SEO: How to pick the right keywords

Choose the keywords your target audience would choose

I was working with a dentist today on optimizing his website for search engines.  He wanted his website to rank for dozens of key words.  Most of the keywords he was giving me were quite technical keywords, used more by doctors probably than patients.  Then, he suggested we look to Google analytics to discover what keywords people use to find the website.

I will share with you the advice I shared with him:

  1. Google is like looking at your website through a rear view mirror.  It only tells you what has happened in the past, not what is happening now or will happen in the future.  Moreover, it will only give you statistics based on how your website is currently optimized.  If your website is not optimized for a particular keyword phrase, then it won’t show up on Google for that keyword phrase, and there won’t be any evidence that people were looking for you using that keyword phrase. So, relying on Google analytics to discover what keyword phrases people use will give you false negatives and a filtered view of reality.
  2. If you want to attract doctors then use words that doctors use.  But, if you want to attract patients then use words that patients use.  Taking it further, if you want to attract teenagers or people who speak another language then you need to use words that teens use and/or key words in the language that your target audience speaks.  With SEO, everything starts with knowing who you want to attract and then putting yourself into their place and understanding the language search patterns they would use to find what they seek.
  3. Language and semantics evolve over time.  Only five years ago, nobody would be searching for “selfies” or even know what a “selfie” was because that concept didn’t really exist prior to the iPhone or Android with the front-facing camera.  So, you need to periodically review your keyword phrases to ensure that you are optimized for the language and search patterns du jour.
  4. Finally, you can’t optimize for everything.  So, you need to prioritize your keyword phrases and rank them by how valuable it would be to be ranked for those keywords.

Once you’ve picked the right keywords, WordPress is your best friend and the blog is your secret weapon.  The reason why the WordPress blog is so powerful is because it does all the work.  All you have to do is stick the keyword phrase in a blog post title and WordPress injects those keyword phrases in the most important spots that Google looks for to find out what your site is all about:

  1. URL
  2. Page title
  3. Page headings
  4. Link text

If you have questions about search engine optimization (SEO), WordPress, blogging, or keyword analysis … give us a call, we’d be happy to help.


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