Google and other search engines rely on algorithms, keywords, links and other signals to figure out what a page is about – and a big part of SEO is making that a little easier on the search engine so relevant results can be displayed to the people who need them, no matter how they ask for things. If you don’t optimize a site for a variety of keywords – including some words you might never think to use in your niche – you’re missing out on important traffic.
Imagine You Need a Dentist…
You’re happily sitting down to dinner when you bite down on something hard and feel a crunch and sear of pain. You suddenly have a dental emergency. So what do you do? You find a dentist – and to do it, you probably sit down at acomputer or pull out your smart phone. But what do you type? “Dentist in Albuquerque” or “Dentist near me” or maybe “Emergency dental service?” Or do you type “Broken tooth in Albuquerque” or “What to do for a cracked tooth” or “Do I need a dentist for my cracked tooth?”
But no matter what you put in the search box, you need to find a dentist. And that’s what search engine optimization does: It helps people find what they’re looking for online by optimizingsites for a wide number of keywords and phrases.
How Do SEO Agencies Identify What Search Terms to Optimize For?
Research! There are tools that allow us to see what words people are using to search for different products and services, and how many searches using those keywords are performed every month. This allows us to optimize sites for the most effective keywords, capturing as much traffic as possible.
And because we monitor the performance of our optimized sites, we can see in real-time which pages are being found and what search terms are driving traffic. That lets us make adjustments to ensure the pages stay competitive.
Why Not Just Optimize a Single Page with Every Possible Search Term?
Part of SEO is using keywords within the content of a page, and it’s possible to use several different keywords at a time this way. But that’s only part of the equation. Other important factors involve things like the page’s URL or the way links are used – and these strategies mean that any given page can only be optimized for one or two keywords at a time. Therefore, in order to maximize a site’s effectiveness at catching search traffic, multiple pages are required.
Additionally, this sometimes means optimizing your site for words an expert in the field might not think to use. As a dentist, you might flinch at someone calling a dental crown a “tooth cap,” but if that’s the term people are searching for, it’s a term that needs to be used in the website. The proper terminology can and should of course be clarified on the page itself – but leaving out these inaccurate or layman’s search terms can really hurt your traffic.
Hopefully this helps to demystify some of the secrets of search engine optimization. So the next time you look at your website and wonder, “Why are there so many pages about the same thing?” Just remember – we’re all searching for things differently.