When you need to develop key words to use on your web site, start by making a list of the words you think prospective customers may use to do an Internet search. Capitalization is not critical. Just make a list of the words you’d enter into a Google search to find a company or product like yours. Think of any features that make your product or service unique as that could be helpful. For instance, if you primarily do business in Houston, you might consider adding that city name to your keywords (also spelled “key words” with the space in between, depending on who’s writing about it.) Aim for 5 or 6 key words or phrases to get started.

Then, search for the Google Keyword Tool, which is free. No, you don’t have to set up an account but you can if you’d like. The following screen should appear. The “Find Keywords” section tells you two things:
1. if your competition is willing to spend a lot on your key terms

2. how many people are really searching on these words/phrases each month. For this reason, this is a good tool for SEO and selecting the right keywords.

To get started, type in your keyword list into the field next to “Word or phrase”. You can enter multiple words/phrases to search on, but put each search term on a different line by by hitting the enter key on your keyboard. For my example, I’ll enter “office supplies houston” and “office products” into the search field. At least the first time you do this, you’ll need to enter the captcha (or challenge-response test to make sure you’re a person, not a robot or spammer.) Then, click on the Search button.

As you can see in my example below,the first search results are specific to the words that I entered into my search. You’ll see “office supplies houston” has high competiton, while “office products” has medium competition. This refers to other companies trying to use these terms in their SEO efforts. Even if one of the results is ranked as Low Competition, you might still consider using that word/phrase if it’s a newer term or if it’s critical to your product or business.

The next section are the words and phrases that Google suggests you use, based on your initial search, and these are sorted by Relevance to the terms you first searched on. (To change how the search results are displayed, simply click on the drop-down menu beside “Sorted by Relevance” and make another selection. However, I think relevance really helps people sort through a lot of info.) While you’ll see various possibilities, you’ll want to look at the columns to the right, including the Competition column, Global Monthly Searches and Local Monthly Searches. (Note: Local Monthly Searches is based on the United States, if you’re in the U.S.)

When you’re sorting through the list, you’ll see some are bolded. Those are the ones that you your initial terms in the search results so they’re likely a derivative of those words. Since my company only does work in the United States, I look at the Local Monthly Searches and weigh those against the level of Competition. You need a good balance between a lot of searches and those that have less competition but are a good fit for your company, as previously mentioned. I suggest picking phrases with a Local Monthly Search in the middle of all those delivered. One difficulty with selecting the right terms at the point is that it’s somewhat subjective. I like to save a copy of the results and the phrases that I’m choosing to my computer so that month after month, I can make tweaks to those key words to get the best mix for my websites.

There are some other things to consider when reading these results and, of course, you still need to add them to your web site in a number of ways but we’ll save that for another blog post. Until then, develop your list of key words and start thinking about how you’d create the Page Titles and Page Headings using those key words and phrases. You can also check out some of the websites that Tell Your Tale has created as posted to our Houston Web Design page. Check back here for more updates to come and add your own comments or questions.


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