One main factor in the organic search optimization of your website pages, blog posts, or online store listings is your keywords. Meaning, the keyword research, keyword phrases, and keyword usage in the on-page text of your site, blog, or online store. Over the years, I’ve heard many things relating to SEO keyword practices including comments like, “This is the keyword I want my site to rank for” and “These are the keyword phrases we chose for our site. They are all the most popular searches in our industry“.
Let’s clear up what is and isn’t true for the keyword research, phrases, and usage for your small business website.
Small Business SEO Fact vs Fiction: Keyword Edition
- SEO Fiction: The best keyword phrases are the most popular searches Higher popularity also means more competition and a harder time to rank on Page 1 for a phrase. Conversely, a lower count of searches means less competition because there are fewer searches made for that keyword phrase, but that phrase is likely very specific and targeted to your ideal client. Generally speaking, your home page keyword phrase will be the most broad since it’s describing your business overall. Your service pages will have more specific keyword phrases, and your blog posts or product listings will be the most specific keyword phrases.
- SEO Fact: A chosen keyword phrase needs to correspond with the content on that page The on-page content (that a website visitor reads) needs to reflect the chosen keyword phrase for the “behind the scenes” SEO work like your title tag, meta description, permalink, and ALT tags. If it isn’t a good match, that page or blog post will have a much more challenging time ranking well in organic search. So, if you are writing a blog post about setting up and verifying a Google My Business listing, your chosen keyword phrase for that blog post needs to be something pretty close to that topic so that the SEO work on the back end of that blog post corresponds with the topic of the blog post itself.
- SEO Fiction: My entire site needs to rank for 1 keyword First, you ideally want to rank well for as many relevant keyword phrases as possible, and second, different pages on your website should rank for different keyword phrases, and not only 1 phrase. Google doesn’t want you to duplicate title tags or meta descriptions on other pages or blog posts on your site, so each page needs to have unique SEO. Also, the phrase I might type into the Google search bar to learn more about a topic will likely not be the exact same phrase that you type into Google for that same topic. So, variety in keyword usage across the pages of your site is a good thing here.
- SEO Fact: Long-tailed keyword phrases are better than short-tailed This is because people typically search in long phrases or complete sentences. Think about the way you search. If you were looking for help with something like adding services to your Facebook Business Page, would you type “Facebook Page” into Google or something more focused on your specific question like, “How to add services to my Facebook Business Page“?
- SEO Fiction: Come up with a list of keywords to hand to your SEO I see this a lot. A small business owner has an existing website with existing content, then they learn about SEO and do a bunch of research to find the most popular searches in their industry, and then ask you to use those keyword phrases across the website. The truth is the most popular keyword phrases aren’t always the right ones to choose because A.) they have the highest competition, and B.) they might not be the best fit for your existing copy. What’s better to do when you have existing copy is to find the best phrase that represents that copy even if it’s much less popular.
- SEO Fact: Want to rank for more keywords phrases? Publish more links on your website If you have a simple 5 or 10 page site and want to get serious about your SEO or ranking for a bunch more related keyword phrases, the best thing to do is to publish more quality content on your website. I like to say that each new page or blog post published on your site is like casting another line into the sea of Google. The more links of good content you have, the more unique keyword phrases you can try to rank for, and the better chances you’ll have with your organic search efforts leading to more customer.
If you get your keywords right, the foundation of your small business’ website SEO will be solid.