For anyone trying to increase their presence and visibility online, there are several questions that they need to consider; how are they driving traffic to the site? What are they linked to? How are they using display and search ads?
However, while all of these are critical, in a world where Google is a noun and a verb, search engine optimization becomes vital. Users have come to expect that they can Google just about any word or phrase and instantly have the exact thing they were searching for pop up. Ensuring that your site structure and content is designed to align with what the user is searching for is key increasing your visibility. This is most effectively accomplished with keyword targeting, or using the right keywords in the right way.
Keyword targeting is as much art as it is science so finding the right combination can be found by balancing best practices, trial and error, and proven methods. Here are a few quick tips to help you effectively use keyword targeting.
The title tag may be the single most important aspect in ensuring click through as well as the primary tool to leverage and highlight your keywords. The title tag is the headline that is appears when the search engine lists the search results. A well written title tag not only makes it easier for the search engine to find your page, but also attract the user to click on your page. Additionally, the title tag is often followed by the meta data, which is a brief description of the page.
When writing a title tag, be sure to keep it under 65 characters and meta data to 300 characters so the entire title will appear. It is critical that you incorporate your keywords into your title tag as well as your meta data. However, repeatedly jamming your keywords into your title tag meta data can hinder the user experience and sacrifice an opportunity to use your words creatively.
It was once believed that the more keywords you can cram into the title tag, headers and content, the better your site would rank in search engine results. However, as search engines have become more sophisticated keyword stuffing has become less effective and not only will not improve your ranking, but can also be penalized and devalued by search engines. Additionally, it decreases the user experience.
Capitalize on Headers
Search engines seem to prefer keywords that are included in headers, particularly in the headline. It is important that you are thoughtful and creative in using keywords in your page headers and headlines to ensure they rank well in the search engine results.
Cannibalization is a term used to describe when the keywords targeting on one page ranks higher than your primary page. This can be avoided by ensuring proper and strategic keyword targeting on your main page as well as linking your subpages back to your main page that you want highlighted.
While all this information is important to ensure that your site is easily found by the search engines and optimized to ensure click through rates, none of this matters if you do not have a strong user experience. You could be the number one site in the search results, but if when the user lands on your page, if it does not provide them with the content and experience they were hoping for then they will click the back button or “pogo stick.”
The goal is to ensure you are smart, strategic and methodical about using your keywords, but never sacrifice user experience and functionality at the expense of keyword targeting and optimization.
These tips are a quick rundown of things to consider when utilizing your keywords to enhance your search engine optimization results. As previously stated, effective keyword targeting is a balance between art and science, so the true key is to continue to improve and tweak your strategy to achieve your desired results.