Adding Website Keywords for SEO: Why & How
Updated: Feb 17
The way you keyword your website on the backend affects the search terms you will show up for on Google searches
When a business tries to grow their online presence and get more traffic to their website, one of the best places to start is focusing on how to show up on Google searches. One of the first questions a business should ask is “which Google searches are relevant to my business?” In other words, what is your target audience going to be searching for in order to find a business like yours?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the concept of optimizing your website in a way that search engines like Google show it towards the top of the search results when someone searches for something. If you are a spa chain, you want to show up for Google searches that include terms such as “massage” and “spa”. If you are a pizza restaurant and a potential customer searches for “pizza near me”, you want to be near the top of the results!
One of the ways businesses use SEO is by keywording their site for the specific search terms or queries for which they want to be competitive. Website keywording is the process of configuring your website’s backend to be properly indexed by Google for relevant searches for your business. Properly configuring the keywords on your site’s backend is important because when Google crawls your website, it will use these keywords to determine what your business does and the types of searches to which it will be relevant.
The next question is how do you configure the keywords for your website’s backend? Depending on your website host, there are different approaches you need to use.
The Older Approach: Meta Keywords
Meta keywords are a type of tag that appear in the HTML code of a website. Their purpose is to tell search engines what the topic of the page is. The meta tag approach to keywording is quickly fading in terms of importance to Google’s algorithm. Google devalued the importance of these tags because marketers and site owners attempted to exploit Google’s search algorithm by “stuffing” their HTML code with high-volume keywords. As a result, low-quality pages would rank disproportionately high, which in turn impacted the accuracy of Google’s results. This approach is now only used for a few remaining website hosting services- most notably WordPress.
It is thought that while Google devalued meta keywords in its algorithm, it did not remove them outright. This means even WordPress sites can still get some value from meta keywording. If you want to add meta keywords to your HTML code, we recommend that you add no more than 10 keywords to any given page. These keywords should be relevant to your business while also targeting high-volume search phrases. You can use free tools such as Google Trends or Google Keyword Planner to explore high-popularity search terms. AnalyticsBox has tools that recommend custom keywords for your website as well!
The New Approach: Title and Header Tags
Your HTML code contains other tags that now have a much stronger impact on your Google search rankings. More attention should be given to title tags, header tags, and meta descriptions than to meta keywords. When creating these tags, relevant keywords should be kept in mind.
The primary and most important tag is the page title. This is denoted in HTML by text surrounded by the tags <h1> and </h1>. Headers within your page that are not the page title will have <h2> and <h3> tags surrounding the text. These still impact SEO, but not to the same extent as the page-level header. For most website hosting services, there is a user-friendly design builder that allows you to set these headers without requiring you to directly code in HTML.
Another useful keywording tag towards SEO is the meta description. Meta descriptions explain to search engines what your page is about. This is the text that appears under your link title within the Google searches themselves.
Quick Bonus: Make sure you put alt tags on your images and videos as well! These are also crawled by Google!
A properly-keyworded website can be the difference in where your website shows up in Google search results relative to your competitors. Only 0.78% of Google searches lead to a click on results from the second page. But search placement is critical even within the first page of results. As seen in the graphic below, every position matters in terms of click-through rate.
If you are ready to get serious about properly keywording your website’s backend, the first step is to think about the right keywords for you. Keywording is of course only one element of SEO. Give this a read to learn some other quick hacks to show up in more google searches! With Google making up the vast majority of all search engine usage, adhering to their algorithm is important. Google is always making changes to their algorithm, so it is critical to stay ahead of the game!