Effective keywording is one of the three most important ways to get your site or post found on the internet – along with title and description. But I’ve always found keywording a disorganized chore. Here’s a way to make the job simpler, quicker and more logical.
Remember how in composition 101 class you had to make an outline of topics, content, facts etc.? We used to do this on index cards, one card for each separate fact or topic. We wrote these in no particular order, just as they came to mind or emerged from research. Then we rearranged the stack of cards to create the logical skeleton of the essay. Done this way it was easy to see if there were any gaps in the content or if further rearrangement were needed.
I’ve found this analog approach works well for proposing, editing and sequencing keywords.
Once you’ve done your research, possibly on Google Adwords, to propose keywords, then you’ll also try to think inside the head of your audience to imagine what they might search on. I always make a big list of potential keywords, even if some seem a bit far out or not fully on target. For something as important as your website, you can never have too many keywords to start the edit process. Don’t forget keywords that speak to business products or services you may not do right now, but are targeted in your business plan.
Here’s my system to edit and organize your search keywords. My example is done on a blank file folder, easily preserved for future reference or for colleague comment.
- Write down each proposed keyword “candidate” on a separate sticky note. I use the smallest size sticky notes and cut them in thirds to save space.
- Arrange the stickies on your desk or a white board to get a good look at the total field.
- Re-arrange them, grouping categories like Photo services, Photoshop, Album design, etc. (or whatever is your business)
- Select the 2-5 most important keywords, then second tier from ones to be discarded.
- Re-arrange again in a logical, customer-friendly sequence.
- Generally choose no more than 25 keywords for your main core list (federal governments site limit). This is hard for us because we do so many things related to video, stills and productions.
- Rearrange as many times as needed, because individual pages or blog posts will need different, specific keywords than those for the site in general
- Keep a dated record of your final edit, and don’t throw away the de-selects, because they will eventually find a use – no need to rethink totally from the ground up