Keywords on Your Website for Search Engine Optimisation
Keywords are important for your website. It’s how Google and other robots understand what your site is about and how much information you have about a particular product or service. It also contributes to how your site is seen for location targeting, and keyword strings, so it can be positioned in the “right” location in SERPs.
Google regards keywords as a robot, however it is constantly getting smarter. While it reads from left to right, and from top to bottom, it can also understand associated words to a particular term along with the intention of the users search and will position a website as a result of those semantic searches.
What are people searching for.. and does your website answer those questions?
How does Google Read a Keyword or Key Phrase?
Below are three of the ways Google reads the keywords on your site, and we will also explore the locations of them.
Exact Matches (In the process of being phased out – now close keyword variations or close variant matching)
While Google is in the process of phasing out exact matches and is heading towards close variant or semantic searches, it will take time for this to take full effect and be in place.
Historically, and with the current algorithm, the more exact the keyword or key phrase is implemented on the website the easier it is for Google (and the user) to understand what the site is about. This is especially pertinent if a site is not currently ranking well and you want it to be seen for those terms. To make it visible for those exact words, they must be used in that exact order, with the exact spacing, with other words around it that make sense.
For example: You may have a restaurant that is both a bar and a cafe. It makes sense that you would use both terms in the description, however a quick look at keywords planner shows that “Cafe Bar” gets 140 searches a month, but if you used “Cafe and Bar” throughout your site, with only 10 searches, not only will you be seen for the lower searched term, and miss opportunities, but it will be harder for your site to be found for the higher searched term, especially if another website has it in the exact order, and therefore pushes your site down in the rankings.
For crafting the title of this post, we did some research on terminology, and found that splitting of the term Keyword to Key word has a large impact on the number of searches people do for that term. Knowing your terminology is an important part of making your information on your site relevant and readable by the right people.
|Search Terms||Average Searches per Month|
|Recent research: For the Search terms – “Keyword” and “Key Word” in Australia.|
Close Variant Matching (For both Google Ads and search results)
From late 2014 this has replaced exact matches in Google Ads advertising.
The Google bots still work with much of the same information for Google Ads as for organic searches, and Google had found that at least 7% of Google searches contain a misspelling, and the longer the search the greater the chances.
For close variant matching, using singular or plural forms, acronyms, stemming, abbreviations and accents are all items that Google can now recognise and understand with greater ease. Even with this, we have found from internal testing that to initially move a website forward or to enhance the focus, its still best done when using exact matches.
Semantic Searches (Introduced 2012)
Semantic searches are taken from user intent – was the search more for pricing to buy a product.. or research information about the product? What is the searcher actually looking for and what website provides that answer the best. This will be shown highest in the SERPs.
If your site is already ranking well, you have more freedom to use the keywords and phrases through association, user intent and the ability to answer peoples questions. Having appropriate terms for semantic searches from the outset of your website is desirable, but the details of the algorithm is not public, so there is still some guesswork involved.
In 2014, when the Google Knowledge Vault was introduced, it harvested data from the knowledge graph system and sources, and compiled results into a database with over 1.6 billion facts that have been collected by machine learning algorithms. This is then put to use within the search results algorithm.
For example: “Hire” can equal “Lease”, “SubLease”, “Rent”, “Charter” and “Loan” depending on the product or service you offer. However, hiring a car is very different to leasing one with differing terms of contract and expectations.
When people type their searches into a search engine, they are aiming to get results to answer their query. Do they want to know the price to hire a car, or the terms of a car lease? It’s all in the intention and associated words.
Where to use Keywords and Key Phrases on Your Website
Using the keywords that you want to rank for at the beginning of the Title tag, along with relevant content on the page will give it the most strength. Make them match up and make sense, so that when the user is searching they get the information they actually desire.
It is also possible to combine keywords can give further options to results.
For example: The Best Brisbane Cafe Bar – has the terms “Best Brisbane Cafe”, “Brisbane Cafe Bar” and “Cafe Bar”
The formula generally accepted is: Keywords, descriptors, brand.
Common Question about Title Tags: Does a brand have to be included in a title tag?
Answer: No. If the brand is not as relevant as further descriptions would be, it can be left out. What is your intention in the title tag, for people to get answers, or for your brand to be seen?
Common Question about Title Tags: Does it matter if the title tag goes beyond 512px wide?
Answer: No. Google will relate information from the title tag to the user intent, and can pull information from anywhere in the title tag, or the site itself to present the best search results.
That being said, if you can get your message along with the brand within the 512px width, do it so there are no ellipses showing, and people get all the incineration they need at a glance. The next best is to have enough message showing within the pixel width so the wording makes sense.
Currently the Meta description is not qualified as a ranking factor, however it helps a user to click on your link. To make sure the user has information that is relevant and helpful, check if this description is backing up the keywords and giving greater details of what will be found on this website or page.
Working down the page from the H1 to the bottom of the content, keywords throughout the headings gives further information to Google of what the site is about and how it suits a user.
Common Question about Headings: Do the keywords needs to be exact?
Answer: Again Google is smarter than before, but to help a site rank high for a focused term, exact matches do the most to move the website higher, faster.
Position Keywords Above The Fold
Using keyword rich content above the fold still matters. Many people don’t move much further down a page, unless there is reason to. If the appropriate keywords and terms are easily read at first glance, then there is more reason to stay on the page, and then move around the site.
Time to Craft with Keywords
What are people wanting to know about your product or service? Can you explain this in a question or an answer that includes keyword searches.
Do many people search for that term?
Research in Twitter and other blogs about this topic found that this was an extremely common question, along with the term “website” so this string + the term where written into a viable question that someone may ask.
How else can you research what to use in a title?
If there are other pages in your site that cover a similar topic, you can use Google analytics to bring up information to aid with your keyword crafting. By seeing what people are already searching for that brings them to your site and how much interaction occurs as a result of those terms.
Then of course there is research in other places like the Google Keyword planner tool, and autosuggestion.
Putting it All Together
So, lets say you have some tasty banana ice cream, how you present it will make an impact on what people search for and whether the information you have on your website is appropriate for what they are searching for.
Are you selling the product itself, writing a blog about all natural ice cream, or have a recipe that you want to share or sell as part of a book or e-book. You can go to both sides of the keywords.
Eg : _________ banana ice cream _______
- The best banana ice cream you will taste – a shop selling a product
- Making banana ice cream from scratch – a blog post
- My banana ice cream recipe – for an Ebook
Now its your turn, craft some key phrases for you site along with relevant content so that people can find you more easily, and more importantly , the information they are looking for.