What are keywords, and why are they important to my business?
Written by Sarah Rowland
Last updated: 31/10/2017
When getting stuck into digital marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO), you may keep hearing ‘keywords’ and ‘keyphrases’ mentioned, but what are these exactly, and how do they relate to your marine marketing strategy?
Yachting Pages presents a guide to these keyterms, uncovering the basics of keyword research and ranking and helping digital marketers to begin improving their online presence.
What are keywords and phrases?
Keywords and phrases are simply the terms that users type into search-engine search boxes to find the relevant information that matches what they are looking for – in the superyacht industry, this may be a ‘yacht agent in Palma’ or ‘superyacht marina in Florida’, for example.
Why are these important to you as a marine business? Well, they are ultimately what Google and other search engines use to work out what your website and its pages are about, so they can return the relevant pages for user searches. They help your business to be found online by its end users by increasing visibility in search rankings.
Think about it, how many times a day do you search the web for businesses using general search words and phrases for products or services, or ask Google a general question? I would hazard a guess and say you likely often do this rather than using the exact business name or URL.
Here at Yachting Pages, over 70% of our users currently find, or stumble upon our web pages and content like this online. It’s known as ‘organic’ search. That’s why we have a team of digital marketing experts who spend their time optimising our pages on behalf of our online advertisers and users.
How do I choose keywords and terms for my business?
So, how do you choose these keywords so you can appear? Before we get into that, it’s worth noting that it is definitely not as simple as picking a few keywords to target and stuffing your pages full of them. Keyword research is actually a highly complex topic in itself, often subject to change hourly and unexpectedly.
You will certainly not see instant results by adding keywords and terms to your web pages, as you are likely not the only business targeting these keyterms; it is another long-term project, so you have to work hard to rise up the rankings over time.
To choose keywords and phrases for your business, you will need to spend time using research tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner, or one of these recommended by Search Engine England. These give figures that indicate how many people are searching each keyterm, and how much competition there is currently online, which is great when used with some of your own common sense. Ideally you will need to shortlist some relevant terms to target and create supporting web pages and content marketing articles that use two or three of these per page in interesting and informative ways.
When picking keywords, Moz poses four main metrics to consider:
- How difficult is the keyword to rank for?
- How much organic opportunity is there?
- How important is the keyword to you?
- Which keywords have the most potential?
You can read the definitions and thought processes behind these metrics on their blog.
There are of course other ways and means to judge and prioritise your keyword research as well though, such as the current trending topics, the autocomplete suggestions that appear when you type terms into the search bar, and those related searches that appear at the bottom of results pages (SERPs.) Common sense will also prevail, as you will likely know the terms that are most relevant and useful to your business. This beginner's guide to keyword research by Moz may help you to understand keywords further.
How to use keywords and phrases
Once you have selected your keywords and phrases,these should be added into the URL, page title tags, page headings, image alt tags and meta description of each page or article, and sparingly throughout the copy – particularly in the first paragraph.
You want to avoid keyword stuffing and bad SEO practices, usually by ensuring it reads naturally to the user and is representative of the content below. By targeting two or three alternative keywords and phrases in each of your articles you should hopefully have more chance of finding your main users.
Which search engines should I target?
When we discuss keyword and keyphrase ranking, you not only need to consider SEO best practices, but also the complex algorithms of the top search engines used by your customers.
Stats from Net Market Share (August 2015 to August 2016) suggests that almost 69% of desktop users worldwide search the internet using Google (68.84%), with Bing (10.65%), Baidu (8.73%) and Yahoo! (7.52%) taking up the following positions. These are therefore the search engines that you should probably be targeting with your search marketing efforts, depending on your demographic.
In mobile search terms, Net Market Share suggests that over 94% of mobile users search with Google (94.09%) over the same period, followed by Yahoo! (3.7%), Bing (1.36%) and Baidu (0.23%).
In light of these stats, your focus should likely be largely focused on Google, but you should not neglect the subsequent search engines, as this market share is still quite significant - even in comparison. You can find out more and keep up to date with these changing algorithms through industry blogs, such as Moz and Search Engine Land, or sign up to our marine marketing newsletter to receive monthly bitesize breakdowns of marketing best practices straight to your inbox.
You can monitor how your keyword research and SEO efforts are doing by signing up to Google Analytics.