How to Keyword Optimize Your Website for SEO
Published on March 26, 2014
The idea of writing your individual website articles or blogposts with "keywords" in mind makes sense, as each blog topic typically has an optimized group of phrases and words already at hand, but how does this concept work for your overall website?
Keywords, as we've previously written about, have a changeable yet important relationship to SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Google alone has seen numerous changes over the years when it comes to how they pull in their data for searches.
One thing stands tried and true, however: websites with an optimized keyword base improve their SEO.
Here are some ways you can improve the keyword standing on your own website, courtesy of Hubspot.
Identify the Best Keywords for Your Website
Creating your list of keywords can be the most time consuming part of the process, but it is a one-time process that will pay you huge dividends down the line not only for your website, but for your content creation process as well.
Our extended guide to developing your keyword list can be found here.
Audit Your Site
Once you have an established base of keywords to begin optimizing your site with, you can begin to audit your site. This will target which pages on your sites should use which keywords, as well as identifying duplicate content. Here is the quick way to go through this process:
- Export your site pages into an Excel spreadsheet
- Sort the pages from most frequently visited pages to least visited pages
- Add a column for "Keyword Category" and identify each page by its most important, overarching keyword
- Add an additional column for other relevant keywords and keyword phrases (Note: RELEVANT)
You now have a roadmap for how to improve your website.
Add Selected Keywords to Specific Site Information
Now that you have a list of keywords and keyword phrases, you're ready to start plugging them in on each individual page. This includes:
- Titles - These have immediate impact on search results. Try and keep it below 65 characters and include only 1-2 keywords or phrases. The rest can go in your body of text and description.
- Descriptions (Meta Description) - Descriptions answer the "why click?" question after the title. Make this attractive and specific when it comes to keywords.
- Headings - These are the titles within your content. These should break up your content into readable sections, with keywords or phrases that describe what you will find underneath.
- Content - Don't oversaturate your content with keywords just to put in keywords, as this will reduce the lasting value of the content itself (and appear somewhat manipulative). Instead, simply write your content with keywords in mind as overarching themes and they will organically fill themselves in as you go.
- Image File Names - Don't forget to make your image files relevant as well! A mix of letters and numbers as a file name will not register well on a search engine. Instead, title your images with a keyword or title of your content.
- URLs - Including keywords in your URLs is a great way to appeal to search engines in more ways. This is particularly important if you are a website that blogs. Your individual blog pages should look something like: buisnessname.com/topic-topic
If this is a completely new process for you, it could take some time to go through all of your pages. Don't get discouraged! Start with your pages that already get the most traffic, and work backward from there gradually. Remember to add this information when you're creating new pages from now on, however!
Avoid Receiving Search Penalties!
Google (and other search engines) have gotten increasingly smart - don't try to cheat the system by performing one of these practices, as they could easily lead your website to be seriously penalized. If this occurs, it will be just about impossible to gain any SEO traction.
1. Don't hide keywords
Don't hide keywords in your background, behind an image, off to the side, in tiny font... just don't do it. Search engines will penalize you for this behavior, and it just isn't effective.
2. Don't "stuff" your pages with keywords
Content that appears to be stuffed full of keywords without actual substance will be penalized. This includes titles, headings, content, URLs, descriptions, etc.
3. Don't put keywords where they don't belong
This isn't exactly the same as "stuffing" but it is similar. While stuffing pertains to text that is laden down with excessive keywords, this pertains to putting a keyword in a spot that just plain doesn't make sense within the context. It would be like PIZZA me trying to PIZZA market some PIZZA kind of product within this sentence. ...doesn't look good, right?
Take it Slow
Building SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. It is worth it to take your time and complete these steps well - your website will reap the benefits down the line if you do.
If all of this feels like too much for you, consider room in your budget for hiring a content creator/SEO specialist to come in and help. Specialists can help on a task-to-task basis just to get you started, or can maintain these practices for you over time so you don't have to worry about it.
If you are unsure how to begin building SEO for your website, don't hesitate to send us an email or give us a call! We'll be happy to help.