How search engines index your site

When Google (and other search engines like Bing) crawl your website, they look at its content and try to derive what your website is about, page-by-page. They look at text, images and other clues like how the page is formatted and metadata. Google also looks at links to-and-from other sites. It’s a big topic but let’s talk about just text today as its one of the most significant aspects and a good starting point.

What are keywords?

So, what are keywords and keyword analysis

Keywords are the words a user will type into a search engine like Google. As an example, if I had a plumbing problem and was searching for a local tradesman, I might type in “plumber” or “plumber near me”.

If you are a plumber advertising your services, you would want Google to understand that you are a “plumber” and if anyone searched for the term “plumber” your site would be shown as one of the first listings. Its important to know that a keyword can also be a phrase like “plumbing services”.

Keywords come in different flavours. For instance:

  • Informational – which typically answer questions or provide facts like “how to change a radiator”
  • Commercial – these form the majority of user searches “cheap plumber in London”
  • Branded – these are where someone searching already knows your name and type this directly in eg. “Smiths Plumbing Services”

With a multipage website you can target different keywords on different pages. It is also possible to target multiple keywords per page (but be careful with this – they must be related or Google will be confused). Ideally, you will have a primary keyword and a number of related secondary keywords.

Keyword analysis is the task of understanding what keywords your site should target.  As you might imagine competition is stiff so getting a Google front page (the first search page) listing for “plumber” would be very hard so there may be alternative keywords we can target.

Finding the best keywords for your business

The best place to start is to brainstorm a few terms which you think your potential customer will use.  Our goal is to find high volume, low competition keywords.  Sticking with our plumber example, here are a few:

“plumber London”

“emergency plumber London”

“plumber Chelsea”

“emergency plumber Chelsea”

Note that if you start to type “plumber” into Google it will start to suggest other terms that users are looking for. There are also some tools to help you.  A great tool which is freely available is Google Keyword Planner – https://ads.google.com/aw/keywordplanner/home It’s pretty intuitive to use.  Within the results Google shows the average number of searches per month and the level of competition. It also shows you the cost of advertising. These are the ads you see at the top and to the right of search results. Typically, the cost is a strong indication of the competition. It also gives us some additional ideas below which may be helpful.

Its sometimes good to think of related searches which might bring traffic to your website. Examples for our plumber might be: “how to change your radiator” or “stop a radiator leak”

Putting it into action

Once you have determined the keywords to target, you write your content. Within the body of your content you will use the keywords multiple times. If Google sees “emergency plumber” 3-4 times it will figure out you are an emergency plumber! You should also use some synonyms or related phrases such as “24 hour plumbing services”. You should also use your keyword in your title and in some form in a sub-heading.

Other clues we can leave for Google …

At Digiphore we work with you to help determine the keywords to target on your key pages.  We also set up some software on your site called Yoast SEO which confirms that we are effectively targeting the keyword.  Yoast also allows us to enter a custom meta description and slug. These are also very important. 

A custom meta description is a short piece of text – upto 155 characters which summarises your page content.  For example, our emergency plumber’s home page may have a meta description which says:

“Call now for an affordable 24 hour emergency plumber in the Chelsea and West London area from a reputable family firm with 20 years experience.” 

It should give Google a very clear view of what you are about, and is sometimes used by Google as your page description. It must contain your primary keyword!  Here is the search result for “emergency plumber Chelsea” – see how Google has emboldened our search term within the meta description …

The slug is simply the page URL.  A meaningful URL should reflect your keywords. Our emergency plumber might have a URL which looks like:

www.smiths.co.uk/emergency-plumber-chelsea

If you have a page which already exists and want to change the URL – don’t! Call us first as it is important to redirect the traffic from the old page to your new page.

Help when you need it

As with any form of marketing, it is essential that you are clear on your proposition and who you are targeting as this will make defining the right strategy to promote your site easier, including finding good keywords easier.

At Digiphore we are happy to help you build and execute your keyword strategy, either fully or enabling you to do it yourself. Why not use your monthly Guru time to let us help guide you? Get in contact with us to find our more or look at our full range of SEO services.