Keywords get bad press.

They have been abused over the years by unscrupulous SEOs and dodgy copywriters, and repeatedly crammed into every inch of websites in the vain hope they will make Google propel the site to the top of the rankings.

By the way, that doesn’t work.

Although they have taken a bit of a back seat in the world of copywriting (because Google demands high quality, natural writing), they are still an important part of your search marketing.

Used in the right way, they will help your site gain more visibility through the search results. So what’s the right way?

Well, before I get into that I want to check to make sure we’re on the same page when it comes to knowing what a keyword is.

The reason I want to do that is because of the response I sometimes get from clients when I ask if they have any keywords that I should be aware of when creating their content.

All too often I get the response: “Yes, things like professional, trustworthy, responsive…”

They’re not keywords, they are values.

What words do your customers use?

Keywords are the words and phrases your potential customers use to find your products and services when searching the internet.

So, if someone’s looking for a new bike they might type in: Ladies Specialized road bike Ipswich – the search specifies the make of bike they’re looking for and the geographical area in which they want to search.

That means you have to step into the shoes of your customers and work out what words they will use: think about what you sell, where you sell it, how it could be described etc.

To get some clues ask friends what they would search for, take a look at your competitors to see what they are targeting and use Google’s keyword tool, then:

  • Sign into Google Adwords (or set up an account – it’s free)
  • Click on ‘search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category’
  • Complete the Keyword Planner tool:
    • Product or service – enter your list of keyword ideas
    • Landing page – enter URLs from your website
    • Product category – leave blank
    • Location – select UK
    • Languages – select English
    • Data source – select Google
    • Negative keywords – leave blank
    • Customise – turn on ‘ only show ideas closely related to my search terms’
  • You will then get search results for the keywords you listed plus additional keyword suggestions

The shorter and more generic the keyword the higher the competition will be when it comes to ranking. Therefore it’s better to go for longer, more specific keywords/phrases that will deliver more targeted results.

Don’t over do it

Keywords are still important, but make sure you use them wisely.

They will affect your website coding, structure and navigation as well as your content because SEO is something that should happen through the entirety of your website.

If your website isn’t SEO friendly, content alone won’t get you great results.

If your content is SEO friendly, it won’t have any effect unless your website is too.

If both are done correctly, your site still needs regular fresh content and engagement through social media if it is to perform well.

Basically, keywords aren’t SEO, they are just one part of it that can’t perform miracles on their own.


Need help with your content? Sally Ormond of Briar Copywriting is the saviour many large corporations and SMEs turn to when their marketing efforts are failing. Get in touch with her for a chat and find out how she can make a difference to your organisation.