Keywords and their big brother, keyphrases, are an online concept that offline small business owners rarely need to deal with.
Offline, about the only time small business owners face an issue similar to this is when they need to decide how to list their businesses in the local phone book’s business listings.
Unfortunately, understanding the critical import of keywords and keyphrases to an online business is one of those differences between offline and online that many entrepreneurs miss.
Keywords and keyphrases are critical to online businesses due to the simple reason that many website visitors arrive at a website because they have been searching online, using a search engine, such as Google.
The sites that the web surfer visits are usually just the sites that are displayed in the search engine results. If you site isn’t displayed, that visitor won’t visit your site. It is pretty simple: if you aren’t there, your site isn’t seen, and the web visitor won’t be coming to your site.
So, how do keywords and keyphrases work in this scenario?
Keywords and keyphrases have a dual dynamic in the previously described situation.
Keywords and keyphrases are the terms that the web visitor searched for and they are also reflected in the results displayed by the search engine.
This becomes a problem for the business owner, when the term or phrase used in the search does not appear on their website’s content.
Think of the search engines as idiot savants, they do one thing really well — they search the web site and they report, literally, the content on the site.
What they don’t do, currently, is read beyond the content and make extrapolations and connections. Connections which would be made by a human who is familiar with the subject, don’t currently happen with the search engines.
For example, you have a website that sells Whatchamacallits. You have them in different colors, including blue and green. This is fine as long as someone is searching for blue Whatchamacallits and green Whatchamacallits.
However, if someone is looking for the phrase “cool color Whatchamacallits” and you haven’t used that phrase in your website content, it is unlikely that your site will be one of the sites offered by Google for that particular search term.
While this may seem overwhelming, there are ways to start figuring it all out.
Your web host most likely provides statistics on your web site traffic, telling you what search terms visitors clicked on to come to your site.
In addition, there are free online resources which tell you exactly which search terms people are using. From there, it is a matter of comparing the two resources and figuring out which terms are bring traffic and which terms you are missing in your site content.