As I mentioned in my last post about SEO for your business , keywords drive everything in SEO. Keywords are the phrases that you use to tell the world, via the search engine, what your site is all about. Keywords give the clue as to what type of content or products are going to be found on your website. Basically, keywords are: what the user types into the search engine box when they are performing a search.

Say you are looking to buy a car in Howard County. You go to your favorite search engine and what do you type in? You might use any of the following:
o Automobiles in Howard County Maryland
o Cars in Howard County Maryland
o Cars for sale in Howard County MD

Any one of these keyword phrases would get you pages of results relating to cars in Howard County and bring back pages with various car dealerships with both new and used cars, for sale by owner listings, etc. They are good broad keywords that will get you started on the info that you need. The thing is, they would also return pages with repair shops, accessories dealers, etc. Related products, but not exactly what you were looking for.

But let's suppose that you know some specifics about the kind of car you want to buy. You've always wanted a blue car and your Dad has always told you that TopCarBrand (a fictitious brand for illustration purposes) is the most reliable. Your Dad knows more about cars than you do, so you'll take his word on it.

You might then narrow your search down by adding this info into your search query. So now you would use the search term "Blue TopCarBrand for sale Howard County, MD". This would definitely start to narrow the number of pages that come back in the results. Now we're starting to hit the "long tail" territory. You'll hear that phrased tossed about when the subject of keywords comes up at your next dinner party. (What do you mean you don't talk about keywords at your dinner parties??)

Long tail keywords are keyword phrases that have multiple words and are used to refine the search down to something more specific. Not too complicated, right?

On our car search, you also know that you want a particular model, the 2 door VROOM5 and you are only interested in a brand new model. Now, we're really in the long tail! Our search query now might be: "New Blue 2 door VROOM5 in Howard County, MD". That should really get us the results we're after.

This is just a post on the basics of keywords for SEO but you should get the general idea now. We'll talk about modifiers and how to figure out what your keywords should be in my next post.

So, how does this relate back to SEO? First, the more clearly that you are able to articulate what you are looking for in your search queries, the more accurate and pertinent the returned results will be. But more importantly, if you have a website, figuring out what keyword phrases people might type into that search box is crucial. Because it's up to you to tell the search engines what your site is about by telling them what your keywords are. We will cover how you go about doing that as the series progresses.

In the meantime, if you'd like us to give your website a SEO review or are in need of marketing services please give us a call at 410-312-0081 or fill out the contact form.

--Terri Hesse, Digital Marketing Manager