More Keyword HelpSeptember 3, 2008
This post is excerpted from an upcoming issue of Identity Marketing magazine
So, you’ve done the “uniqueness” exercise and you’ve got your site built with appropriate keywords, but you’re still not getting much search traffic. What’s going wrong? Well, beyond the sheer volume of competition that’s likely fighting for those words, you may be simply using ineffective keywords. Sometimes it’s difficult to predict what real users are actually searching for, and it could be that your words – as meaningful as they may be to your business – are not particularly effective for searches.
Thankfully, Google provides a free tool to help you generate keywords. Available at https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal, Google’s Keyword Tool can take your basic keywords and show you alternatives, along with their potential search traffic. The tool is built primarily for pay-per-click advertisers looking to generate keyword lists for their advertising campaigns, but it’s also an effective way to see what users are searching for. The Keyword Tool is one of a list of many free tools I’ll discuss in the coming months to assist you in your search engine optimization.
To review, keywords should be prominent in your page content and written in natural language. Keywords should also be part of your title tags and meta descriptions. However, don’t forget that keywords are also vital in the “alt” tags that describe the content of your images. Many web sites use images extensively – even for buttons and other simple graphics. It’s important that these images have text in the “alt” tag describing the content of the image.
For instance, if you have a button for “embroidery,” make sure the alt tag reads “embroidery” as well, or the search engines have no way of determining what the button actually says. Similarly, if you have an image of a shirt, the alt tag for that image should have words describing that shirt, such as “100% cotton t-shirt.” This may seem like a lot of work, but the more relevant keywords you have in your page, the more likely you are to receive searches for those keywords. Alt tags are also good policy for accessibility – blind visitors use screen readers to navigate page content, and alt tags provide them with descriptions of the images on screen.