SEO: Compiling Your Keywords

So, it’s finally time to compile your list of keywords. This is where we begin the actual work of SEO. I see how excited you are — it’s not that bad. Really.

Why are you looking at me like that?

Keywords — I’m sure at least one of you is wondering — are what we use to focus a site or a page’s content around one or two ideas. Remember how the search engine reads each page and does its best to pick out what that page is all about? By picking one or two topics (keywords) for each page, we actually improve the search engine’s chances of getting it right. If Google gets it right, it will be indexed correctly in its “library”.

Compile Your Keyword List

The first piece of the keyword puzzle is compiling your list. Get out a large piece of paper. Heck, pull out a pad of paper. You just might need it. As you’re going through the three steps, write down every word and phrase that comes up. Don’t edit. Don’t think they’re dumb (some will be but we will make those decisions later).

  1. Brainstorm: Sit down with a cup of whatever you love, say to yourself, “Think of every word associated with my business”, and just start writing. Jot down whatever pops into your mind: “baby clothes”, “ghost writing”, “farm fresh eggs”, “life photos”. Remember, they may not make sense. It’s okay. Just write.
  2. Ask clients: Call up or email a couple of really good clients (or ask a few friendly ones at the till if you’re in retail) and ask them what they would type into Google to find your business. You may be shocked at what words and phrases they use to describe you. Again, just write down the words. No judgement. No editing. Why ask clients? They are a great indicator of what descriptors a potential client or customer will use to search for you.
  3. Feel out the competition: Do you have a few really strong competitors? Go onto their sites and take a look at the buzz words they use in their content. Are there any phrases or words that come up over and over to describe what they do? Write them down. Do they have a catch phrase? Write that down too but add an asterisk (star) beside it so you know not to use that idea verbatim.

Now keep this list handy for the next few days. You may come up with several additions as you go through your activities. Write them down.

In the next SEO post, I’ll talk about how to whittle down the list to one or two topics per page.