Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Keywords

By Heather Lutze, Founder & CEO, the Findability Group

What exactly are keywords—why are they relevant—and how can YOU determine the ones you need to use to make your internet marketing efforts more successful?

On my recent Nov. 3rd appearance on the Brainstormin’ With Bill Frank radio show, I talked about the importance of optimizing the content on a business’ website with the correct keywords. After all, no matter how much money you’ve spent on your site, no matter how beautifully designed it is, no matter how state of the art, no matter how fantastic your product or service—if no one finds your site, it’s virtually useless.

So how do people find your site when they are searching online? By using keywords. Therefore, your site must be optimized with the keywords people are using to search for whatever you are offering. (This is called search engine optimization, or SEO.)

Simple, right?

But that begs the question, how do you, as a website owner, know exactly what terms people are using when they search for your type of business?

Keywords are literally the key (no pun intended!) to being found online. No matter what someone is searching for—whether it’s a product, a service, or just some information—they do so by typing keywords into the search box. So, whether they type in “padded gel bike shorts,” “hot stone massage Denver” or “indoor gardening information” they are hoping the search results will show them exactly what they are asking for.

That is, in fact, the search engines job… Google will “crawl” all the websites online, looking for the ones with those matching keywords.

These are examples of long tailed keywords to be exact. (Plain old keywords would be “massage,” “gardening” or “bike shorts.”) People use long tailed keywords when they are ready to whip out that credit card and make a purchase. They know exactly what they are looking for.

If you have a site that sells athletic apparel, but the term “padded gel bike shorts” is nowhere on it—your website will not turn up when a customer searches uses that specific long tailed keyword—and one of your competitors will likely make the sale, instead of you.

So, to be competitive online, you’ll need to do some research to determine the most common ways people are searching for your products and services, and include those terms on your site. In that way, Google will find you, and list your site in the search results page (hopefully page one!) and your customer will land on your beautifully designed, state of the art website!

On the radio, I highly recommended the Google keyword tool for optimizing your website’s content. Since then, I’ve received a lot of questions from people about how to use this tool. Many people are intimidated, assuming that it’s so technical only search marketing pros can use it, but just the opposite is true. In the next guest post, we’ll discuss keywords and pay-per-click campaigns, so stay tuned.

Want to learn more from Heather? Register for Clicks & Chics | SEO & Social Media Session to find out how to draw customers to your company online—when they’re ready to buy.  This high-energy, irreverent, and wildly-informative presentation is not just for geeks, but designed for everyone on your team responsible for attracting customers and driving sales.  Mark your calendar for March 9th from 1:30 – 4:30.  Immediately following there will be a networking reception where you’ll get to know Heather and the other participants better.

Heather Lutze is a nationally recognized internet marketing speaker, trainer, and consultant in search engine marketing including SEO, Paid Search, and Social Media Marketing Findability. Her speaking engagements are conducted in the same easy, understandable style as her bestselling book The Findability Formula: The Easy, Non-Technical Approach to Search Engine Marketing published by Wiley & Sons—delivering equal parts good information and good entertainment to audiences nationwide.

In July of 2000, Heather founded the Findability Group in response to all the web site owners who had paid for websites that weren’t performing. It was my clients’ frustration with getting traffic to their sites that was my inspiration for learning and mastering the art and science of search engine visibility. With fifteen employees and growing, the Findability Group specializes in customized Search Marketing Solutions in Pay Per Click, SEO, and Social Media Marketing for “World Domination By Keyword Phrase!”