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What are Keywords and How to Choose Them

Keywords are something you will hear about as you begin marketing your business online. It’s one of those things everyone seems to know about already. If you’re new to online marketing, you may feel silly asking. Don’t worry; we’ve got your answers.

What are Keywords?
Keywords are just that — words. You choose specific words you want to focus on, words people type in when they search for your business online. Your keywords will include something related to the type of service or product you offer. They may include your city or town name as well.

Long-tail keywords refer to a phrase or sentence. When you search online, you might type “Cary restaurant.” But if you type in “where do I find the spiciest Thai food in Cary?” that’s a long-tail keyword phrase. Long-tail keyword searches make up 70 percent of the search traffic online.

Choosing and Using Keywords
If you work with a marketer or SEO expert, he or she will guide you in choosing keywords. If you do not, choose keywords that relate to your business. What would you search if you were trying to find your business? You might ask a friend or colleague the same question. But keep in mind that some keywords are more commonly used than others. That’s one reason (of many!) you may search for your business service and not find your website on the first page of results.

Google has planning tools that demonstrate which keywords are more competitive. Small business owners have more success choosing less competitive words, meaning those that are searched less often. Choose long-tail keywords: those searches will convert more often because the searcher is more specific about what he or she wants. He or she is no longer just browsing, but has narrowed down the search and is now seeking a place to buy.

Once you’ve selected yours, use those words on your website pages and, most importantly, in your title tags. Don’t stuff pages full of those words, however. This is called keyword stuffing. Search engines are smart enough to recognize it and will penalize you for this behavior. Check out our on-site SEO guide for more help.

You also want to use keywords in blog posts. But not every blog post you write will contain the same words. Use variations and use longer-tail versions. Remember, a search engine’s goal is to deliver the best results for people, so those people keep using that search engine. Your goal, then, is to write for humans, not just robots.

Now that you know what keywords are, you might prefer not to worry about it! Contact us for help with your online marketing.

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