DIY SEO Part 2: Assigning search terms to pages

Yesterday we kicked off our DIY SEO plan by mapping out our website, to see what we’ve got. Now we need to start making each page work. It’s no good just saying we’d like our website to perform more strongly in Google. It has to perform more strongly for specific searches which people make. So the next thing to do is to identify the searches we’d like to perform strongly for. This is called “keyword research”.

I don’t have the time to describe the best ways of doing keyword research here. It’s something we do all the time, of course, because it’s the first thing we have to do for all of our clients whose Google AdWords campaigns we manage. You can’t “do AdWords” without compiling a list of hundreds of search terms where you want the adverts to run. But there’s loads of good stuff online if you want to look around. There are also loads of good tools available, such as Google’s own Keyword Suggestion Tool. A bit of time spent on the web will unearth quite a few.

What you’re trying to do here is to compile a “top 50” or “top 100” list of searches where you’d most want your company website to appear high in the results. Think beyond just “blue widgets”. What might your prospective customers be typing into Google? Don’t be afraid of four-, five- or six-word searches, including questions. A good keyword list for SEO purposes should take many hours to compile. Assign half an hour a day for a few days to put it together, so you keep coming back to it fresh. Think about subdividing your company’s product range down to the smallest levels, and working on each one for a few minutes.

When that exercise is complete, the next stage is to allocate a search term (keyword) to a page on the site. Take each search term from your list (such as “fastest blue widget in the uk”) and on your spreadsheet site map, put it against the most relevant page. You may have many more pages than keywords (which is OK), but if you have more keywords than pages, it’s time to consider creating more pages for your website, so you’ve got pages dedicated to these important searches. Make new lines on the spreadsheet for these future pages. If you have several broadly similar search terms, you can allocate more than one to an existing page if you wish, rather than creating new pages.

If you’re in two minds as to which page to allocate a search term to, try seeing which page Google already considers to be the strongest for that term. You do this by making a Google search and combining the search term with the “site:” command. So, for example, if I wanted to find out which pages on our site Google currently considers to be the most relevant for the search term “seo”, I’d go to Google and type in “seo” and see what it comes up with.

Now the pages on your website have a search term to focus on, and we can start to make them work harder to appear highly for that term.

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