How to use effective keywords, part 1

If you have improved your site's SEO health with the help of SEO Optimizer, you're in great shape. But if you want to take your SEO to the next level, you can bring even more potential customers to your site by creating effective target keyword phrases.

Note: The steps in this and the next article are optional and involve more manual work on your part than the other features of the app. Manually optimizing keywords like this can greatly improve your SEO, especially if your audience is Googling for products like yours with search phrases that are different from your product titles. But if you would rather use only the more basic and more automatic features of the app, that is your choice. You can still improve your SEO health score within the app using only the more basic approaches described in What is this app? and How to improve your SEO health.

That being said, to make your site's SEO the best that it can be, the app needs your input and expertise. This guide will show you how the app can help you tweak your product pages to include keywords that your audience is using in web searches—so that your site appears higher up in those search results.

Here's an example: Jane looks up "chocolate covered espresso beans bulk" in Google. You and a competitor are very similar companies who both sell espresso beans in bulk, and so you both appear in Jane's search results. However, if one of your product pages is optimized using that same exact keyword phrase and your competitor's page is not keyword-optimized, it’s your website that appears first in the search results, and it's your product that Jane will click into and buy. So if your pages aren't keyword-optimized, you’re going to miss out on a lot of customers, simply because they won't find you.

How can SEO Optimizer help you make your products keyword-optimized? Keep reading to find out!

How target keyword phrases work in SEO Optimizer

At the top of each product or page audit in SEO Optimizer, you'll see a target keyword phrase:

This is the search phrase that you're targeting: in other words, what you want your potential customers to look up in Google to be able to find your product. In each step of the audit, the app will warn you if the target keyword phrase is missing. For example:

Improving on the default target keyword phrase

By default, the target keyword phrase is set to the title of the product or page:

However, often it's possible to think of a better keyword phrase than this, one that your audience is more likely to use in web searches. In the above example, people are probably not very likely to look up "MechaCat." A more likely search phrase is "robot cat" or maybe "robotic cat" or "robotic pet." In this case, I would be beaten by a competitor who is using one of these phrases that more exactly matches what our customers are typing into web searches: my competitor's product page would appear above mine, if all other factors are equal.

But be warned: if you change this keyword phrase at the top of an audit (and save and refresh the page), the rest of the audit will then expect to find the new keyword phrase in each section, but it will not automatically update your content to include the new keyword phrase! So customizing your target keyword phrases can be a lot of work.

The easy way to optimize keywords

The easiest way to avoid this extra work is to make sure that your product titles include a good keyword phrase in them. For example, instead of titling my product "MechaCat," I could scroll down the audit to the product information and rename the product "MechaCat Robotic Cat":

Save your changes, refresh the page, and scroll back up to the top of the audit. Remove words from the beginning and/or end of the keyword phrase in order to create a shorter, more general phrase that is more likely to be used as a search phrase in Google:

This would make "Robotic Cat" the target keyword phrase, which is already included in the default values based on product title (which means that you don't have to manually add the new keyword phrase everywhere, thanks to the app's AutoPilot feature), but at the same time this shorter keyword phrase is easier to manage, preventing some complications with keyword-optimizing your content.

Here's another example: for a product titled "Vintage Victorian Jacket with Tailcoat | Black | Large", you could delete the last several words in the target keyword phrase, leaving only the more general name that people would more likely look up in Google: "Vintage Victorian Jacket."

Summing it up

You might ask, So why doesn't SEO Optimizer choose the best keywords for me? That's because only an expert in your industry can judge what phrase your customers associate with your product—and that expert is you! 🙂

Still, choosing effective keyword phrases takes a lot of thought and even research because you need to discover the exact terminology that your potential customers use. Are your customers searching "freshest espresso beans," "dark roast espresso beans," or "highest quality espresso beans"? Knowing makes all the difference. Keyword research lies at the heart of SEO and it requires a deep understanding of your customers, their motivations, and their behaviors.

Up next: learn all about keyword research and how it can help you target the best keyword phrases.

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