Key(word)s to Success!

You think you have an appropriate keyword density - but do you? Wait... what is keyword density?

Let’s start from the top. Imagine an everyday internet user, hopping on the world wide web for a quick Google search.  The words and phrases they type into the search engine are “keywords”. Keywords can be a single word, several related words, a phrase, or a complete sentence. 

Let’s look at an example - let’s say I want to meet someone for a cocktail. I go to Google and type in “cocktails”.  The Google search results page includes websites and articles on how to make cocktails, where to buy ingredients, and places that serve cocktails. To refine my search, I decided to add “live music” and “Portland” to my search. A search for “cocktails live music Portland”. The Google search results page then shows results with cocktail bars hosting live music events in the future. Adding “today” to my search phrase - “cocktails live music Portland today” finally brings me what I’ve been looking for - a list of cocktail bars hosting live music today. Each word in the phrase “cocktails live music Portland today” are keywords on their own. Together, they make up a key phrase.  The search engine, Google in this case, finds websites that match those key words and key phrases best.  

Here is where it gets a little interesting, Google does not simply just match words or phrases, but  actually contexts the intent of the search and the topic of the websites to help make its decision on what it returns on the Google search results page.  

How does Google determine the topics and intents of websites?

Each search engine company has “crawlers” that crawl every website in existence. These crawlers determine what the website’s topics and intents are, and creates an index of each website so that the search engine can present the results quickly to users when they enter a set of keywords or key phrases.

Keywords and Your Website

From a website owner’s perspective, keywords are one of the most important ways to tell the search engine’s crawlers what your website topics and intent are. There are a number of ways search engines determine your intent however this article is focused on keywords in your websites html (words users see on the web pages).

To determine what your keywords should be, put yourself in your customer's shoes. If a customer was searching for the products or services that you offered, what would they enter into the Google search bar?

If you are a service provider such as an automobile mechanic, keywords you might consider are; “mechanic”, “automobile” or “repair”. “Mechanic” would mostly match with users looking for your service. The keyword “automobile” may get you visitors who are seeking to purchase a vehicle or looking for automotive accessories. Similarly, if someone searches for “repair” in a search engine, repairs for many types of items will likely be listed. You can see that there are usually a few specific one-word terms that describe what you broadly do, but have a narrow enough definition to ensure a likely match. This is where website owners need to consider two and three word keyword phrases. Maybe our mechanic specializes in German automotive repair. Their key phrases might include; “German automobile repair”, “Audi repair”, or ”European automobile service”. 

Many website owners believe they have adequate keywords/phrases and keyword density on their website - however many website owners vastly under utilize keywords. You can check your keyword density for free on Sign up with just an email, enter your top five keywords, and check your results in the SEO dashboard.  While there is no hard-fast rule on the exact density of keywords that is best, most SEO experts recommend a 1% to 3% density for each keyword or keyword phrase.   Keep in mind that keyword stuffing (using too many keywords) can get you penalized, resulting in a worse SEO ranking. Keyword density is the percentage of times a keyword or phrase appears on a web page, compared to the total number of words on the page.

Before you start increasing your density, you may want to review the keywords and key phrases you already have selected.  

 After listing out your keywords and key phrases, you can check out the interest level of those keywords and key phares] in Google Trends. Google Trends won’t give you an exact search volume, but  does provide an interest rating on a scale of 0 to 100. .. The higher the number, the higher the interest. Make sure to use the ”Related Searches” feature, which may provide you with additions to your keyword list. You can filter the trends by time and location. This tool is free, and should be more than adequate for determining your initial keyword selection for website copy.  

If you have a Google Adwords account, you can use Google Keyword Planner for more insight into volumes. This tool provides search volume in broad buckets (0-100, 100-1k, 1k-10k, 10k-100k, and 100k-1M).  

Optimizing your content for your website is key in communicating with search engine crawlers and getting the visitors you need to increase  business. Patience is required - results can take some time, as search engines need to index your new content. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) generally takes 4 to 6 months before you begin to see results. Monitor your visitors from search engines in time increments of 30, 90, 120, and 180 days. You can use Google Analytics to set up and view these metrics.  To make it super simple, connect your Google Analytics account with a single click sign-on to in the Digital Profile and utilize the pre-built graphs with on page time frame controls in an easy to user format.

The integration these two services offer is something you can’t yet find across any other two social media platforms.
Next steps: How to connect your Instagram Professional Account and your Facebook Business Page