When improving your website’s Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, your plan of action needs to begin with finding the words that your chosen demographic or target audience will punch into the search bar, when looking for your product or service. Once a decision has been made the next step is to amend your site to rank as highly as possible within the search results for searches based upon these words.
For the most part, it is better for a site to focus on key phrases rather than just keywords and there are a number of reasons for this.
Put simply, keywords will turn up more results and are therefore much more competitive. You might find a far larger number people will reach out to you through keyword, but the further down the search results you land, the less chance there is that a search user will visit your site, and there is a severe drop off after the first page of results. For the most part, users tend to click on the first, second or third link. That’s where you want to land in the results.
But the more sites that are fishing with those keywords as bait, the less chance you’ll have of making it there; particularly against bigger, higher ranking and more authoritative sites.
Focussing on specific search phrases means eliminating unnecessary competition but also increases the chances that the people finding your site and the people that you want to be there; the target demographic of your business.
For example, if your business offered bicycle repairs but you optimised your site to cater to the keyword ‘bike’, you’d be unintentionally reaching users looking to buy brand new bikes, looking for routes to ride those bikes, looking for images and videos of bikes, looking for motorbikes. You’d also be competing against all of the products and services that were relevant to the broad search term ‘bike’ and that is a lot of competition.
By focussing on key phrases you eliminate a section of irrelevant competition and appear in searches for people who are looking for what you have to offer. Better still, you’re likely to rank higher in the search returns.
On first look, it may appear beneficial to reach as wide an audience as possible, but given how great a percentage of searchers look no further than the first few results, it pays to dedicate your efforts to reaching a smaller, more specific group.
This is why it’s also helpful to include your location in your text ("our Shepherd’s Bush store" instead of "our store"). That way you’ll be found more successfully in local searches, and for many businesses, that could be crucial to success.