SEO is the art and science of optimizing your website for search engines.
When ranking websites, Google takes a LOT into account. As they tweak and refine their ranking algorithm, some elements become more important over time, some become less so, and new factors emerge all the time.
Keywords have been a factor for SEO for a long time, but the way that Google uses keywords is changing in a big way. Before we get into the details, let's do some definitions and clarify a few concepts about keywords and how they're used.
What are Keywords?
Keywords are phrases that describe what your website pages are about. (Like "Wedding Photographer" or "Dallas Videographer.") Often they will match up to specific search queries that people use on Google to find you.
Doing research on what keywords your customers may use to find you is very important. And once you identify the most valuable keywords for your business, you will want to use them on your website in different ways.
It's important to know that in the past, you could just plop keywords into your meta description and that was basically "good enough." This led to a rush of shady people trying cheating to gain a higher rank... folks just dumping any old keyword in there whether their actual website used that phrase or not!
In response, Google and other search engines started penalizing people for using keywords in bad or tricky ways. What REALLY matters is not what Google robots see... but what the real people visiting your site see. What matters most are the words on the page.
Are Keywords still important? Absolutely! Put those bad boys on your website. Follow the recommended guidelines and best, modern practices. Don’t overstuff keywords (5-15 are plenty). This is great and makes SEO easier.
But while knowing the keywords you want to rank for, Google today is far more interested in seeing you write compelling content, great titles, and rich, useful paragraphs that keep readers on your site for as long as possible.
So while keywords are important, MARKETING your site well is really going to be what gets you a better rank, with the increased sales and conversions that you're really after.
That's right! Marketing your whole business is way more valuable than spending hours and hours finding the exact right keywords to place in your meta keyword section.
Put yourself in your customers' shoes.
Do you think your next customer – a bride to be, high school senior, or expectant mother – cares which meta keyword phrases are used on your site? They probably don’t. They just want a photographer. A really good photographer. Someone who gets them and can tell their story beautifully.
And that’s how most everyone feels! Google 100% understands this. They know that their users don’t care about keywords. They just want the best pictures, experience, and service possible.
Keep this in mind when you're updating your website. This is about your customers. The better you make their whole experience with your online brand, the more powerful your investment will be! Front end, visual, on-the-page keywords written naturally in the text on your website are just as, if not more important.
Too often I see people overanalyzing their keywords vs spending the time marketing their site, which will bring them much bigger returns in the end.
This means getting 5-star Google reviews, driving users to your site with social media, blogging, adding awesome headlines and Calls-To-Action, updating your content, and generally creating an amazing experience that will knock the socks off of your visitors.
So while keywords do a lot of great things, they have to be on your website where people can see, and it's a much better use of your time to Market your site than obsess over finding the perfect keywords. Remember: Keywords tell Google where to place you. They do not control how high you rank.
So. Is your site updated with the correct metadata? Cool! Now get that site out there, get those 5 star Google reviews, and market your site!
Blake M. is Google Analytics (GAIQ) certified and has a technical & creative background in web design, graphic design, SEO and digital marketing. Having worked in the ad world, Blake brings all these skills together to help PhotoBiz clients optimize their websites and get more business.
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