Most people think that Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a thing to do once your website has been built. However, I beg to differ. It all starts with your domain name and stems down from there into your headings, page content and images. You should know beforehand what website keywords you are wanting your website to target before you even start writing content and the website gets launched.
Today we are going to talk about how you can determine your keywords to help you focus your website content and ensure you get an overall picture of the type of content you are going to create and not end up repeating the same keywords for each page.
This is the fifth blog in the “How To Prepare To Hire A Web Designer Blog Series”
If you have just joined me, maybe you would like to read the first blog in this series “Make sure you understand your business first” or any of the following in this series before continuing!
- Be Realistic About Your First Edition -Think Minimum Viable Website (MPW)
- Consider A Number of Experts
- How to Analyse Your Competitor’s Websites
What are website keywords?
When I mention keywords they are key words and phrases within your web content that make it possible for people to find your site using search engines.
It’s not one particular word used over and over again. It is a group of words or phrases that mean the same thing used throughout the content. That way, search engines can figure out what your content is about and so your content shows up when people search for whatever you write about. Just using the same exact words over and over again would make search engines think you are ‘keyword stuffing’ (using the same keyword repeatedly) and penalize your site.
Now you have the basics down, it’s time to start planning your content.
How to Plan Your Website Content
1. Create Search Term Goals
Discovering your search term goals is a crucial step to any website’s SEO strategy. It will help you define your website, discover competitors’ terms and most importantly give you control over how people discover your website.
For this first step I want you to write down as many keywords / search terms you expect your potential clients or customers to use to search for your company on the internet.
For the remainder of this worksheet, we will call these terms focus keywords.
If I was a tour company in based in Taupo, New Zealand, I would write down the following items (don’t forget to include any local terms such as Taupo): Tours, New Zealand, Travel, Adventure, Mountain, Taupo, Lake, North Island, South Island, Beach, Extreme, Beautiful Country etc
By now you should have a healthy list of focus keywords.
For the second part of this exercise, I want you to write down as many synonyms associated with each individual focus keyword as you can think of.
For the purpose of this exercise I am going to call these terms the secondary terms.
For the search term “New Zealand” I would write down the following synonyms: NZ, Aotearoa, Land of the long white cloud, country, clean green New Zealand, North Island, South Island, West Coast, Auckland, Wellington, The Beehive etc
Struggling to think of many? Try thesaurus.com to help you gather synonyms you may have missed.
Well done, now you have created search term goals!
2. Website Structure
Now we have your search term goals worked out, you can start figuring out how you can use them to build the foundations of your website. For this exercise we will be designing and planning your website structure.
A website structure is a simple but clear diagram of what pages will be included in your website, what they will contain and and how they will be laid out. It’s really just all the information you want to display on your website about your service and/or product. For this exercise forget about the keywords from exercise 1 – we will come back to that later.
For example if I was planning a tour company website my site structure may look like this:
- North Island
- Tour A
- Tour B
- South Island
- Tour A
- Tour A
- Tour A
- North Island
- Trip Planning
- About Founder
- Terms and Conditions
- Frequently Asked Questions
Go ahead, write down your site structure. Just try to be as thorough as possible.
3. Merge Website Structure with Focus Keywords
Now that you have completed your website structure, it’s time to learn how we can apply the focus keywords to each page. Glance back at your focus keyword list. Write down next to each line in your site structure the focus keyword that matches that page the best.
Here is a small section of the site structure I wrote above and my primary search terms written in orange.
- Services NZ Tour Services
- Accommodation New Zealand Accommodation
- Hire Car Hire
- Trip Planning Trip Planning
- About Tour Company in Taupo
- About Founder Tour Operator
Once you have completed that, ask yourself these questions:
- Did I manage to use every primary search term?
- If not, what content am I missing?
- If yes, am I repeating the same search term over and over again?
- If yes, am I missing any pages?
If you answered no, then go back over your content structure and try to add in informational pages about that topic. If you are unable to do this at this point in time, then make a note of that focus keyword as something you need to work on in the future.
If you answered yes but noted you are repeating the same focus keyword, you are hinging your entire website on one keyword. Just imagine, it is like only opening your shop for 1 minute of the day and wondering why you are not selling anything. Take some time now to search for your competitors online – what keywords do they use to get their company noticed? Write these down and see if you would like to use them in the exercise above.
If you answered yes, you managed to use every primary search term but there are some pages still without a focus keyword, then go back to the first exercise and conjure more terms or take the time to research your competitors and find out what they are using and if you can use them on your website.
4. Content Development
By now you have your search term goals laid out and your site structure and you have applied your focus keywords to your site structure. Now you can start writing your website content!
When writing, keep referring back to your keyword for that particular page and use as many synonyms as possible within your content, while still making sure it easy to read for your potential visitors – after all it’s them you are writing for!