Choosing the best keywords for your website - checklist

Keywords are the words and phrases that people type into search engines to find the information they require. Here's how to ensure your website comes up for relevant searches.

  • Choose the right keywords and use them correctly. This is a major element of search engine optimisation (SEO) and can ensure your website is listed as near as possible to the top of relevant searches so potential customers can find you.

  • Consider the sector you operate in, your products or services, any brand names you use, your location, and what is unique to your business - then come up with relevant short descriptive phrases to find appropriate keywords for your business.

  • Identify your competitors' keywords. Using these yourself may enable you to redirect some of their web traffic towards you. Online services, such as Keyword Spy, can help you do this.

  • Use a keyword suggestion tool such as Google's free Keyword Planner to find variations on the keywords you have come up with, as well as useful statistics related to the use of these keywords.

  • Embed your keywords in your website. They need to be embedded into the title tag of each page, the page headings and sub-headings, and the metadata (snippets of code that users don't see but which search engines analyse). They should also be embedded into the content of your pages, and the higher up the better.

  • Trial a number of keywords in a paid search campaign - whereby you pay the search engine according to the number of users clicking to your site having used keywords you have previously selected.

  • Track and monitor how your keywords are working by analysing your web server's log files (available from your hosting provider) or using a free online tool such as Google Analytics. Modify your site and your keywords accordingly.

  • Consider paying a specialist agency to do help you track, monitor and modify your keywords as experts understand the constantly changing nature of search engines. It can also be time consuming to do it properly.

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