Before you make any other decisions about your website you should decide what your keywords are going to be. Why do this first? Why decide keywords when you don’t even know the name, domain, text, and layout you want? Shouldn’t you understand the design basics before you try and fit keywords into it?
Absolutely not. Keywords are a critical part of SEO, we all know that, but if you know your keywords when you get started, you can allow the rest to grow and develop from them. Knowing your keywords at the start allows you to implement them into important areas along the way, such as, for example, your domain name.
There is some debate as to whether having keywords in your domain name is all that important. Whether or not it actively boosts your search engine rankings can be argued, but its value is not limited to direct improvements. Consider links. The best link is one with the keyword directly in the anchor text of the link. If your keyword is “paperback novels”, then ideally, you want as many external links as possible to say “paperback novels.”
However, unless fit directly into text (and often even then), a link is expected to have the business name in the anchor text. You may be able to get sites to put you on their link page, but it is going to be more difficult to get them to put the exact keywords you want into the link. More likely, they’ll link to your business name.
But if your name includes your keywords you get the best of both. People who look at the links will see your name, and the search engines will see the keywords. You never have to worry about making your links look odd by stuffing them with a variety of keywords that may or may not fit the surroundings. Just use your name, and your link is set.
Knowing your keywords from the start will also be beneficial when selecting titles and headers, and when writing content. If you make it a point to incorporate keywords into content as you write it, you will have completed a portion of on-page SEO work along with the writing itself. You also won’t have to deal with the difficulty of going back into your writing and trying to force keywords into it later.
Writing with your key phrases already in mind allows you to write articles that will organically grow from them. Bear in mind that the search engines are highly sophisticated programs, and experts indicate that they even have a degree of ability to understand when keywords are being included solely for the point of having them, because they don’t mesh well with the existing text. Far-fetched you say? Certainly no more so than, for example, a grammar check on a word processor.
If you have your keywords selected before you begin work on your website, you can allow your site to develop in such a way that the keywords make the most sense. This is highly important, since the existence of the words is only useful for the first step: getting people to your site. Once they’re there, it comes down to site design, and a site designed solely for the search engines in unlikely to be successful in influencing a far more selective group–web surfers.
By: Dustin Schwerman
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