Keywords 101

We’re back at it with our blog series based on the 18 Must-Haves for Website Copy That Converts checklist. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, might as well go for it now.

#2 on the list: Select a mix of short and long-tail keywords to weave into text.

Today, we’ll go very briefly over keywords.

Why? In short, optimizing your keywords will help your business show up in internet searches.

Shaggy teeny dog with text overlay

This subject can be a bit of a yawner, I know, for non-techie types. But if* you want to show up in these searches, you’ll need to put a little bit of work into the front end. We’ll try to make this intro quick, fun, and actionable.

*Wait… what do you mean, *IF* I want to show up in these searches?

Some people don’t care as much about SEO. Maybe you’d prefer not to get every rando on the internet emailing you to ask you for a quote. Instead of gathering leads via your website, you’re trying to convert warm leads once they get there.

For the rest of us… KEYWORDS!

Keyword 101

What the heck is a keyword?

Make a cup of coffee and sit down here for a moment. I’m here to tell you about a story about a penguin, a panda, and a hummingbird.

It is not nearly as cute as it sounds.

When someone makes a search on Google, Google takes a look at everything the company has indexed, all across the internet, and uses its algorithm to give the user back the most pertinent information. That’s why we use Google—because it works. Most of the time.

Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird, and Fred (yes, Fred) are all code names for Google algorithms, which are being tweaked and changed all the time—maybe once or twice a month. Google doesn’t always announce changes.

Red panda
Surprise!

You know how this works. When someone searches for “cat photographer,” a number of websites pop up. In this case, “cat photographer” is a search term. If you want that search term to find your delightful internet home, you use “cat photographer” on your website as one of your keywords.

Long-tail and short-tail keywords

There are two kinds of keywords: long and short.

Long-tail keywords are… longer. They’re a string of words. They’re searched less often, but have higher conversion rates.

So, maybe 100 people search this term in a month, but many of those 100 people are doing specific searches that mean they’re ready to buy.

Think: best cat photographer in Portland, Oregon

Short-tail keywords are… short. There’s a ton of competition across the internet, and your conversion percentage will be much lower.

People are searching for these terms might be looking for something unrelated to what you do. But, hey, they’re easy to sprinkle throughout your site.

Think: photographer

Figure out the type of traffic you’re looking for, and plan your mix of short and long-tail keywords accordingly.

Keyword Research

I’m not even going to pretend like I’m the best person to talk to about this.

Check out a couple of beginners’ guides. Here’s one for WordPress.

And so many more you can google. The point? Start thinking about what keywords you want to rank for BEFORE you start writing.

You can pay people money to do this for you if you like.

Make a list

Still on board?

You have:

  • thought about what kinds of traffic you’d like
  • did some keyword research to find long and short keywords, and
  • put them all in a neat and tidy list

Maybe a spreadsheet. I do love a good spreadsheet.

Cat sitting on a computer lol

And yet…

Put away the list and start writing

I know, I’m sending you mixed messages. Yes, you’ll need to know what keywords you want to rank for before you start writing the bulk of your project. But. Don’t worry about putting those actual keywords in until your second or third draft.

Your copy needs to be written with your ideal client in mind. One perfect client who loves you dearly, pays on time, and sends you chocolates on your birthday. Write to her. Sell to her.

Make things clear. Or, make things weird on the first draft, a little better on the second, and clear on the third.

You’ll have the opportunity to put those keywords in later, when you’re fine-tuning the message.

Go back to that list of keywords

Once you’ve written everything, go back to your list and make sure all those keywords are included. Don’t force it. Keep it natural. If I were putting BEST PORTLAND OREGON COPYWRITER in every other paragraph, you’d be very aware of that instead of my message. The first goal is to be useful to your clients, prospects, and hot leads.


That’s it! Told you we’d keep it short(ish). If you’d like to do some extra reading on the subject, here’s some food for thought:

SEO Copywriting Ultimate Guide from Yoast.

Don’t load your copy with keywords, says Neil Patel. Sprinkle and wave, baby.

Most Massive SEO Copywriting Guide from CoSchedule. Maybe save this one for when you break your leg and can’t move for a few weeks. (Partially kidding.)

Need help wrapping your brain around all this? Let’s talk! I can write it for you, or coach you through finding a strategy.

hello@kelleygardiner.com



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