How Do Keywords Work?

Keywords are what users type in the search box to find hat they're looking for.  They are words you're supposed to use to describe your business and what you do.  The more targeted your keywords, the better the chances people will find you.  You have to be creative.  Just having "landscaper" and "landscaping" as a keyword is not enough.  Those are too broad and competitive.  meaning too may people will have that as a keyword and you will be competing with more businesses for those searches.

User Intent

The most important thing you need to keep in mind with your keywords is user intent - it's the reason they are searching.  So you have to think about what your customers would type in to find your business.  If you want them to find you by name alone in their searches then you would use Branded Keywords.  These keywords have your business name in them and you should use them frequently (but naturally) throughout your site.  I


f you want to bring in customers that are looking for a product or service then you need to use and target those services and products you provide and use them as keywords.  So if you're a landscaper who specializes in installing sod, you'd want to have "landscapers to install sod (your town)" or "sod experts (your town)".  The first one is a very specific keywords phrase.  That is an example of thinking about use intent.  You have to imagine what people would type to find your business specifically. There won't be very many businesses that sue that specific phrase as a keyword, so if we target that phrase, add it as a keyword, and use it in your website content then we can rank high for that keyword and you get that customer to see you on the front page every time.  That's the power of identifying user intent and understanding how people search for your services.

Attracting The Right Visitors

You only want people who are interested in what you offer to find your site.  If your keywords attract someone who would not be interested in your business and they leave immediately that's called a "Bounce".  Bounce rate is often users click on your website and leave immediately.  This hurts your search rankings.  This is also why you want as professional looking site as possible with the right content on the landing page they see when they first visit. 


If you have a terribly laid out site with little to no good content to describe yourself people will leave immediately and hurt your rankings.  The longer someone stays on your site and looking at it the better. That is why I focus on creating quality content and creating a catchy and interesting web design to peak their interest, make them see that you are a professional, and give them the confidence to scroll further knowing they probably found a good search result.  If you have an out of date, ugly, and unprofessional site that's not very mobile friendly your bounce rate will be high and your rankings will not be as good as you hope.  

I have seen a lot of websites from marketing companies that say they will get you on the front page.  What ends up happening is they get you to the front page with your branded keywords and say you're on the front page! (sort of).  You always want to be the top result for your brand name, but that's different than ranking for your services and product keywords which will bring in customers who may not even know about you.  Those companies will only have like 6 branded keywords and that's it!  It really irritates me when I see that.  I'll be talking to a potential client about the services they are getting from their current company and when I look at their websites SEO performance with one of my Link Explorer tools it tells me a different story than what they are being told.  they're told they are getting on all the best directories and getting on the front page.  Their link profile shows me they are on 20 directories and websites - almost ALL of them are NoFollow links (which from the SEO section e learned has NO EFFECT on your search rankings).  And their keywords are all branded keywords - nothing to do with WHAT they do.  They are paying $300+ a month for absolutely nothing i return.  That's why I got in business making websites for small businesses.  Companies like that take advantage of them and make wild promises with minimal work.  When you work with me, you're working with someone who understands what a small business needs to grow and I WANT it to grow.  

What To Focus On

Search engines won’t spend all day crawling and indexing your site. To make sense of your site, search engines look at your URL, your titles and descriptions, your content and your image alt text. Make sure to include your keywords when creating these elements of your site. If you’re a local business, always include your address, email and phone number on your contact page and, ideally, on the header or footer of every page of your site.

What Is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it basically a road map to follow that will help your website rank well on Google search results and other search engines.  There are basic actions that every website needs to take to be taken seriously by search engines.


Identifying Relevant Keywords  

Using Those Keywords In Your Sites' Content 

Giving Titles And Descriptions To Your Web pages

Writing Unique And Engaging Content

Organizing Information Correctly

Being Mobile Friendly

A lot of SEO and big marketing companies will tout that having as many back-links to your site as possible will result in better search rankings.  Back-links are links to your website that come from another website.  They link to YOU.  Back in the day when SEO was primitive that was the case.  You could spam your link on as many directories, blog comments, and spam sites as possible and low and behold - your site was listed number one.

However, that had lead to terrible search results that almost never satisfied what the user was actually searching for.  It was a mess, and Google recognized this.  

In April of 2012 Google launched their search update called Penguin - which was created to remove and demote websites participating in link spamming.

From Google Search Console about link spamming:

Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site's ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.

The following are examples of link schemes which can negatively impact a site's ranking in search results:

  • Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link

  • Excessive link exchanges ("Link to me and I'll link to you") or partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking

  • Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links

  • Using automated programs or services to create links to your site

  • Requiring a link as part of a Terms of Service, contract, or similar arrangement without allowing a third-party content owner the choice of using nofollow or other method of blocking PageRank, should they wish.

So what happens with many marketing companies is they will claim to get you on Google and give you all of the great links coming to your site.  They often use a program to fill in your information in a few directories and make it seem like it will boost your business. Google can tell when it's been filled in by a computer, or manually by a person.  I manually submit all of my clients information to quality web directories.  

Quality vs Quantity

Lots of back-links don't work anymore for SEO. You could be linked from 100 different sites but if they are low quality or even spammy sites they could have no effect at all on you site - some could even HURT your rankings.   It's still good to list yourself in the top web directories as it could lead to customers finding you from their databases and builds a good link profile.  But SEO is not entirely decided by the number of back-links anymore.  All that matters with them is that they are high quality sources.  

No Follow Links

Google categorizes good and bad links and whether or not they affect your rankings.  NoFollow links are back-links that do not add value or affect your site rankings at all.  That basically tells Google to not take that website linking to your site  into consideration.  It's useless.

DoFollow Links

DoFollow links are GOOD!  They say to Google "Hey this site is trustworthy and them linking to you is a good sign".  Google sees the link as DoFollow and your search rankings go up.  So if you have 10 Dofollow links but a competitor has 100 NoFollow links, your site will have better rankings based on your link profile.

But having 100% DoFollow links are also negative!  That shows Google something is fishy.  You might be trying to manipulate their algorithm and they will then lower your rankings.  So it's good to have a healthy mix of DoFollow and Nofollow links.  Building a healthy link profile is something I take seriously.  And you don't want to add all your links in a small period of time.  That's suspicious to Google and your ranking will be affected.  

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