best suited to your services, and ignore the unrelated ones. From the above example, 'clock repairing' is a useful keyword phrase, whereas 'carriage repairing' is too ambiguous to be used and should be discarded.
At this point you may want to use different seed words and phrases to broaden your research. Use some of the keyword phrases highlighted in your initial search to find more terms. But always use your common sense. You should now have a list of long tail keyword phrases ready to be used on your web site.
Ideally you should have a page of well written unique content for every single one of your SEO long tail keyword phrases, and all of the combinations. This does take time to produce, and you may not be the best or most confident writer, but you should still remember, every good website has good content. To start with however, pick a number of your keyword phrases that are representative of the overall list, and which contain each of the individual words you are targeting. Create a few main pages containing these words and phrases, ensure the keywords are placed on the page in the such a way to make them prominent to the search engines following our creating unique content guidelines.
Generally speaking, your company name should not be used as a keyword, unless the company name also completely describes your services. People will search for the products you offer, and not your company name. In any case you will always rank well for your company name, as this will be seen on your site in many places on your web site naturally.