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There are many different ways that a potential client may find your website. You may have a billboard, tv add, radio spot, a business card or some other non internet way of telling people of your website and getting them to go online and type your url right into their computer and check your site out. But one of the top ways to get people to view your site is to have them look up a certain term on a search engine and then choose a website from one of the results.
For example if I wanted to promote my web design business in Chicago USA then a top way I might get people to find my site is to make sure that my site comes up when someone goes online and types in “web design companies in Chicago”. This person may have never heard of me and may not be specifically looking for my company. They are just looking for any company that offers the service they seek and if my website comes up then they will check it out.
Most people familiar with the internet are aware that Google is by far the most popular search engine in the world. If you rank at the top of Google for the search terms that your potential customers are going to use then they will probably find your website because they are most likely going to use Google as opposed to any other search engine and they are most likely to view a website at the top of the Google search results as opposed to lower ranking sites. Being the #1 result (top of the search page) means most people will view your site. The other results at the top of the page like #2 or #3 also receive their fair share of visitors. But very few people view the results at the bottom of the page. The following pages of search results receive even less. For this reason there can be a lot of competition to achieve a top ranking on Google.
Due to this competition some people choose to try to rank high on other search engines under the thinking that these other search engines user base isn’t as big as Google’s but that the competition isn’t as stiff either. If you can’t rank high on Google but you can rank high on another search engine with less competition then you might as well choose a search engine with fewer users but ones that will actually view your site because it’s at the top of the results as opposed to being buried on Google. This can be a valid method of site promotion. In this article I am going to concentrate on Google since if you can get your site listed high on Google then you will by far exceed the number of visitors you would get from anther search engine.
Making sure that they deliver the sites that people are actually looking for is of vital importance to Google (or any other search engine). If the people searching for “web design companies in Chicago” got back search results for farm equipment dealerships in Michigan then they probably wouldn’t be happy with the search results and they would quit using Google. So Google is always changing the way that the return search results to ensure that they are giving the user the exact results that they want. For this reason Google is much better now than it was in the past. Many times when a user mistypes something when searching on Google as Google is smart enough to show the user what they wanted to spell and not what they actually wrote. Of course Google is only so good at this.
You can’t choose what search phrases on Google return your website. Basically Google takes the search term that you enter in and looks all over the internet for sites that contain those words. They then try to direct you to the ones that they feel are most likely to satisfy the purpose of your search. But just using synonyms might confuse Google. For instance I worked on an exercise website for getting sixpack abs. But, there are too many phrases that a person might use while basically looking for the same thing such as “how to get sixpack abs”, “how to get six-pack abs”, “how to get cobblestone abs”, “how to get washboard abs”. These are all basically the same search but because they use different words or maybe a word with a – in it every search may return different results because even Google isn’t smart enough to know that “sixpack abs” and “cobblestone abs” are really the same thing.
If you have a website that uses the term “sixpack abs” and doesn’t have the word “cobblestone” anywhere on the site then Google won’t return this site in the search results for “cobblestone abs” cause that term isn’t found on the site.
So it’s important to know what phrase a potential visitor is most likely to use and ensure that phrase is found on your website. For this reason you really need to research your target visitors and choose the words that you use on your website accordingly. Another example is a barbeque business I built a website for. The name of the company featured the word b-b-q. I felt that to promote the website it was very important that it came up on Google if anyone looked up the phrase “hire bbq in Fargo” but if the person searched for the phrase “hire barbeque in Fargo” or “hire b-b-q in Fargo” I wanted to appear on those listings as well since those terms meant the same thing just using an alternate spelling.
In order to ensure that this website was listed under all three of those search terms I had to make sure that I included all three different ways to spell “bbq” somewhere on the website. I felt that changing the way I spelled “bbq” throughout the website was a little annoying as a reader but felt the advantage of getting listed for all three search phrases outweighed this annoyance.
You can include several different terms on one page such as “Do you want to get sixpack abs? Read more to find out how to get a washboard stomach”. This text could come up if someone searched Google for “sixpack abs” or “washboard abs”. Notice that “washboard abs” isn’t technically in that sentence. It’s actually “washboard stomach” but both those words are found in the same sentence. Google can include a result as long as the words are found on the page, not necessarily in the exact phrase being searched for. Though the closer, you can come to the identical phrase with the words actually in the right order the better for getting a good search engine ranking.
So if you want to get your website listed for a particular search term then you need to think like the searcher. What exact phrase are they likely to type into Google? Then make sure that phrase is found on your webpage. If they are looking for “bbq” and you wrote barbecue on your website then yours won’t appear on Google when they search even though it’s really the same thing. One tool you can use to help you figure out what keyword to use is Google Trends. You can type several different phrases and see which ones are more popular. It will even break down the recent trend of the phrases so you can see if one term is going out of use. It also shows phrase popularity by region so you can tell which phrase is more popular in your target market.
In my bbq example I found that “bbq” was by far the most used term. “Barbecue” was a distant second and “b-b-q” was the least used search term. I felt I could include all three terms in my website. But if I would have felt that I needed to stick with just one term I would have spelled it “bbq” since that was by far the most used term and therefore the most important one to make sure my site got listed for on Google.
In short if you want your site listed on Google then you need to figure out the exact phrase (or i can say that keyword) that you think someone will use when they are searching and make sure that phrase (keyword) is found on your site. It’s not enough to be close you need the exact words spelled the same way the searcher will spell them. You can include multiple phrases in order to maximize the potential searches that will return your site. But be careful to make sure your site still reads well and isn’t confusing cause you keep switching out words just to include as many as possible. Use Google Trends or Google Keyword Planner to help you research which phrases are more popular.