What is the reason for all of the mixed messages surrounding SEO? The tactics required to achieve high search engine rankings are complex and ever-changing. The one thing that hasn’t changed is the importance of identifying and using the right set of keywords in your SEO efforts.
According to our 2010 Economic Outlook Survey, your prospects and customers use the Internet to do research, request price quotes, purchase parts/products, compare suppliers and perform other work-related activities. More and more, you need to get your online presence ready to attract attention and rank higher on search engines.
None of this may be news to you. There is plenty of buzz today around online marketing terminology such as SEO, keywords, web crawlers and search engine ranking. What most of us don’t understand is what this boils down to in terms of commitment, tactics and what the trick is to actually getting results.
Keywords are….. Key
Simply stated, keywords are the exact words inserted into a search engine to begin a search. Therefore, the “match up” depends on relevancy of web content. Take that theory and apply it by brainstorming what search terms someone may use to look for products and services like yours. You can then tailor the content of your web pages to include those “keywords,” to help your web pages (and other Internet content) rank higher within search results.
Homework: Identify Appropriate Keywords for Your Products and Services
The number of keywords you manage largely depends on the size of your product or services portfolio and the competitive landscape. If you have a broad and deep product portfolio, or compete with many companies for the same keywords, the list of potential keywords grows and the work becomes harder. GlobalSpec, for example, manages more than 1 million keywords and has full-time, online marketing expert resources focused on keyword management to drive qualified traffic to our site and our advertisers.
Here are some ways to discover the keywords that users are typing into search engines to find products and services like those you offer:
- Conduct internal brainstorming sessions among employees
- Analyze competitor web sites to find keywords that they use to describe their products and services
- Review web server logs or Google analytics for search terms currently used to find your site
- Use paid or free keyword research tools. Options include:
After you generate a list of potential keywords to target, you should prioritize the list based on relevance to your products and services and fit with your industrial marketing and business strategy.
Implementation: Ideas to Put Your Keywords to Work
With your prioritized list of keywords in hand, you can add keywords to your current web site pages. Ideally, you should create one dedicated web page for each distinct keyword or keyword phrase. Follow these guidelines when adding keywords to your web site:
- Use keywords in the page headline (Heading 1 or H1).
- Use keywords throughout the body copy of the page, but not with such frequency that the writing becomes choppy or cumbersome. Remember that your first priority is helping your reader along on their information-gathering task.
- Use keywords as links. For example, instead of writing ‘click here’ as your link, try using, “Learn about hydraulic equipment.”
- Use the keywords within your company blog and any other company content posted to the Internet.
- Convert .pdf files posted to your web site into actual web site content (html) where possible – this type of content gets ranked higher on search engines.
More Implementation Ideas
Use keywords in the Title and Description metatags of your web page. The title and description metatags are often picked up by search engines and displayed and bolded in the search results pages. Below is an example.
Use keywords in the page url (the web address). For example: http://www.globalspec.com/ProductFinder/Fluid_Power_Components/Hydraulic_Equipment_Components
Track the Facts: Make Adjustments, Find Out Results
It’s important to track how your keyword tactics impact your search rankings, although it may take some time (weeks or even months) to achieve results. You can track your rankings internally by conducting searches, using an outside firm to create reports for you, or using tools like Google Analytics to discover what keywords delivered visitors to your site.
If you’re having trouble achieving higher rankings for some keywords, you may need to adjust your strategy. Some keywords are very competitive and may require more resources than you have to achieve high search rankings. In this case, getting more specific with search terms can help you achieve higher rankings. For example, instead of ‘hydraulic equipment’ a better search term for your company might be ‘electrohydraulic cylinders.’ Longer, more specific keywords tend to be less competitive and can help you achieve high rankings more easily. Of course, that only matters if those keywords are relevant to your business.
Continue to track your results. Focus on keywords that perform and shed those that don’t. Make regular edits to your web page copy. You should see your search rankings rise and begin to notice more qualified traffic visiting your web site.